Will Amazon Drones Increase E-Commerce Purchases?

Estimated Reading Time 4 minutes


Over the years digital evolution and disruptive innovation have lead the way to increasing online, in-app and mobile purchases. Pokémon Go is the latest to change how we interact with brands, apps and Artificial Intelligence.

Alongside this evolution is the development of drones. Drones have been creeping up the side-lines waiting to pounce and soon they could bring the idea of home delivery within 30 minutes of ordering into reality.

Whilst the technology and testing has been developing, there has been much talk about drones over the past few years. This has come to a head more recently as Amazon, who have been testing drones in the US, have been granted testing rights in UK airspace.
The Government have lifted strict bans and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have allowed testing without some of their standard blind drone rules, to allow Amazon to test their Prime Air Drones.

What are Drones?

For those unfamiliar with them, the definition of a drone is a remote-controlled or pilotless aircraft. Amazon’s testing will include multiple drones controlled remotely by one individual, which would enable multiple deliveries at one time, from one central controller.

What does this mean for the future of eCommerce:

The possible impact is two direct changes

1. Faster delivery, the goal being within 30 minutes of ordering – meaning the likelihood of people ordering more last minute products, more convenience and small products is high. This could revolutionise the way we shop in the same way that home delivery from supermarkets did.
2. Smaller packaging – Amazon has often been in the firing line for their over-sized packaging and waste, if drones are having to carry and deliver these products, surely the smaller the packaging the better for the efficiency?
3. Possible larger drones for larger products – the current limit is 5lb
4. Other players competing with Amazon in regards to delivery
5. Where the consumer stands on damaged goods
6. Cameras taking footage of people’s property – possible home security issues

It is still early days and first and foremost, Amazon’s testing must prove that there are no health or safety risks in using drones, not just in the airspace and potentially risking other aircraft but also the delivery process.

It would be an exciting day to see when you order online and 30 mins later a flying un-piloted robot drops off your parcel, with hopefully less packaging please Amazon.

The reality is that rather than having drones zig-zagging in and out of our streets, we may see a compromise with Amazon drone deliveries being made to specific pick-up points. Ironically, the whole thing could go full circle with these pick-up points being former post-offices. The post-office being a beneficiary of the rise in parcel delivery over the last few years.

Watch this sky space.

Rachel Mepham
With over 15 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a deep skill set in the Paid Search, Social Media and Analytics, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the UK digital space. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well as leading advertising and marketing agencies.