Predictions about the coming use of drones in retail deliveries have been made for several years. Click here for a 2013 video example of this involving Amazon.
So, where are we as of today? Let’s turn to some highlights from a recent study by BI Intelligence:
“Drones could allow firms to bypass many challenges with the ‘last mile’ of delivery — when a package gets to the customer’s doorstep. It is the most expensive and inefficient part of delivery, and many firms are exploring how drones can speed the last mile and cut costs. E-commerce firms want to cut delivery times and costs to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty; legacy retailers seek the same advantages to grow online sales.”
“Yet, delivering packages by drones to consumers is still years away from being a common occurrence. Important obstacles need to be overcome relating to drone regulations, developing autonomous flight and traffic control systems for drones, and consumer acceptance. Mainstream adoption will take place in stages over the next few years as regulations are put in place and drone technology improves. Today, most tests are limited in scope, take place in rural areas, and do not actually deliver packages to customers’ front doors. These tests will gradually progress, eventually bringing drone delivery to more customers in populated areas.”
“In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the benefits drone delivery can provide as an E-commerce fulfillment method, and explains the different approaches firms are taking as they experiment with nascent technology. In addition, we detail the key players working in the space and discuss the challenges drone delivery faces in reaching mainstream adoption.”
Here’s the potential for Walmart.