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New NACS Research Reveals Last Mile Opportunities

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Last mile fulfillment presents an opportunity for convenience retailers to grow sales and expand customer reach, according to a newly released NACS Research study, “NACS Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail.”

NACS defines last mile fulfillment services as order fulfillment processes that deliver goods to a destination.

While more than half of all of convenience retailers currently offer some form of last mile fulfillment, many who don’t may be missing potential sales due to changes in shopper purchase and service expectations. However, retailers offering last mile fulfillment options too quickly may not be aware of potential pitfalls that could limit their effectiveness.

“Our findings show convenience retailers are employing a wide range of last mile fulfillment options with some being more popular than others,” said Lori Stillman, VP of research at NACS. “We also found that one third-party provider is being leveraged more so than others, while many locations are using their own staff for delivery.”

The landmark study by NACS Research includes findings from 140 convenience retailers around the world, representing single-store operators to companies with 500-plus stores. The study explores how readily convenience retailers are adopting last mile fulfillment, current and anticipated use of delivery services, retailer options for accepting orders and the difficulties retailers face with adopting last mile fulfillment services.

Industry suppliers can also use last mile fulfillment to increase product reach.

“There is an opportunity for suppliers to educate retailers on how last mile fulfillment can more effectively match products to changing consumer behaviors – like those that will have a lasting impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Stillman. “Additionally, third-party last mile service providers will see how the convenience landscape differs from other delivery and gain a better understanding of how QSR delivery both differs and compares to convenience retail,” she said.

NACS,  the global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, serves as a trusted advisor to over 1,500 retailer and 1,600 supplier members from more than 50 countries.

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