In 2021, last-mile innovation isn't really a technology play, according to the experts. The technologies to move retail delivery forward already exist and are in use. But the near-term evolution of the last mile is going to be about how retailers, carriers and orchestration platforms collaborate to fully weave last-mile services into the retail landscape so they contribute to, rather than distract from, the overall business of retail.
"COVID has cleared the decks so that everybody is more focused on: 'We need to empower our physical location to be much more efficient, to utilize existing assets, people, product and infrastructure,'" said Bill Thayer, co-CEO of last-mile technology provider Fillogic, at the National Retail Federation's Chapter One virtual conference.
Thayer, along with executives from Uber, Danone and Tanger Outlet Centers, discussed four elements driving the future last-mile innovations for retailers.