We are living in an age, where digital technology has set expectations for instant gratification and immediate satisfaction. Yet, when it comes to shopping for fashion, we find ourselves either waiting 24 hours for delivery, or making a physical trip to the high street. Hyperlocal delivery apps such as Jinn, which promises ‘anything you want delivered in minutes, and Locus (soon to launch) have set their sights on ‘uberfying’ fashion.
Uber has quickly become the poster-child for digital disruption through ‘convenience tech’, transforming the taxi business by making things quick and easy for both drivers and passengers. Tap your phone and get connected to your closest ride – uberconvenient. Jinn and Locus are translating this concept to fashion, and making it possible for customers to order from their favourite high street shops, without the wait. In less than 32 minutes, customers can have the perfect outfit delivered to their home or office.
Returns are easy too, with 3 simple taps, these apps let you find your closest driver to take your returns back to the store to process your refund. Investors are showing an interest in such innovative delivery solutions; the Jinn app which delivers from local restaurants and high-street shops including Selfridges and Harrods, secured £1 million of funding from angel investors last year.
Essentially, physical stores are viewed as ‘local warehouses’ which hold stock. This inventory of stock is then connected to the local demand, usually within a five-mile radius. However, for this concept to work seamlessly in fashion, these apps will need to integrate with inventory management systems in local stores. Given the ‘legacy’ infrastructure of most UK high-street retailers, this is a big task. In addition, there is a looming question around the scalability of these services, as the user base grows, more drivers and cars would be required to connect the high street to local customers.
The logistics challenges are significant, as is the question of cost; at £5.99 on average for delivery this is already quite high. Time will tell to what extent these tech tool platforms will impact our shopping habits, but it is definitely an idea that could give ‘stores’ a new purpose in the digital age, and an edge over pure play online retailers.