Delivery poverty: should we be worried?

New delivery services are popping up like mushrooms. Dutch Jumbo is going to deliver with Gorillas. Bol delivers with its own delivery bikes, and HelloFresh is stronger than ever. However, critics argue that all this will not work out. Home delivery will never be profitable. The costs are too high, and competition is cut-throat.

However, ‘calculating’ delivery companies use address intelligence to know precisely where delivery does and does not pay off, just like old-fashioned mail. Not all zip code areas, streets, and front doors are ‘profitable’ in the delivery network. The delivery companies will skip them; “sorry, we do not deliver to your area.” In the Netherlands, e-groceries can be delivered to 90 percent of households.

Does delivery poverty become as much an issue as transport poverty? Transport poverty occurs when people can no longer participate fully in society due to limited mobility. With an aging population, slowly shrinking regions, and possibly fewer stores in the future, the question is, how do you get your food, drink, and medication? Is everyone entitled to affordable and accessible home delivery? Or, is this a luxury first-world problem?

National rules about home delivery in which the federal government, as in the case of postal delivery, determines the playing field goes too far. Delivery poverty should be addressed locally by municipalities organizing neighborhood hubs and pickup points together with local entrepreneurs. Social delivery networks also bring opportunities. Why not? Delivery poverty? We should solve it together.

Walther Ploos van Amstel.

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