Drones, Future of Retail?

What are drones?

Drones are a delivery system that are being trialled as remote-controlled robotic vehicles to transport goods from a company’s order fulfilment centres to the consumer.

New research has found that one third of online shoppers would be willing to have their orders delivered by drones. A study of 2,000 shoppers by eDigitalResearch showed that 68% of shoppers felt that faster delivery would be the main benefit of the new delivery technology, while another 40% believed it would offer them cheaper and more convenient delivery options. However drone delivery could lead to an increased risk of parcels being left unattended and open to damage. 47% felt that left packages would be the biggest disadvantage of delivery by drone, while another 39% believed that the technology would be unreliable and only able to cope with parcels of a certain size.

The research shows that there is an element of trust that could affect this type of technology, but this may be due to consumers not having enough knowledge of what it involves and the potential benefits could be. 17% of those surveyed felt confident that drone deliveries would be introduced into the UK in the near future.

Amazon Prime Air

Amazon continue to surge forward with their Prime Air drone scheme and if they’re able to get it off the ground, it could revolutionise the delivery and fulfilment sector. Consumer demand is increasing as waiting times of 3-5 days could be a thing of the past with the introduction of drone deliveries.

There will need to be heavy investment in trying to increase consumer knowledge, trust and confidence in the technology, as Amazon have proposed acquiring airspace above the world’s cities and suburbs for the deployment of high-speed aerial drones capable of flying robotically with virtually no human interference.

British law says drones must be kept within line of sight – taken to be about 1,500ft – of aeroplane pilots and not flown above 400ft. To operate beyond these distances they need approval from the Civil Aviation Authority. Drones used for paid work also need CAA permission.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “For the potential of drones to be realised, the public will need to be confident that their operation is safe and meets our expectations on privacy.

“Drones are an emerging technology bringing significant economic benefits which is why the Government is working with international bodies on a shared regulatory framework. We will undertake a public dialogue about the operation of drones later this year.”