Jeff Bezos revealed something that truly would revolutionize e-commerce and online ordering, should it become widely used: automated air delivery drones that could deliver 86 percent of the goods Amazon ships to customers today (packages under 5 pounds), in less than 30 minutes in many cases. That would be a huge change to business as currently conducted by the Amazon giant, and it would mean the end of retail as we know it.
This notion is taking a lot of flack – mostly from people with the imagination of toadstools – and yes, I can see some potential problems.
But the notion of near-instant delivery of goods ordered via online means is not only obvious, but inevitable. Way back in the 1990s I wrote a novel called Systems, in which I envisioned people shopping from home in virtual reality “stores,” and then getting near-instant delivery of the goods they purchased.
I envisioned people being able to walk through virtual stores in much the same way they do in brick and morter stores today, and make their purchases that way.
I still think we may see something like this, by the way. People still like to shop and browse in “real” stores, and then make their actual purchase from online venues. I eventuall expectd the two experiences to converge.