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Brief Published: 28 Aug 2018

Is Citizen Delivery the Future of Errands?

Retailers are tapping citizen shoppers to make deliveries on behalf of their neighbours

Consumers are demanding swift deliveries, as explored in our report Last Mile: Retail’s Delivery Focus. To speed up local transactions, retailers are tapping citizen shoppers to make deliveries on behalf of their neighbours, using karma and commissions as incentives. We highlight four key companies.

  • Grouping Groceries: Estimates suggest 70% of groceries will be purchased online by 2024 (FMI and Nielsen, 2018) – and supermarkets are leveraging their consumers to maximise manpower and efficiency. 

    French chain Carrefour has introduced the Merci Voisin platform, which lets shoppers request products for others to view and deliver. Customers are incentivised with a small commission based on the size of each order.

    Similarly, Belgian retail group Colruyt has developed Apporto to encourage customers to deliver groceries to those who can’t make it to a store. Shoppers choose their delivery window, then submit their grocery list either via an app or a telephone operator – a wise concession for older consumers, or anyone with limited smartphone access.

  • Delivery Marketplace: Milan’s Supermercato24 has created an independent digital marketplace that uses citizen shoppers to collect items from local chains. This operating model taps the gig economy, while its open approach – working across all supermarkets – recognises Italy’s highly regional grocery landscape.

  • Crowdsourced Errands: Thirty-three per cent of millennial shoppers complain that it takes too long to receive online orders (Radial, 2018). To alleviate this gripe, Minneapolis start-up Runerra, which participated in Target’s incubator programme, has engineered an app that encourages neighbours to pick up products for each other when running errands.

    “We aren't creating a new behaviour – we're taking advantage of an existing one,” Bharat Pulgam, chief executive of Runerra, told Stylus. The company plans to complement existing routines with tools that drive traffic to local businesses – a move that encourages community support.