What Is An On-demand Courier Service?

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The e-commerce industry undertakes a variety of domains, and each of them is further categorized into different types of items. Every product you see in the marketplace requires a specific time on which it is to be delivered. For instance, lifestyle products ordered from a marketplace are delivered within one or two days, whereas heavy electronic items might take more days to be delivered. Within this delivery section comes a service known as an on-demand service.

On-demand courier services refer to the delivery date decided by the customers. In other words, customers decide where and when they need the products to be delivered. This usually points towards an instant delivery system where instead of 2-3 days, customers need the product within 24 hours or the shortest delivery time possible. Companies might charge a bit extra, and customers can even track their shipments. 

How Does On-demand Courier Service Work?

Unlike regular delivery services, on-demand courier services focus on the customer’s requirements. In instant delivery, only one item at a time is picked up and dispatched. The following order is placed once the previous one has been dropped off at the customer’s doorstep. 

On-demand delivery service is similar to instant grocery delivery applications or ride-hailing services, where customers place the order and receive it in almost no time. But in marketplaces, items take a little longer than FMCG to deliver to customers. 

Instant delivery services are based on transparent communication among customers, sellers, and the marketplace. Both sellers and customers can track their orders while keeping in touch with their courier partners. It is estimated that nearly 27% of shoppers abandon their carts if the delivery option is not fast enough. Therefore, several companies are now trying to opt for instant or last-mile delivery in their systems to increase customer satisfaction and customer base.  

Who Uses On-Demand Courier Service?

On-demand courier service comes in different shapes and sizes. It is now accommodated within many business models due to the rise in popularity and customer demand.  Here are some common use cases of on-demand courier services:- 

  • Courier services: This service works just like parcel delivery, where customers need delivery partners to deliver their items from one location to another. Both the pickup and delivery locations belong to end customers who hire or place requests for a delivery partner for a short time.
  • Fuel delivery: This service is meant for those who cannot go to the gas station. Customers can place the order while sitting at their homes or stuck on a busy road and get the order within a few minutes. Moreover, companies deliver fuel tanks to their customers anywhere they want, which is quite relieving for busy car owners or truck drivers.
  • Grocery delivery services (FMCG): This domain is gaining more traction, especially in the APAC region. Between 2023-2028, the FMCG delivery industry’s CAGR is expected to grow at a rate of 5.5% year-on-year. Many brick-and-mortar stores have partnered with grocery delivery partners. They take customer orders, update them over the app, and deliver the products quickly. This service has made things easy for households as they deliver groceries to their doorstep.
  • Flower delivery: People order fresh flowers for worship, or they sometimes order bouquets for gifting. Since flowers are perishable and tend to lose color and smell, they must be delivered to customers within a few minutes. Like grocery delivery, flower delivery is also done instantaneously.
  • Food delivery: Another prominent segment is food delivery applications. Food chain applications build partnerships with food chains and deliver food in a flash.
  • Pharmacy delivery: This on-demand pharmacy delivery service dispatches medicines to customers. Most of them don’t charge convenience fees to their customers. They just pay for their healthcare products. Delivery partners receive their pay from pharmacies.
  • Moving and furniture delivery: Lastly, we have moving and furniture delivery services that help customers move to another place. This includes on-demand truck and hauling services. Customers just need to drop their pick-up and destination addresses and choose the most appropriate vehicle for shifting their commodities. 

How Do On-demand Courier Services Locate Their Customers?

Both individual entrepreneurs and businesses do on-demand courier services. Therefore, the approach to target the audience differs between the two. These are as follows:-

Individual Customers

Regular customers are more prone to use on-demand services at their doorstep, which is why simple advertising, digital marketing, etc., could be some ways by which you can entice customers to your platform. 

Customers From the Business World

Customers that come from the business world could be challenging. For them, some marketing techniques that could be used are:-

  • Customer referral system– This means referring a code to a new customer via an existing customer and giving them rewards. 
  • B2B digital marketing– Customers within your reach can be targeted via simple B2B digital marketing. 
  • Influencer marketing– Industries that have a good number of followers on social media can partner with influencers to promote their products. Or they can engage influencer marketing by providing influencers with products and asking them to promote them on social media. 
  • Face-to-face marketing– Entrepreneurs can partner with businesses that get many requests and are most suitable for face-to-face marketing. 

What Services Do On-demand Courier Services Offer?

Here are some of the services companies provide that follow on-demand courier services.

Scheduled Delivery

As the name suggests, scheduled delivery provides customized services where customers can organize their orders in advance. Moreover, they also get an option to specify the exact date and time of delivery. After receiving the request, companies abide by the specified time and deliver their order at a specific time. 


Once the order has been placed, customers can track it at any time. In some applications, the tracking system is present as a default, making it even easier for customers to access it.


Keeping the traffic and routing system in mind, on-demand couriers give their customers an estimated arrival time. It might differ from the stated time, but it gives relief and satisfaction to customers if they know where their order is and how long it will take to reach the destination. Courier partners update their end users with pickup and drop-off times and mark it complete once done. 

Multi Drop-Off

It is a functionality where customers can ship multiple orders to different locations simultaneously. With on-demand delivery services, small businesses can give partners their orders with multiple locations. The courier partner, therefore, delivers the items. 

Vehicle Type

Nowadays, customers can even select what type of vehicle they would prefer in which to handle and deliver the item. There are many options available such as vans, motorcycles, trucks, and so on, from which customers can choose. 

