In one of our recent blogs, we suggested that cost-effective same-day delivery service needs to be fulfilled from outlets that are close to the consumer, and we suggested that retailers operating an extended retail network are at an advantage to satisfy customer expectations for same-day service.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Macy’s CFO mentioned that 2012 Q4 same-store sales where boosted by online orders fulfilled from retail locations. The CFO underlined that this was part of Macy’s omni-channel strategy, recognizing that the purpose of its retail outlets was changing.
As retailing evolves, retailers like Macy’s will need to establish relationships with nimble and cost-effective regional carriers (e.g., Lasership, Eastern Connection, Ontrac, etc.) to provide same day delivery at a reasonable cost. These regional carriers are not the only solution besides nationwide carriers such as FedEx and UPS. The U.S. Postal Service commands a unique regional infrastructure of plants, post offices, delivery units, and transportation links that can be leveraged for same-day delivery.
Originally designed for the mail, the USPS regional network is today underutilized and could be re-purposed and adapted to the changing dynamics of e-commerce fulfillment and specifically for same-day delivery. In addition to transport from retailer location to customer, the Postal Service could leverage delivery units to become micro-warehouses to fulfill same-day delivery economically and timely.
Can the Postal Service play a larger role in fulfilling the omni-channel strategies of e/retailers? Is it reasonable to foresee a tighter integration between e/retailers’ distribution centers, their brick and mortar stores, and the Postal Service’s own regional infrastructure that would offer economical same-day delivery service, as well as a range of additional logistical services?