Will Drone Delivery Help Ecommerce?

Will Drone Delivery Help Ecommerce?

October 3, 2019 8:35 am

For 20 years I’ve consulted with ecommerce corporations, from startups to established retailers. The one fixed throughout that point is change — nonstop evolution and progress.  This submit is the primary in a collection that may give attention to ecommerce innovation.

This installment will tackle drone supply.

Drone Supply

Many corporations are specializing in drone supply, together with Amazon by way of its Prime Air.

Flirtey launched in 2013 in Australia however is now based mostly in Reno, Nevada. It’s a chief in drone supply within the U.S. when it comes to check flights and acquiring authorities approvals.

Flirtey launched the Eagle drone this month.

Flirtey launched the Eagle drone this month.

Flirtey made its first Federal-Aviation-Administration-authorised drone supply in July 2016 from a 7-Eleven retailer within the U.S. to a residence. Since then Domino’s has additionally turn into a buyer. The corporate has raised over $sixteen million in funding.

This month Flirtey launched the Eagle, a drone that may ship “seventy five % of packages” to clients’ houses throughout final-mile deliveries and function in “ninety five % of wind and climate circumstances.” In line with Flirtey, the Eagle doesn’t go close to people. As an alternative, it lowers the supply field utilizing a tether.

Workhorse is one other drone-supply firm that produces electrical supply automobiles for patrons corresponding to UPS and FedEx. Workhorse’s Horsefly drone can fly at speeds of fifty mph for half-hour. The corporate’s inventory is publicly traded (NASDAQ: WKHS).

The Horsefly drone all the time stays inside line-of-sight of Workhorse’s electrical supply vans. Nonetheless, the method might save money and time for the supply of packages.

Workhorse's Horsefly drone can fly up to 50 mph for 30 minutes.

Workhorse’s Horsefly drone can fly as much as 50 mph for half-hour.


One of many obstacles of on-line purchasing in comparison with bodily shops is the time required to obtain merchandise. Drone supply can change that. Listed here are some advantages general.

  • Velocity. Drones can ship merchandise shortly, from a couple of minutes to some hours relying on the origin and vacation spot.
  • Mobility. Drones don’t require roads. They will go anyplace — over mountains, throughout water, in a park — with the best coordinates.
  • Value. Drones are cheaper than supply automobiles. They sometimes save labor prices, too.
  • Monitoring. Drones permit for actual-time monitoring — for retailers and clients.
  • Perishable items. Drones can safely ship perishable meals or medical provides. Drones might disrupt meals supply providers similar to Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Foodpanda, in addition to native couriers akin to Postmates.
  • Environmentally pleasant. Drones depart a tiny carbon footprint in comparison with a truck or automotive.
  • Visitors congestion. Drone deliveries scale back general visitors as there are fewer supply automobiles on the street.


Drones current challenges, too. Listed here are a number of.

  • Legality. Drone supply isn’t authorized in all locales. It wants common approval for mass adoption.
  • Package deal measurement. Drone supply is restricted to smaller merchandise. Drones can’t ship bigger gadgets reminiscent of televisions and bicycles.
  • Climate. Drone deliveries are usually not potential in dangerous climate — excessive winds, heavy rains, or snow.
  • Birds. Drones can fail if hit by a hen.
  • Theft. Drone deliveries might end in extra theft as criminals down the models to steal the merchandise. Destroying a drone can be costly, too — upwards of $500 every.

In Use

Drones are already used for delivering merchandise in Iceland and delivering medical provides in Tanzania and Rwanda. Denmark, France, and The Netherlands are quickly to comply with.

Briefly, drone supply is an innovation that would tremendously assist ecommerce retailers.

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