Order Management

On-demand services give more authority to their customers as there are numerous options available by which they can manage orders. For instance, cash on delivery, instructions for delivery, payment options, discount codes, etc., are ways customers get more flexibility with their orders.


E-wallet or QR code is completely taking over the payment sector as most businesses are now open to e-wallet features that let customers pay in a few clicks. Instead of cash, they can scan a QR code or visit the link to make online payments. 

On-Demand Courier – Leading Benefits

On-demand courier practices have many advantages as they fulfill modern demands. Here are some key benefits of on-demand courier services. 

Larger addressable markets

Keeping in mind the in-depth penetration of delivery services, on-demand courier services are proven to be in high demand because of their biggest advantage– instantaneous delivery. The e-commerce marketplace has understood the value of instant delivery and its service across the market; therefore, the addressable markets subsequently become vast. The more outlets, the higher and better on-demand delivery services. 

Deep consumer insight

On-demand customer services understand the customer’s mindset better. Modernization demands change in the conventional delivery system, which is why instant delivery stands out. Moreover, companies also understand customer patterns and plan their next steps accordingly. 

Manage last-mile delivery

Small enterprises have adopted another method called last-mile delivery services that deliver the products to rightful customers within a short span, benefitting both the companies and customers. They use modern distribution and logistics and provide customers with customized delivery options. 

Efficient automation

Customization in delivery demands efficient and advanced technology such as MIS, software, logistics, data analytics, cloud computing, and many other back-end technologies that can address delivery demands efficiently. Firms automate their entire delivery system to remove any possible human error which could cause a delay in delivery, 

Reducing operating costs

Though it seems like it costs a fortune to adopt on-demand services, it saves loads of operating costs, physical warehouse costs, and other expenses while utilizing the best resources available. 

Omnichannel strategy

An omnichannel strategy is a mandatory approach to surviving this on-demand world. It is one of the essential elements in this model as it allows the optimal blend of delivery, collection, and pickup.

On-Demand Courier – Reasons for Failure

Sometimes, there could be a failure to keep up with customer demand. Here are some reasons for the failure of on-demand delivery service:-

Not customer-centric

On-demand courier services are solely made for customers and their requirements. But some firms tend to divert from this customer-centric approach, which could create a mess in their distribution and logistics. To achieve huge success with on-demand courier services, entrepreneurs must work with the holistic approach of putting customers first. 

Disconnected business processes

Instant delivery demands 24X7 coordination among various vertices across the company as customers can place their orders with desired ETA anytime and anywhere, which doesn’t usually happen. For this, the firms need to have a coordination team to ensure transparent communication between customers and companies. 

Re-imagining operations holistically

Companies need to rethink their workflow in terms of team goals, roles, and responsibilities to create a unidirectional flow. But unfortunately, many corporations fail to fulfill these responsibilities, leading to unstructured delivery and logistics segments. Entrepreneurs have to be holistic with on-demand services to make it successful. 

Small delivery windows, large volumes, and complex demand patterns

On-demand courier services tend to be overwhelmed by the requests they have to attain quickly. Instead of scenarios like “peak hours”, companies should create a uniform timeline for all the delivery services while also maintaining a seamless experience for both employees and customers. However, since it is easier said than done, many companies see it as one of the biggest challenges in on-demand services. 

Insufficient automation and prohibitive costs

Suppose the automation process is not sufficient to carry out instant delivery. In that case, the cost will ultimately increase, creating additional load in the company, thus, hindering delivery services. 

Automation & Modern Tech: The Core of On-Demand Courier

By now, you must clearly understand how automation and modern tech are the only way to ensure the entire system of maintaining on-demand delivery services. Full-time customer support, seamless experience while placing the order, easy-to-access ETA, transparent tracking system, and many other things are how companies can ensure and fulfill on-demand delivery. Therefore, it is said that automation and high tech are the core of instant delivery systems. 


In a nutshell, it is pretty evident how last-mile delivery service has transformed the entire delivery system. It has raised the bar for the e-commerce industry and increased customer  expectations. Many segments, such as lifestyle, appliances, parcel delivery, FMCG, and so on, have adapted instant delivery into their system, which not only helps them scale up but also enhances customer satisfaction. 


What is an on-demand courier, and what has it changed?

On-demand courier services refer to instant delivery in which customers can choose the location and estimate the delivery time of their product. Besides delivery time, customers now also get the packaging option, tracking of their product, 24X7 customer support, and many other additional services.

Why do on-demand courier and fulfillment services fail?

Two main reasons for the failure of on-demand courier and fulfillment service are insufficient automation and a lack of 24X7 team availability and coordination. This increases operational costs and hinders transparency between customers and entrepreneurs.

What are the benefits of an on-demand courier service?

Here are some benefits of on-demand courier services:-

  • A significant accessible market
  • Increase in customer satisfaction and customer base
  • It can be used as a USP during the marketing
  • Entrepreneurs get deep customer insights that further help them understand the pattern.

What does it mean when an order is on demand?

When a product is ordered on-demand, it means that customers need the products whenever they want and in whichever way they want. Both the location and ETA are set according to the customer’s demand.

What does on-demand mean in logistics?

On-demand logistics is a modern strategy that allows companies to satisfy customers’ demands regarding delivery. The primary purpose is to dispatch the order as soon as they’re placed.

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