As consumers demand immediacy and rapid delivery becomes all the rage, many retailers are adopting a quick commerce strategy via platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats. Rachel Badham explores the pros and cons of this phenomenon

In a world more technologically connected than ever before, rapid delivery has become the norm for many convenience-seeking consumers.

Generally referring to a mode of delivery by which consumers can receive their groceries within one hour of placing an order, major quick commerce platforms include Deliveroo, Just Eat, Getir and Uber Eats. Propelled by the pandemic, Deliveroo alone generated £1.8 billion in 2021, a 50% year-on-year increase as quick commerce continues to flourish. And with multiples such as the Co-op and Spar hopping on the trend, independent retailers are catching on, too. 

Jack Green, co-founder of Bodo – a plug-in service that allows retailers to offer rapid delivery – says quick commerce is a fast fix when it comes to attracting new customers. 

“Integrating quick commerce into your business is particularly important in attracting younger generations who seek out channels that can accommodate their lifestyle,” he adds. But after a rapid rise in popularity during the pandemic, it seems that quick commerce platforms still have kinks to iron out if they are to win over independents. 

After trialling quick commerce apps, Jasbir Johal from Brighton’s Hollingbury Wines has found that platforms such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo can be more hassle than they’re worth for smaller retailers without time and resources to spare. 

“We found that we couldn’t edit our own prices on these apps,” he says. “Another issue we had with the system was that if a customer ordered two items but one was out of stock, I would still get charged for the item by Deliveroo and Uber Eats.”

Technical challenges aside, Johal explains that regular customers were discouraged by the additional fees that often come with rapid delivery. 

“Most of our customers were asking us: ‘Why should we pay an extra 40% when we can just walk by and pick up our shop?’”

While Green has found some consumers are willing to “pay a little extra for immediacy and convenience”, value-led customers may continue to favour the in-person shopping experience, particularly as living costs continue to soar. 

After grappling with “trying to manage inventories over multiple platforms”, Hollingbury Wines has decided to streamline its digital operations by building its own website to cater for the rise in ecommerce. 

For quick commerce to stay on its path to success without deterring retailers, Bodo co-founder Brandon Neman suggests that rapid delivery services need to focus on creating an efficient experience for both sellers and customers.  And for retailers to truly benefit from quick commerce, Neman emphasises the ongoing need for rapid delivery apps to improve “customer experience post-purchase to encourage repeat business for the seller”. 

He concludes: “Live tracking, clear and concise status updates – a quick commerce product needs to strike a delicate balance between keeping a customer engaged while not over-communicating or upselling on post-purchase communications”.