The Uber of Parcel Delivery
Peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery is the Uber of parcel delivery. Think of it this way – you are travelling across the country to see your family. Your car is empty, apart from the backpack that you have packed for the week. Meanwhile, an elderly person from your town wants to send a package to her granddaughter, who happens to live in the city you are travelling to. It would be super easy for you to take the package with you as you’re already driving that way.
This is exactly what P2P delivery is about. It utilises spare capacity to its advantage. The interest in platforms that enable P2P delivery has greatly increased among industry players. An example of such a platform is BlaBlaCar, which lets you carpool with people that are on their way to the same destination as you.
This P2P phenomenon has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Even though it’s only a tiny fraction of the global parcel delivery market, it falls into the sharing economy trend that is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
From the data analysed, we managed to identify 3 main groups of delivery platforms that have received the greatest amount of interest: last mile, end-to-end and goods-specific. These are further discussed later on in the article.
An Expected Increase in 2021
The investment in the P2P delivery platform market has seen a tremendous increase in the past two years. Since 2010, €7.27B has been invested by 204 companies in the EU, Israel and North America combined. 70% of this figure has been invested since the beginning of 2019.
Six months into 2020, investments had already accounted for over 40% of the total investment during the last ten years. It would not be surprising to see investment during 2021 amounting to more than the €7.27B invested during the entire previous decade.
As can be seen from the graph below, interest in the field has been evident for some time now. Even though investment has been relatively low, the number of deals have been increasing every year. Up until recently, the size of the deals was relatively small. A decrease in the number of deals can be seen in 2019. However, the total amount invested in 2019 is more than 60% higher than 2018.
The 3 Delivery Platform Types
Last Mile Delivery Platforms
In the supply-chain business, the last phase of the process is the most vital and challenging. Since it is the last phase, it’s called the last mile delivery.
Not only does the last phase of the delivery process impact the impression you give your customers, it is also one of the most significant costs you face in the process.
Therefore, last mile delivery is an element that has gained a lot of attention. Even though customers require companies to have a delivery service, they are usually not willing to pay extra for it. This is where the P2P model comes in handy.
By implementing a P2P system, companies can tackle the large expense that last mile deliveries generate. Because it is based on the utilisation of spare capacity, the expenses could end up being lower.
End-to-End Delivery Platforms
Instead of just offering a solution for one phase of the supply chain, end-to-end delivery platforms are intended to tackle it in its entirety. This could include everything from packaging to the final delivery.
By providing a complete functional solution to a company, the company will have more time to focus on other relevant matters.
AI and machine learning have a big role in implementing such a platform. With their help, the delivery platform could optimise the delivery route in real time. Algorithms could also provide the customer with real-time updates about the delivery.
Goods-Specific Delivery Platforms
Parcel delivery is not a one-size-fits-all service. Take food, for instance. Food items have critical aspects, which must be maintained within narrow parameters, such as temperature and form, and therefore need to be delivered in a certain way. You couldn’t just stuff a pizza box in your totebag and deliver it to the customer. It requires an insulated thermal bag that lets it sit horizontally while remaining warm.
Medication, on the other hand, could not be delivered by just anybody. One needs to be trustworthy and a consitent timekeeper to be given such a duty.
This is crucial now more than ever, as people with underlying health conditions have to be extra careful about making any trips to the “outside world”. Luckily there are service providers that aim to tackle this issue.