Amazon has won special permission from the Government to look at the best way to allow hundreds of robotic aircraft to safely navigate British skies; and will be testing deliveries via drones.
The prospect of small parcels being delivered within 30 minutes of an order being placed might seem to represents the beginning of an exciting new era for the way people receive goods, but Nick Miller, head of FMCG at global supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co, has pointed out certain limitations which suggest the method won’t entirely revolutionise the retail industry.
Amazon has always been about ease of service for the consumer. Amazon Prime Now has taken delivery times down from days to minutes with a one-hour delivery service. The launch of drone deliveries might arguably more than match this; and there might be potential spin offs for other business ventures.
Miller added: “Perishable goods would be unavailable, but this could prove advantageous to Amazon as this might deter competing technologies from the big supermarket retailers. Also, products over a certain weight, size and value might not be suitable. All the method would require is a space in your garden to place a landing mat which could receive the goods. But this could lead to outdoor space in heavily built-up areas and cities becoming a premium. A consequence might be something like the Uber model whereby the man on the street can now operate as a licensed taxi – individuals might rent out a space in their garden for a fee. A garden would then act as a drop off point for people in the street or surrounding areas, which did not have access to outdoor space.
“The next 18 months will be really telling for the retail industry.”