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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 03, 2015

'Doorstep Economy' in UK sees demand for on-call cat-sitters, dentists, and personal trainers

Research in the UK by Barclaycard reveals a 'doorstep economy' with more and more consumers expecting services and products to be delivered and to arrive on demand.

by Helen Leggatt

Businesses in the UK are vying for a share of what is being dubbed the 'doorstep economy'. Thirty-nine percent of retailers are launching a new website, 37% are employing more delivery staff and 25% introducing a new ordering and payments app.

In fact, a third of retailers now believe it is more important to offer an online and delivery service than it is to have a physical store and 1 in 6 has opted to become an online-only retailer in the past year.

Those businesses are responding to a population that is increasingly keen to have products and services delivered to their doorstep. Almost 4 in ten would consider ordering a doctor via an app to visit their home, followed by a handyman (29%), a dentist (28%), cleaner (20%), pet sitter (18%) and fitness instructor (16%).

"Delivery services are going through a period of rapid innovation, from those who promise to provide almost anything to your door in under an hour, to those who are set to trial delivery by drone in the near future," commented Philip McHugh, Chief Executive Officer, Barclaycard Business Solutions.

"Who would have thought there would be a gap in the market for handymen, personal trainers or cat-sitters, who are effectively 'on-call', and able turn up to practically any location within minutes of an order being made."

Several businesses in the UK have already embraced the doorstep economy. Henchman delivers from any London restaurant, pharmacy or store in 90 minutes, while Beelivery delivers food and alcohol in 90 minutes. Hubbub delivers local produce from small, local, specialist shops such as bakers, greengrocers, and butchers in one home delivery.

A third of businesses (32%) said customers now expect orders to be delivered faster now than they did this time last year. To this end, 26% have started to provide a wider range of appointment times such as at weekends, early mornings and later in the evenings.

The research also reveals that only 9% of businesses have introduced delivery services in the past year and more than half (58%) still do not have an app despite more than three-quarters of UK adults now owning a smartphone.

"The gauntlet for fast and flexible service has been firmly laid down, the challenge for businesses now is to keep pace with rising expectations while providing an offering which also compliments the bottom line," added McHugh.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: business, delivery, ecommerce, mobile, research, service

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