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World-first drone delivery takes off from shopping centre in QLD

In a world-first, Vicinity Centres has partnered with Wing – an Alphabet company – to pilot a new model of delivery, flying goods from shopping centre rooftops directly to Australian customers. Available within suburbs surrounding Grand Plaza, customers are able to order from participating businesses within the shopping centre.

Vicinity and Wing have been piloting the world-first service from the rooftop of Grand Plaza shopping centre in Logan, Queensland since mid-August, completing more than 2,500 contactless deliveries to customers in nearby suburbs including Regents Park, Heritage Park, Park Ridge, Browns Plains, Marsden, Crestmead, and Berrinba.

Participating businesses include food and beverage outlets, Sushi Hub, Boost Juice, and Chatime. From today, local community pharmacy TerryWhite Chemmart will also commence offering drone delivery of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, personal care, general health, and beauty products. The service will soon expand to more customers and offer delivery from other businesses located at the centre.

Vicinity’s Chief Innovation and Information Officer, Justin Mills, said the exciting new partnership formed an important part of Vicinity’s distribution and fulfillment strategy and helped retailers unlock the value of their physical store to optimise omnichannel retail.

“Research by Vicinity’s Data Science and Insights (DS&I) team and Quantium shows 71% of Australian retailers have adopted an omnichannel approach, and physical retail is critical to that success, driving an uplift in online market share of up to 40%,” said Mills.

“The drone delivery service will help our retailers drive incremental, leveraging the value of their physical store and attracting new customers to engage with the centre. It also helps solve delivery-based pain points identified in our customer research.”

“Our partnership with Wing is a natural extension of our distribution and fulfilment strategy which will help retailers use physical stores and our shopping centre network to get their products in customer hands quicker and more efficiently.”

The drone delivery Wing pilot is the latest project Vicinity has introduced as part of its distribution and fulfilment strategy, to improve the omnichannel experience of retailers and customers, and enhance efficiency.

With almost 17 million Australians (66% of the population) living within 30 minutes of one of its 61 strategically located centres, Vicinity is well-placed to rapidly scale up its drone delivery partnership and provide a solution to the challenges and environmental cost of last-mile delivery.

“The retail industry is changing, and Vicinity is employing a test and learn approach in areas critical to the role of Australian shopping centres in the future. We believe the partnership with Wing will be an important component of our overall distribution and fulfillment strategy and support our new growth strategy,” said Mills.

“Almost two-thirds of the Australian population live within 30 minutes of one of our 61 strategically located centres. Our footprint provides the foundation to implement our distribution and fulfilment strategy by rapidly scaling our drone delivery partnership with Wing and advancing our co-located logistics hubs and micro fulfillment centres.

“Exploring new technologies like drone delivery means our retailers may provide customers with game-changing product deliveries in minutes rather than days, while also reducing their carbon footprint.”

Customers can experience drone delivery by ordering available products from participating retailers at Grand Plaza using the Wing app

Last month, Wing marked two years of drone delivery service in Logan, having already made more than 50,000 drone deliveries to the local community in 2021. The introduction of this new delivery model follows expansion of the service earlier this year, with Wing now offering delivery to 19 suburbs in Logan with a combined population of more than 110,000 people.

Wing Australia Head of Policy and Community Affairs, Jesse Suskin said, “We’re delighted to explore this new model of delivery with Vicinity Centres. For the first time, we are co-locating our drones with businesses at their premises, rather than local businesses having to co-locate their goods with us at our delivery facility.

“With the increase in consumers’ desire for convenience and speed, on-demand drone delivery can help address the costly last-mile delivery challenge, reduce road congestion and emissions, and create new economic opportunities for businesses by utilising their existing retail space as logistics hubs and fulfillment centres.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the team at Vicinity Centres to further develop new delivery models that can complement the retail businesses located at Grand Plaza, and if successful, potentially roll out similar models in other locations across Vicinity Centres’ retail property portfolio.”

Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet, is the world’s first on-demand drone delivery service direct to homes and businesses. Available on three continents, Wing works with local businesses and major global partners to deliver food, goods, medicine, and parcels via drone.

Customers can experience drone delivery by ordering available products from participating retailers at Grand Plaza using the Wing app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play.

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