Amazon (AMZN) – Get the Amazon.com, Inc. report sells stuff, just about anything, but that’s not really his core business.
When Jeff Bezos launched the company, he made the decision to put investment before profits. It hasn’t always been a popular move with investors who sometimes haven’t seen the long-term benefits of putting billions into infrastructure.
Basically, Bezos knew that consumer demands would constantly change. At first, just being able to deliver in 3-5 days was considered fast. Then Amazon Prime added the bold promise of two-day delivery which later became one-day delivery. Now, same day delivery has become expected for many items.
It’s a gauntlet that Amazon threw down that Walmart (WMT) – Get the Walmart Inc. report. has accepted. The brick-and-mortar chain has invested billions — including spending $3.3 billion to buy Jet.com — to try to keep up with its rival. Shopify (SHOP) – Get Shopify, Inc. Class A Report tried to solve the same problems for companies that cannot afford to solve logistics and delivery on their own.
Now Alphabet’s (GOOG) – Get the Class C report from Alphabet Inc. Google wants to compete in this space.
Google wants to help Amazon’s competitors
Google may not have the delivery infrastructure of Amazon, Shopify, and Walmart, but it sees the problem these companies are trying to solve.
“Consumers rely on deliveries more than ever, and they expect those deliveries to be fast, reliable and inexpensive. In fact, e-commerce shipping is on track to double by 2026, and 90% of US consumers expect free two- to three-day shipping. This means last mile fleet operators need to work harder to create better customer experiences and improve their operations,” Google Maps Platform Group Project Manager Shalin Mantri wrote of the website.
That’s why Google launched what it calls Last Mile Fleet Solution. It’s not about delivering for customers, it’s about helping companies that already have a fleet of trucks do a better job.
Starting today, Last Mile Fleet Solution is available to help fleet operators create exceptional delivery experiences, from e-commerce ordering to home delivery. The solution enables your business to optimize at every step of the last-mile delivery journey: capture valid addresses, plan delivery routes, navigate efficiently with drivers, track shipment progress, and analyze fleet performance. Last Mile Fleet Solution provides reliable infrastructure that grows with you as your business grows, all with predictable prices per delivery. It builds on one of our existing mobility solutions, On-demand Rides & Deliveries, which is used by leading ride-hailing and on-demand delivery operators around the world.
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That’s a lot of words to say that Google now has software that can help businesses better manage their delivery fleet and customer experience. This is to ensure that partners have the tools and information necessary to make on-time deliveries.
“With Last Mile Fleet Solution, businesses can improve their experiences with simplified address entry to help capture the correct addresses. Up-to-date shipment tracking and arrival times keep consumers ready and available to receive their packages. And detailed delivery locations can help drivers deliver packages to the right place, every time,” Mantri wrote.
It sounds small, but Amazon, Walmart, and Shopify usually get your order delivered to you. Making it easier for small businesses could level the playing field.
Can Google compete in shipping logistics?
The real rival here might not be Amazon or Walmart (because they mostly ship the goods they sell), but Shopify, which offers its customers everything from warehousing to delivery. Google isn’t reinventing the wheel here, it’s leveraging its existing expertise in Maps to help delivery people be more efficient.
Last Mile Fleet offers a number of tools for drivers, including:
- Integrated turn-by-turn navigation using the Google Maps interface.
- Detailed delivery locations and traffic data can improve ETAs so drivers get to the right place on time.
- A full day view that allows drivers to plan their stops for the day, so they can adjust their route plan as needed.
- Impro’s in-app routing and navigation helps drivers in their day-to-day work, resulting in less frustration and better delivery performance.
These are all things Google does anyway, but packaging them for fleets should give small businesses a chance to not only be more efficient, but also be more transparent with customers.
For Mantri, it’s about managing costs and helping businesses make the right delivery decisions.
“Last mile delivery can account for more than half of total shipping costs, meaning the pressure to effectively manage your fleet has never been greater,” he said. “Last Mile Fleet Solution allows you to view your fleet in real time, including shipment status and route progress, helping you maintain peak fleet performance. Real-time and predictive traffic is used to provide full-day ETAs, offering early signals of potential issues.
It might not hurt Amazon, Walmart, or Shopify (although it might), but it might allow more businesses to meet delivery expectations set by Amazon.