Quick Commerce: How fast it should be?

March 31, 2022 by
Frank Calviño
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Quick Commerce has been booming recently. It, obviously, depends on e-commerce to be possible, and mostly, it uses the already existing logistic platforms that have grown to support the recent massive e-commerce expansion. 

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But for many business owners, entrepreneurs, and online merchants, one question remains: how quick should a business be to be considered Quick Commerce? Today we will compare and review response times from different quick e-commerce from different parts of the world, to answer this question. Let us begin!   

What is Quick Commerce?

Let us begin by reviewing the definition of Quick Commerce: it is a natural evolution of e-commerce and it is fundamentally defined by the capability of delivering the goods to the customer almost immediately. 

Now, it is precisely in the “almost immediately part” where the shenanigans begin. Generally speaking, the only thing that is almost globally accepted as a standard for Quick Commerce delivery times is that it should be at least on the same day. 

That means that, once you have bought something online, it should be in your hands, that same day. 

Yet, this does not mean that every same-day-delivery e-commerce could be or should be, considered Quick Commerce. And the reason is due to a fundamental principle of physics: speed is relative. 

Same-day-deliveries in Africa or Latinamerica will surely grant you the category of Quick Commerce, and depending on the specific country - Venezuela for example - it could also grant you massive recognition from the industry due to this being a nearly impossible feat. 

But on the other hand same-day deliveries in Spain or Canada, might not be nearly enough for you to claim that your e-commerce is a Quick Commerce business. Businesses in both countries can and regularly do deliver their goods in less than 24 hours. 

The infrastructure capability, the technical access to advance software solutions, 5G networks, and automated logistic companies - among many other things - dictate the response times of each country and each region. Speed is, therefore, relative. And the connotation of being “quick”  is also relative. 

Quick Commerce speed in Europe

Between 15 minutes and an hour is the standard for Quick Commerce inside the European Union. Companies that specialize in instant needs, such as Gopuff, JOKR, and Zapp have developed the technique and technology to achieve 15 minutes deliveries. The trick, at least for now, seems to be in developing a network of micro-automated warehouses, spread thinly over the region in which you plan to provide Quick Commerce capabilities for your e-commerce. 

How do micro-automated warehouses work? 

It is by using these micro-automated warehouses that a 15 minutes delivery window is possible. And what do we mean by micro-automated? Well, the idea is simple: to create multiple small warehouses that are mostly fully automated and connected to restocking prediction algorithms that will allow them to finetune the consumption and restocking of products for the customers in their immediate area. 

These warehouses run almost by themselves. They can - theoretically - predict when a peak in consumption will happen in that city or region, which products will be demanded and pre-stock them, and pre-book with the delivery companies their services for this future deliveries. 

Now, we are talking about expensive technology here, the forecasting algorithms are not easy nor cheap to come by. But they are remarkably effective. In fact, Amazon has been using this technology for years, and some may claim it has been fundamental for the company's global success. 

Germany and the UK lead the race

Europe is not an homogenous market for anything, Quick Commerce included. Germany and the UK stand out with four companies that have been able to consistently deliver below the 10-minute mark, pushing their respective markets - and competition - to reduce their “standard times” for Quick Commerce, if they want to remain relevant. These four ultra-fast companies are Gorillas and Flink for Germany and Dija and Getir for the UK. 

Quick Commerce speed in Canada and the U.S.

Both Canada and the U.S. have always favored speed. So much so that, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, a study by PwC highlighted that 80% of the consumers in the U.S. said that speed was one of the key ingredients of a positive customer experience.

Nowadays, in our post-covid world, U.S. Quick Commerce has an average speed under the 15 minutes mark, with a trend to go faster than 10 minutes before the end of the year. This Statista report showcases the average delivery times for Quick Commerce around the world and it is clear that currently the U.S. and Canada sit firmly in the 15-minute mark.  

In New York particularly, the German brand Gorillas has established a network of 18 micro-automated warehouses to precisely imitate the same model used in Berlin to achieve the 10-minute mark for their groceries deliveries. 

All in all, it seems that Quick Commerce speed, which is currently at the mark of 15-minutes for delivery in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. will keep on going down, as this idea of instant access to the product you bought online, happens to be ultra appealing to the public. For those reasons, if you have an e-commerce either in Europe or U.S. / Canada, be pretty careful to claim that you are a Quick Commerce unless you are truly capable of matching your current market speeds.

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