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Article > Editor’s Note

More Than Pizza Is Being Delivery


8/9/2011
By Mark Phillips

 
Mark Phillips
I’ve always marveled at something that a lot of people probably take for granted: home pizza delivery.
If you think about it, it’s a beautiful concept: With a phone call or few clicks of a mouse or swipes on a smartphone, a car will show up in front of your home with a driver who will hand you a hot pizza. No need to lift a finger to make it yourself or get dressed and go to a restaurant and sit down; or pick it up at pizza shop window. In making it so easy to get food, pizza shops and restaurants have helped plant an expectation in the minds of consumers. That expectation of fast service is reinforced by things like drive-through fast food, where diners can get grub in about a minute or two.

It’s pretty much a commodity now. There are any number of food delivery outfits out there who will do the job. In many cities, there are also groups of restaurants that outsource their deliveries to a single delivery service that will drive to the restaurant, get the food and take it to your house or hotel room. If a pizza shop or restaurant doesn’t offer this service, they might get looked at as an oddball or quirky.

Or, give the impression that it’s not as easy to do business with them. (We have a restaurant nearby that won’t take credit cards. It’s a cash-only business. So you have to think in advance — how much am I going to eat? Will I have enough cash?) It may be a throwback to the way things “used to be done,” but in reality, making it harder to do business with them can mean getting less business.

So what if the customer isn’t hungry and isn’t looking for a pizza? What if, say, the customer has his or her car jacked up and needs to replace their friction or a part they didn’t anticipate before lifting the vehicle? Enter Advance Auto Parts and its “DIY Home Delivery,” which is being offered now in Houston and Ft. Myers, Fla. Though the company didn’t officially call them test markets, that’s what they appear to be.

Advance says it will have employees on standby at local stores to deliver parts to DIYers on all orders of more than $100.

Delivery is free. From all indications from Advance’s press release, customers aren’t going to get hot-shot delivery in 30 minutes or less, like the pros. In fact, Advance says delivery will be “within a few hours.” That’s obviously too slow for repair shops but just about right for weekend DIY repair guy or girl.

For auto parts stores that strictly do business with independent repair shops, this development will likely have little impact, I would think. But if you do any amount of retail, you might want to get ready for it. If home delivery for consumers catches on and proves lucrative, customers at your stores might start to expect it, too. t














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