We live in a culture of instant gratification. For many of us, it’s second nature to hail a taxi (Uber), watch a movie (Netflix) and get a date (Tinder) online at a moment’s notice. It’s why millennials are sometimes called the ‘on demand generation’. 

Over the years, this want-it-now mentality has changed the way we perform a huge range of everyday tasks, from ordering food (DoorDash) to booking a massage (Soothe), to freelancing (Fiverr), to online shopping. 

Data shows the same-day delivery market is growing, and for some online shoppers, even that isn’t fast enough. Luckily, there are a slew of platforms out there to help you offer on demand delivery. 

Here’s a look at what on demand delivery in retail actually entails, why you should offer it and how you can go about doing so.

What is on demand delivery?

If standard delivery is 2+ business days, express delivery is next-day and same-day is, well, same-day, then on demand delivery can be described as anything faster. Outside of food and drinks, and depending on the platform and location of the order, on demand deliveries are typically made within three hours. 

To make this work, on demand delivery doesn’t go through the same collection and bulk sorting process as standard online delivery. Instead, it’s usually crowdsourced. Because of this, many major couriers don’t actually offer on demand delivery. 

Here are some of the main platforms offering on demand delivery in Australia. They tend to either cater to parcels, or food and drinks, but they all use large networks of contractors (gig workers) who take delivery jobs as they come up.


  • Parcels


      • Amazon Flex: Offers on demand delivery in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
      • Sherpa: Offers delivery in as little as one hour in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Newcastle, and Cairns.
      • Uber: Offers on demand delivery via drivers who have opted in. 
      • Yello: Offers ‘near-instant’ delivery, with over 12,000 drivers across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
      • Zoom2u: Offers same-day and three-hour delivery in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.


  • Food and drinks


    • Meal delivery: Deliveroo, DoorDash, Menulog, UberEats and more
    • Alcohol delivery: Jimmy Brings, Tipple, Shorty’s Liquor and more

Why should you offer it?

As with most things, the reason to offer on demand delivery in retail is that customers are demanding it. According to a report by Invespcro, 80% of shoppers want same-day shipping, while 61% want their packages even faster — within 1-3 hours of placing an order. 

While only a few retailers were able to offer ultra-fast delivery in the past, that is starting to change, thanks to Covid-19. When traditional delivery services became overwhelmed by the spike in online shopping last year, several retailers started using on demand delivery platforms to get their orders to customers. And even though delivery bottlenecks are no longer an issue, on demand delivery has stuck around.

Kathmandu and Petbarn continue to offer same-day delivery via Uber, Chemist Warehouse advertises two-hour delivery with Sherpa and Nespresso has just launched three-hour delivery with Zoom2U.  

Besides catering to customers’ desire for instant gratification, on demand delivery is also affordable, thanks to the low overheads associated with the gig economy. It’s also transparent. Businesses and customers can see exactly when an order will be picked up and when it will be delivered. 

How can you offer it?

If you’re planning to offer on demand delivery, the first step is to pick a platform to partner with. 

As a Shippit customer, you can easily tap into Yello’s huge network of drivers to offer on demand delivery in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in less than three hours at competitive rates. The service is available during office hours, twilight hours and on Saturdays and Sundays, with no after-hours surcharge. 

Next, you need to decide how you’ll integrate on demand delivery into your online checkout, and whether you’ll need to change or introduce any internal processes on the fulfilment side. 

Finally, it’s time to share your new delivery option with your customers. Make sure your messaging on this is clear. Depending on the size and location of your delivery partner’s network, as well as your own business, you may only be able to offer on demand delivery in certain parts of the country. 

If you have a national network of bricks-and-mortar stores and can ship from store, you can probably offer on demand delivery in metro areas across the country. If you’re online-only, you might be restricted to the city where your warehouse is based. 

You don’t want to risk a customer placing an order because they think on demand delivery is available in a location where it’s not, so be explicit about which postcodes are eligible for the service.

Now that you know how easy it is to offer on demand delivery, there’s no reason not to!