retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Agence France-Presse reports that the " first drone delivery on US soil approved by aviation officials" took place last Friday, when drone startup Flirtey and 7-Eleven teamed up to use one to delivery a chicken sandwich, hot coffee, doughnuts, candy and - naturally - a Slurpee.

According to the story, "The delivery took place in Reno, Nevada, with the items loaded into a special box for hot and cold food and flown to a local family."

The story quotes Matt Sweeny, Flirtey's CEO, as saying that "this is just the first step in our collaboration with 7-Eleven. Flirtey's historic drone deliveries to date have been stepping stones to store-to-home drone delivery, and today is a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand."

And Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, 7-Eleven's chief marketing officer, said that "drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience ... in the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes."

Big plans. Now, neither Sweeny nor Delgado-Jenkins talk about the logistics of rolling such a service on a broad scale, nor what the costs might be - and how those costs might affect the price of a Slurpee.

But that's not to suggest that such a rollout isn't possible, nor that the cost issue can't be figured out. I actually have every confidence that both can happen, and that over the long term, drone deliveries will eventually be acceptable and commonplace. It even is possible that at some point down the road, people will wonder why we didn't adapt the technology earlier.

It will take time. There will be bumps in the road. (Or in this case, turbulence.) But it'll happen, and it'll be an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: