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While the cost of living crisis is doubtless making consumers cut back, for almost a decade the UK has become reliant on high-speed deliveries, particularly in the food sector, that will be hard to give up. Although the endless investment into high-tech delivery start-ups seems to have peaked in 2021, there is still lots of potential for rapid delivery in the fine foods sector appealing to those with bigger budgets who will be more resilient to a cost of living crisis.
Owing largely to the pandemic, independent fine food retailers such as delis and food halls have drastically shifted how they serve their customers. You can order fresh food, bakery counter goodies and everyday essentials from Partridges and have them delivered in 20 minutes to your door, or even use Harrods’ own rapid delivery service for its food hall.
Fast forward beyond the pandemic and while we’re once again able to venture out and browse our favourite delis, ‘Click and Collect’ services and home deliveries have only become more popular. Whether someone’s day is jam-packed with errands, the weather has taken a turn or they’d like to order in some last minute party snacks, consumers have gotten accustomed to convenience, not even needing to step out the front door to get their goods as fast as possible.
To cope with the demand and intricacies of the different orders being placed with independent retailers, rapid delivery apps, and the retailers they serve, are using data. It has been a crucial area of innovation, and indeed investment, and ensures customers embark on a fulfilling customer experience with little waiting time.
Retailers use data to adapt to shopping habits, for example, upweighting certain products like Christmas pudding during Christmas or upweighting certain stock that appeals to a demographic in a particular region, such as Caviar in London’s Knightsbridge. Data is also used in supply chains to determine how much stock is available throughout so that retailers can make smart data-led predictions by analysing historical data. One example is when a customer shops and a product is out of stock, the retailer will suggest a similar product based on data indicating a certain customer is happy to receive substitution products.
Only with data can independent retailers be confident that they can deliver their food products, fast. Retailers can see exactly what is or isn’t on their store shelves as well as anticipate what a customer might be ordering by monitoring what is in their physical and virtual shopping baskets. This way, the supply chain can make fast predictions and reactions, fast enough for rapid deliveries to become a reality.
Getting and having the data is only one piece of the puzzle, however. Retailers need to utilise a connectivity platform to be able to map data continually so that it can see through a window into its entire supply chain - almost like a crystal ball. Using the same platform, data can be created daily into models - shifting, chopping and changing to align with real-time and historical data, which can be drawn upon to make smart decisions for the business.
While the future of the tech market remains uncertain, it’s a sure thing that consumers will continue to expect a flawless customer experience, with convenience taking centre stage. Whether it be targeted job ads or macarons in minutes, data will ensure brands can serve their customers with confidence.