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Brief Published: 5 Jan 2021

New Retail Apps Elevate Delivery With Fast-Food Mechanics


Catering to the Covid-induced e-commerce boost, delivery apps are rapidly evolving to meet exacting consumer demands by aping the mechanics of their food-delivery counterparts. From visually tracking items across multiple retailers and delivery firms, revealing the end-to-end journey in detail, to facilitating shopping from nearby brands in-app, we profile two of the most noteworthy.  

  • FastAF Serves as Storefront & Delivery App: American app FastAF (currently only in NY and LA) is also an e-commerce site. It allows consumers to shop across brands including Australian beauty specialists Aesop, as well as Nike and Xbox, and delivers within two hours. Borrowing both the terminology and UX design of food-delivery apps such as Uber Eats, when a user adds an item to their basket and checks out, the order shows as ‘being prepared’. It then shifts to ‘picked up by driver’ and ‘en route’, with its journey shown on a map. Currently free, FastAF plans to charge $9.99 for deliveries under $35 (from a date not yet set). Free delivery will remain for orders over $35.

    The pandemic has spurred an acceleration of non-food retailers partnering with super-fast delivery apps, with British body care brand The Body Shop and French cosmetics retailer Sephora partnering with US delivery services Uber Eats and InstaCart respectively.
  • Route’s All-in-One Delivery Map: US app Route lets people track all their e-commerce orders, regardless of the retailer or delivery firm. Partner retailer orders show in the app via an API, while all other orders are relayed thanks to a Gmail extension (which consumers can opt into via their Gmail account).

    Forgoing the need for order numbers, Route’s interface allows users to view all ordered items in either a listed format and/or on a map in the manner of a food-delivery app. On each option, users can click on an order to access information, including the arrival date.

    Route also sells insurance, allowing customers to opt-in for just 1% of an item’s cost, thus alleviating anxiety around expensive orders.

    Stylus has previously tracked the evolution of the all-in-one-place delivery app. For more, see The Brief.

For more on the burgeoning business of concierge commerce, see Delivering with ‘Delegation Retail’.