One of the many changes in consumer behavior brought about by the pandemic is a growing reliance on quick home delivery of essential items.

From the urgent need for toilet paper has spawned a new wave of demand for quick delivery of the “nice stuff” – a tub of hummus delivered within an hour? Yes please. Chilled bottle of rosé dropped in 30 minutes? Sure.

With this demand has come a wave of new brands – Getir, GoPuff and Gorillas to name a few – created to offer fast delivery of everyday items to urban areas across the UK.

Yet despite the rapid growth and high levels of funding poured into these brands, many are now losing sales and staff, raising the question of whether – and why – the coupon is over for fast delivery?

Since March, GoPuff, Getir and Zapp have announced plans to cut jobs, with the latter pulling out of Amsterdam altogether, less than a year since it launched there.

What’s more, Apptopia data shows that app downloads and usage have fallen sharply in recent months with Getir, the UK’s biggest fast food retailer, seeing monthly user sessions halve from almost 30 million in March to just over 15 million in June.

The reality is that these are difficult business models to work with because of the high costs associated with headcount and operations compared to the relatively low fees they currently charge for their services. In an era of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, this narrow profit margin will be the final nail in the coffin for many of these businesses.

In fact, this is a model that will only work by charging a premium on the goods and the delivery fee, targeting a small but focused and luxury audience. In a cost-of-living crisis, that audience is likely to shrink.

So how can fast shipping brands survive?

First and foremost, they need to build their brand quickly, beyond mere awareness. This is about building quality cues into the brand proposition, not only in look, feel and tone, but also in the products offered and the brands they sell, which should be at least household names and at best premium brands. .

But it’s more than what they sell. Investment is also needed in customer service and – most importantly – in the customer touch point – delivery drivers. These are the ambassadors who are responsible for conveying the brand values ​​to the coal miner, therefore they should be encouraged to deliver on the brand promise effectively. The introduction of a consistent uniform will help instill a sense of belonging and camaraderie among drivers, while improving visibility and brand awareness.

Consideration should also be given to the way brands transport goods, considering the environmental impact this will have. E-scooters and bicycles are the obvious choice to avoid the inevitable worries.

Yes, this can be a significant cost to the business, but it is also the cost of doing business if you want to build the right long-term associations. Because let’s face it, not everyone has the (hard-fought) advantages that Ocado has evolved. Yet at Zoom, the model of a strong parent brand and consistency in delivering brand assets across every customer experience – and environmentally conscious delivery – should be the goal, albeit a very high bar.

The simple truth is that there is no room for too many players. While brands that are built on sand will become obsolete, the winners will be those that build a real brand, with real substance behind it. A brand that offers more than just fast delivery and transaction, but a clear and authentic purpose that consumers embrace.

Chris Reid is strategy director at creative agency EveryFriday

Quick delivery companies must build a brand beyond just awareness

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