Retailers and delivery platforms are 'expecting the unexpected' this holiday season

Retailers and delivery platforms are 'expecting the unexpected' this holiday season
Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images
  • Business Insider talked to executives from DoorDash and Macy's during its IGNITION: A Retail Revolution event on November 12.
  • DoorDash director and general manager of retail management Carly Brush and Macy's VP of supply chain strategy Sean Barbour shared information about the delivery partnership between the two companies.
  • Both brands are embracing flexibility around the holidays this year.

Macy's and DoorDash teamed up to offer same-day and next-day deliveries from the department store this year, and while the partnership may seem unusual, it's fitting ahead of holidays that are sure to be different thanks to COVID-19.

DoorDash is "expecting the unexpected" this year, Carly Brush, DoorDash director and general manager of retail management, said November 12 during a panel discussion for Business Insider's IGNITION: A Retail Revolution event.
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Macy's VP of supply chain strategy Sean Barbour echoed this, explaining that the company had never seen a holiday season like this one.
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Black Friday is usually a major shopping holiday, with in-store deals and shoppers lined up in the middle of the night. This year Macy's spread deals across November and December, reducing the potential risk of filling the store with shoppers on a single day. Throughout the season, shoppers can order these deals from Macy's website, and select same-day or next-day delivery from a DoorDash driver.

Barbour said that for Macy's, the advantage in partnering with an existing delivery network like DoorDash over creating an in-house delivery service is that DoorDash already has the infrastructure, so delivery is not limited only to urban centers. For DoorDash, delivering Macy's inventory straight from stores has a speed advantage over sourcing from warehouses that could take days, Brush said. Barbour noted that Macy's is embracing the flexibility necessary for holiday shopping this year, keeping inventory in stores but being willing to sell to in-person shoppers, curbside, or delivery as customer needs change.

Delivering department-store orders seems very different from DoorDash's usual association with food, but Brush sees the common ground between them. In some ways, she said, working with Macy's is easier than completing food deliveries. If "you can keep a milkshake cold" for delivery, then transporting goods from Macy's is relatively easy.
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