Insights from JD.com Logistics Tour: Three Cool Things You Need to Know About JD Logistics
The Coresight Research team joined JD.com on a tour to show off the company’s logistics prowess. In this report, we discuss a few of the things we found most intriguing. JD.com has:
- Developed and deployed robots to support last-mile delivery.
- Tested drone delivery to bring e-commerce to remote areas.
- Launched “white glove” service to offer a high-end delivery experience.
In April, the Coresight Research team joined JD.com in Beijing for a tour of its logistics prowess and to see first-hand some of JD’s most recent developments.
1. JD Robots Rocking Last-Mile Delivery
JD has tested self-driving delivery robots on open roads and recently upgraded their capacity from carrying only six parcels within a limited distance to carrying up to 30 parcels as far as 30 miles.
The new robots have a navigation system, and image and data processing capabilities: They can see traffic lights, detect and avoid obstacles and adjust speed. When a robot arrives at the delivery location, it sends a voice and text message to the recipient, then waits 15 minutes for the person to pick up the delivery. Customers can use either a code they get with the text message or facial recognition to open the lock and access the package. If the package is not picked up in 15 minutes, the robot returns the next day.
JD expects 5G cellular technology to enhance the robot’s abilities once it is available.
2. Drones Could Bring E-Commerce to Remote Areas
JD claims to be the first company in the world to test drone delivery on a large scale. For example, in Shaanxi province, JD’s low-altitude drone logistics network spans a 300-kilometer radius that includes hundreds of routes across the province. JD has developed seven types of last-mile delivery drones, including heavy-load drones that can carry more than a ton.
Over 500 million people live in China’s rural areas, meaning nearly half the population is underserved by e-commerce. JD’s drone program is designed to bring the JD online marketplace to people living in remote communities.
3. White-Glove Service Delivers a Premium Experience
Using eco-friendly electric cars, JD Toplife’s white-glove service features specially-trained delivery personnel (actually wearing white gloves) who will wait for the customer to try out the product and handle returns on the spot if the customer is not happy with it.
In February 2019, JD announced that Toplife, its luxury shopping platform, will merge with Farfetch China, strengthening the partnership between the two companies. (In 2017, JD.com became one of Farfetch’s largest stakeholders, investing $397 million and adding its founder and CEO, Richard Liu, to Farfetch’s advisory board.) JD has worked to create a “premier luxury gateway to China” for luxury brands.