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Sat July 30 2016 21:59:53

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

By: Ina Steiner

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The US Postal Service helps small online sellers stay competitive with retail giants when it comes to shipping. But when delivery by drone becomes a reality, small sellers may find themselves at a significant disadvantage.

Amazon is forging ahead with Prime Air, announcing this past week a partnership with the UK government that "brings Amazon closer to our goal of using drones to safely deliver parcels in 30 minutes to customers in the UK and elsewhere around the world" (for packages up to 5 pounds).

A company called Flirtey is also working on drone deliveries, and this past week, it announced a milestone - it used a drone to make two deliveries to a 7-Eleven customer in the US. Here's how it worked:

"At a Reno, Nevada 7‑Eleven store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7‑Eleven merchandise - including hot and cold food items - were loaded into a unique Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer's house. 

"Once at the family's backyard, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package. The purchases were delivered to the family in the span of a few minutes. Products included Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and 7-Select candy. 

"In the future, both companies expect drone packages to include "everyday essentials" such as batteries and sunscreen."

Companies who want to win in the space know it's important to be early, and patents also play a key role, helping to determine which retailers and shipping carriers can offer drone delivery and how costly it will be for them.

Sellers face pressure to offer shoppers fast and inexpensive or free shipping, and some are already wary of the possible challenges posed by drone delivery. In a recent thread on the eBay UK discussion boards, a seller wrote, "Soon eBay will be forcing drone deliveries and expecting the sellers to offer for free."

Do you think countries' postal services should be leading the charge in the development of drone delivery - or will they be caught unprepared? Do you see drones as an opportunity for your business to help get your items to shoppers faster, or do you think the cost of drone delivery will be out of reach for small sellers?




Comments (18) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 31 07:11:23 2016

I will reserve my decision until the time Amazons drones deliver my 35 lb pails of cat litter to my front porch with out crashing into something.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Jul 31 09:54:25 2016

LOL Frog...

:-)

yep.. I will believe it when i see it.. in my neighborhood they would steal the package and the drone.  

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Jul 31 11:56:50 2016

I remember when the Amazon drone deliveries were first discussed on this site, people were imagining that the drones would be used for target practice, or as White Rabbit writes, stolen. I doubt any small sellers can absorb the cost of a drone.

Since I don't sell chicken sandwiches or doughnuts, I think I'll stick with USPS for my deliveries.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 31 16:28:29 2016

I am sick to DEATH with all this drivel about DRONE Delivery. What a DamFool Stupid Idea. I don't think I even need start a list of how and why this is pointless and just an Invitation for Disaster.  May seem a wide stretch here, but just look at Poor Old TWA and PanAm.  Both companies were under financial pressure before their demise, but BOTH were hustled quickly into their too-soon graves by Terrorists (PanAm) or Black Swan surprise (TWA).  Drone delivery turning out to be a positive for ANY corporation is such a long-shot... a long shot minor WIN vs. Multiple different Awful Outcomes makes this BET (and it is a BET) on such foolishness the sort of thing where unwary Corporation Board of Directors can personally be sued into bankrupsy.  I see the non-sense about Self-Driving Cars and Trucks on exactly the same level of Corporate Suicide. Tesla was already on thin ice with missed targets and missed delivery schedules... a couple more fatal crashes in their entirely too-quickly introduced cars is just "an accident waiting to happen".. figuratively and literally.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 31 17:15:25 2016

Imagine how they would handle delivery confirmation....
Drone says delivered....customer say item not received....
Customer gets for free.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: elcheapoposters This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Aug 1 00:40:32 2016

I so see this coming - somebody stole my cracker jacks -
check out this video from the DEFCON convention about hacking a drone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CzURm7OpAA

I can imagine the 'i never got my order' or 'the drone attacked my cat' complaints..

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 00:45:41 2016

Drones, even if wildly successful, will have little or no effect on the collectibles markets, so my average $10 eBay sales will sail on smoothly.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 05:44:52 2016

Drones will work in a limited way.  I can see the farmer out in "Nowhere" America having drone deliveries.  But what about big cities like NYC?  How the heck is the drone going to leave a package on the front stoop of an apartment building or even a tall skyscraper?  The buyer would need a gps tracking ticket in order to be at home at the exact time that the drone lands the package -- or else it's stolen.  And what about those tall skyscrapers? Crash crash crash.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 1 06:58:29 2016

Modern day skeet shooting--coming to a yard near you.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 1 08:10:53 2016

This will never fly!

Too many variables. . .

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 11:00:24 2016

Rexford.  Love your comment. I can see it happening.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 11:01:12 2016

> Modern day skeet shooting--coming to a yard near you.

Absotively. I have two words for drone delivery:

''Target practice.''

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 1 11:30:10 2016

So will drones deliver in snow, rain, hail, gale force winds?  Will porch thief shoppers be chasing them down?

If so I see a lot of soggy and missing packages.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 11:53:38 2016

I agree, this is a ridiculous idea. Plus, as a small seller, if the buyer is in an area which can be covered by a drone, I can just hop in my car and deliver it myself.
I am not worried about this and hope no one tries to deliver any item out in my yard, if my dog gets it, he will eat it.

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 1 12:31:47 2016

To answer the question..yes, it would put a disadvantage to those who.dont use drones..I.do.doubt this would ever be a thing though..too many negative factors involved.

Amazon already has a huge advantage in that usps kisses their asses, gives them crazy low rates and ships on sunday for em

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 2 20:01:12 2016

open season

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 13:58:48 2016

Drones have a limited range (for now) so I can't image this being a very useful tool other than in large metropolitan areas. And since the USPS is a government run business, it will take miles of red tape and numerous congressional debates even before they will even consider using drones. The Dumbocrats will complain about lost jobs and the GOP will say it cost too much money!

Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?   Will Drone Delivery Put Small Sellers at a Disadvantage?

by: funkygrrl This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 7 08:54:47 2016

Everyone in my rural area says they will shoot a drone if they see it over their property, lol.



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