It's not long since a two-day delivery service (first provided on scale by Amazon) was regarded a game-changer. Then next-day came along, more recently followed by same-day.

And now David Jinks, Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero.com, believes the future is "24/7 Same Day", following research which revealed c.25% of consumers would be happy to pay at least £3 extra for the service. Jinks commented "Amazon and other e-commerce giants have fed consumers’ expectations of near instant gratification and the inevitable eventual result will be 30-minute round the clock deliveries."

If traditional last-mile carriers want to compete with the ever-emerging and highly valued on-demand carriers, they need to evolve, and different approaches have been taken so far. Some early adopters such as FedEx, which launched a two-hour delivery service in 2017, opted to provide the service using it's existing fleet. It has more recently announced plans to launch delivery robots (the success of which I'm not convinced of). Others, such as La Poste (the French national carrier), addressed the developing consumer trends via a strategic acquisition, purchasing Stuart, the disruptive on-demand platform that connects retail stores with local couriers.

I expect the demand (and opportunity to charge a premium) for a 24/7 service will drive further investment in technology and adaptations to business models. Night-time deliveries make a lot of sense, less traffic, no parking restrictions and so on, but rely on auto-allocation, auto-routing and potentially, a different resourcing model. I therefore believe "last mile" will retain its position as the top area for investment over the coming years.