Startups offering alternative forms of warehousing can help retailers improve the speed of their last-mile delivery — and investors are taking note.
The e-commerce delivery race is on.
Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to 100 cities; Amazon just rolled out 2-hour grocery delivery from Whole Foods; and Target recently unveiled its same-day delivery service, powered by its recent startup acquisition of Shipt.
As chains work to meet consumers’ expectations for speedy delivery, many startups are focusing on solutions for last-mile shipment — though some are looking further up the supply chain, to warehousing.
Specifically, startups are leveraging software, AI, and robotics to create new types of fulfillment centers that could directly impact the efficiency of last mile delivery. These “alternative” warehouses, known as micro-fulfillment centers, have the potential to increase the efficiency and decrease the cost of last-mile delivery for retailers.