- Consumer interest in delivery was already rising before the pandemic began
- Volunteers are providing delivery services, but the need for those services will continue after the pandemic
- In general, consumers will want to continue using delivery
Most of the country is approaching one full month of lockdown.
When the state of emergency was first announced, some people panic-shopped for canned food and filled every prescription they could. Other people have been suiting up in masks and gloves every week for a quick run to the grocery or pharmacy. Regardless, probably everyone needs to pick up some essentials like milk, toilet paper, or medication by now.
But stopping by the store isn’t a simple prospect at the moment. People who are elderly or living with disabilities or chronic illness are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. Spending time in a heavily-trafficked store could have serious consequences. People who are already sick can’t go out at all.
Healthy shoppers aren’t much better off. Even if they’re willing to wear masks and clean their hands rigorously, consumers are still at risk. In the best case scenario, they will undoubtedly encounter the inconvenience of long lines as stores limit their occupancy.
The answer to this conundrum? Delivery! Whether it’s to reduce risk or avoid inconvenience, many Americans have turned to online ordering and home delivery to get their essentials.
Interest in delivery has been on the rise
On March 2, MarketWatch reported that “observers foresee increased demand for food delivery in the U.S.” if coronavirus continued to spread. At that time, the United States only had approximately 100 cases of COVID-19, and no one in the media could predict the impact of the pandemic on American industries.
But it’s interesting to note that more Americans were already turning to delivery for their essentials. MarketWatch again reported “that trend was going strong before coronavirus concerns,” and at the time of reporting, “21% of U.S. consumers ordered perishable, edible groceries online… up from 18% at the same point last year.” The convenience of delivery was clearly attractive to a good number of shoppers. Now that convenience is a necessity to many.
Volunteers help meet the need – for the short-term
Older adults are an important demographic right now. They’re at high risk of contracting COVID-19, and many are quarantining themselves out of caution. They’re more likely to lack reliable transportation and to have multiple prescriptions that need to be filled regularly.
Some tech-savvy seniors have switched to online ordering and delivery. Grocery strategists Brick Meets Click found in a survey that 39% of shoppers age 60 and older were using online grocery services for the first time. However, not all older adults have adequate access to delivery services.
In fact, in some areas of the country, law enforcement officers have had to fill in the gaps. Off-duty police are picking up food and medications for vulnerable people from Rockledge, Florida to Gustine, California. The list goes on: Georgetown County, South Carolina; Clay County, Minnesota; Louisa County, Virginia; and on and on. Of course it’s wonderful to see police serving their community as delivery drivers, but it’s not a sustainable solution. Once the pandemic dissipates, these ad-hoc deliveries will cease. But the elderly and people living with disabilities or chronic illness will still need delivery services.
Delivery isn’t going away
Despite the fact that many people stand to benefit from delivery, business owners may be afraid to invest in it. Won’t consumers go back to driving to the store once the pandemic fades from memory? Research suggests that they won’t. A survey of more than 3,000 consumers by meal planning service eMeals found that 97% of shoppers plan to continue using online grocery shopping in the future. Even delayed delivery times and limited availability of products weren’t enough to keep them from expressing interest.
There’s more research to back that up. A 2019 study examined the factors that drive people to use delivery applications. The researchers found that “habit had the strongest influence” on a person’s “continuous use intention.” So if a consumer fell into the habit of using an app or delivery service, they would be more likely to continue using it in the long term. After potentially a full month of relying on delivery for essentials, we can assume that consumers will have gotten used to having their groceries and medications dropped on their doorstep. Even if they do go back to some in-person shopping, consumers will continue to use and appreciate delivery.
It’s clear that Americans need delivery now and will continue to benefit from it in the future. Interest has been growing over the years, but so has the need – and that need isn’t going to go away once COVID-19 disappears from the headlines. Businesses can safely assume that an investment in delivery will benefit them in the long run.
While other companies dream about using drones to perform no-contact deliveries, American consumers will benefit most from real-world solutions that can be easily implemented. ScriptDrop brings that to the table. With our technology and nationwide network of couriers, we can work with any pharmacy and get prescriptions to the patients who need them.
Interested in partnering with ScriptDrop? Learn more here.
Need your prescription brought to your door? Learn more here or text “DELIVER” to 727478 to get started.