I’m the first to admit it… I’m an online shopaholic.  Browsing for new things I don’t need has become my favourite pastime, whether scrolling an app on the train, stalking out new brands on Instagram or ordering dinner because I just can’t face a trip to the supermarket.

Remember the days of your order being delivered on a pre-arranged day?  If you were lucky, you might have been given a morning or afternoon five hour time slot!   Either way, you were trapped in the confines of your home, waiting for that elusive package to arrive.

How things have changed.

Delivery has become a huge consideration for online purchases. And for me (sure I’m not alone), so too has the delivery company.  In our office, we’re on first name terms with Les from DPD, the ‘ASOS delivery guy’ who always appears smack bang in the middle of his allotted one hour time slot.

Realising you need a new outfit, have run out of shampoo or have an empty fridge is no longer a huge drama.  With a few clicks those clothes, beauty products, or groceries will be with you… just as soon as you like.  Or if you just can’t wait for food, services like Deliveroo, Dominos and Just Eat have for many, become the most reliable of go-to dining companions

So what’s next for delivery?

Fancy having dinner delivered by a robot?  Well that could soon be a reality.  Last year, Just Eat made history with the world’s first takeaway delivered by robot. The trial in London, in partnership with Starship Technologies, was praised by the Greenwich takeaway owner for offering first rate customer service – allowing them to focus manpower in the kitchen.

And it hasn’t stopped there.  For 2017, the company plans to embed itself in the internet of things via Amazon Alexa, Apple TV and Xbox One. According to Computer Weekly, users will be able to speak to Echo to place an order, place a group order via Apple TV or browse their previous orders, search for restaurants or explore popular dishes before ordering and paying, through Xbox One.

Deliveroo is another service company revolutionising evenings (for me at least) delivering food from nearby restaurants by bike to homes in cities across the UK.  Place an order via the app or online, and the track your biker from order to delivery… Continued expansion is expected this year.  I mean, Burger King delivery, this blew the mind of teenage me.  Rumour has it Mcdonalds is planning on getting involved too…

And just last year, Dominos launched a Facebook Messenger bot that lets you order pizza with a single word, you guessed it, the magic word is ‘PIZZA’. It works by pairing messenger with favourites created in your Dominos account, making once touch ordering a reality – when you ‘just don’t have time’.  The company’s Easy Order service also works with Apple Watch, allowing customers to order straight from their wrist. WOW.

This artificial intelligence technology is being rolled out by Facebook, as it learns how humans behave and interact.  Chat bots are ‘threatening to overtake apps as the default method of accessing information on a smartphone’. Thousands of bots have already been created to mimic conversations, providing the first line of communication with users and customers – so it’s a matter of time before this form of delivery becomes ‘everyday’.

If that wasn’t enough… late last year, Amazon also claimed the first successful Prime Air drone delivery. The company is trialing the service with ‘two customers in the UK who have huge gardens, live close to an Amazon depot and want items that weigh less than 2.6kg’, so it might have limitations for some.  But Amazon hopes to expand the trial in 2017 with deliveries available seven days a week, during daylight hours and good weather.

This development is in tandem with long-running drone delivery project, Project Wing which focuses on deliveries to customers in isolated rural areas.

It’s clear that advances in technology are incredibly exciting, and the possibilities endless. Online retail pr is without doubt taking note of consumers’ desire for a 24 hour always on culture of online shopping.

If you don’t offer next day delivery, timed delivery slots or convenient collection point options, are consumers going to click off your website?  The savvy shopper knows, and if it’s a choice between an unknown 3-5 day delivery slot or reliable Les, I know who I’m going to purchase from.

Our consumer PR agency specialises in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR.