One of the problems that small meat stores experience is that they are often overshadowed by big grocery chains such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Trader Joe’s, etc. This results in a threat to the business due to lower product patronage from consumers that prefer the convenience of having to go to a super market and finding everything that they need there. Small meat shops need to develop a means to draw more customers in or experience continued declines in the amount of customers that they serve.
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The concept behind “drone delivery” was initially created as a marketing gimmick by Amazon.com in 2014 where, through the recent popularization of drones due to their commercial viability, it utilized a video to show quad-copter drones delivering packages to consumers. However, as technology continues to improve and drones get cheaper to utilize, the viability of drone delivery has gone from a mere theory to actual potential implementation. This is due to new innovations in software and GPS tracking which allows drones to more easily find locations, drop off their packages and return to the warehouse they came from. It is based on this viability that one potential application of drone delivery is to have an online meat seller use quad-copters for local deliveries.
The concept focuses on a local meat seller in a small town using drone delivery to get meat packages from the store to their customers.
When examining the concept, there are several limitations that need to be taken into consideration prior to its implementation:
The first limitation is the distance involved when it comes to utilizing drones for delivery. Unlike most cars, quad-copter drones run off a limited battery supply that can only last a few hours at best (Stark 24). Its capacity is constrained to only a few miles which limits the locations that the drone can deliver to (Ohlemacher 4). This is why, for small stores, operations of this nature can only work in small towns since they lack the resources of Amazon to have centralized locations where drones can easily travel from nor do they have the monetary resources to buy more robust drones that can travel longer distances (Rutkin 1).
Another limitation of drone delivery is that some quad-copter models can only carry a few pounds. Since quad-copter drones need to be lightweight enough in order to fly, their carrying capacity is severely limited. Orders that can be delivered are limited to 10 pounds of meat or less (Berkowitz 164).
Benefits from a Marketing Perspective
The benefits of utilizing quad-copter delivery drones is that they act as a sufficient means of creating interest in your products due to the novelty of having them delivered via drones. Small meat shops simply cannot compete with the prices or marketing capabilities of large super markets like Wal-Mart, Costco or Trader Joe’s. These stores are capable of leveraging their superior supply chain capabilities in order to sell meat at a lower cost than your average small town meat store. It is based on this that small meat shops need to develop a way to standout and make themselves a more preferable choice as compared to their larger supermarket counterparts.
One of the best ways of doing so is to make their product more unique and accessible; this is where quad-copters for delivery come in. By utilizing quad-copter drones to deliver products around the town, this creates a unique selling point for the meat shops by making it more convenient for customers to get their products. The combination of convenience and the uniqueness of drone delivery is sure to make people want to at least try the service and this can result in many of them developing a certain level of patronage towards your store (Bamburry 40).
In order to successfully pull off this type of plan, the following aspects would be needed:
Investing in several quad-copter drones
It goes without saying that in order to have drone delivery, you need to have drones in the first place. Each drone would cost an average of $500 or more depending on the size and capabilities that the shop would need (Murray and Chu 88). However, it is still cheaper as compared to purchasing a delivery car and hiring someone to make the deliveries for you.
Aside from the purchasing the drones, the most costly expenditure in this marketing initiative takes the form of the programming needed to have the drones properly deliver the packages to the needed addresses. This can cost several thousand dollars but it is still a necessary expense in order for this operation to actually work.
Based on everything that has been presented so far, it can be seen that drone delivery is actually a viable method that can be used to draw in customers and keep a meat shop in business. Its uniqueness is what will cause customers to come and the quality of the meat is what will have customers continue to patronize the meat shop.
Bamburry, Dane. “Drones: Designed For Product Delivery.” Design Management Review 26.1 (2015): 40. Print.
Berkowitz, Roger. “Drones And The Question Of “The Human”.” Ethics & International Affairs (Cambridge University Press) 28.2 (2014): 159-169. Print.
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Murray, Chase C., and Amanda G. Chu. “The Flying Sidekick Traveling Salesman Problem: Optimization Of Drone-Assisted Parcel Delivery.” Transportation Research: Part C 54.(2015): 86-109. Print.
Ohlemacher, Stephen. “Delivery by Drone in 30 Minutes? Amazon Says it’s Coming.” Chicago Citizen – Hyde Park Edition 15 July 2015: 4. Print.
Rutkin, Aviva. “Laws For Drones.” New Scientist 255.3009 (2015): 1. Print.
Stark, Melanie. “Delivery Drones: How Far Should We Go?.” Logistics & Transport Focus 17.10 (2015): 24. Print.