Landlord Oxford Properties announced this week that it is launching same-day delivery from its shopping centres in an effort to gain consumer market share amid a changing world and the COVID-19 pandemic. The new ‘ShipNow’ initiative launches initially at the Square One shopping centre in Mississauga and will be rolled out to other Oxford-managed shopping centres in Canada in due course.
Oxford Properties partnered with GoFor Industries to offer ShipNow, which is descried as being a same-day delivery service that will ship goods from Square One’s retailers to almost one million customers in the shopping centre’s catchment area. The ShipNow service will be available to all of Square One’s retailers to fulfill in-store, online, and phone orders from the store to the local trade area.
“Our malls are exceptionally well-located and easily accessible to large catchment areas within a short-driving distance. This means that the reverse is also true, so goods shipped from our shopping centres can quickly and cost-effectively reach a large customer base on the same day,” said Bradley Jones, Head of Retail at Oxford Properties. “When you also consider that our malls, like Square One, have millions of square feet that currently hold merchandise and products, we already have the critical infrastructure to offer seamless same-day delivery on behalf of our retailers.
“Physical retail has become important for retailers in driving brand loyalty, customer experience, and building the top of the sales funnel. Stores have become a medium to acquire customers and we’re now providing our retailers with fulfillment strategies to transact online sales,” Jones went on to say. “Our partnership with GoFor assists us in playing a larger role in the entire customer journey and unlocking the enormous potential of shopping centre stores to play an integral part of the distribution network, particularly at a time when logistics space is in short supply.”
The ShipNow from Square One with GoFor initiative says that it enables local shoppers to access mall retailers with convenient, same-day delivery which was previously unavailable or only possible with extended delivery times. The program also allows retailers to place local inventory into the e-commerce space to get orders delivered to shoppers with same day delivery.
“Global consumer delivery patterns and shopping habits have shifted fundamentally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brad Rollo, CEO of GoFor. “We don’t expect to see customers’ desire for fast delivery to disappear and malls like Square One are leading the way and adapting to meet their customers where they are. We are excited to work with Oxford Properties to provide scalable, on-demand and same-day delivery to the retailers’ customers and look forward to assisting the retailers in owning their last mile fulfillment and keeping up with consumer demand.”
Plans are in place to roll out ShipNow to other Oxford-managed malls in Canada, including Yorkdale and Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto, Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Promenades Gatineau near Ottawa, Les Galleries de la Capitale in Quebec City, Southcentre Mall in Calgary, and Kingsway Mall in Edmonton.
Retail supply chain expert Gary Newbury, who is also a Senior “Exec On Call” at Toronto-based Retail AID, said, “This is another great collaboration bringing the mall as an entity temporally closer to the community, especially during the COVID times of lockdown. It facilitates retailers, who might be facing a closed mall with limited options to continue to grow their sales in some of the most toughest conditions faced in Canadian retailing.”
Newbury went on to say, “We can probably thank Amazon’s shift to next day, and for some items same day, in 2019, the pandemic’s effect to force partners to work together in different ways, and also the appetite to look at more risk sharing revenue models between retailers and landlords for such a development.”
“As landlords re-evaluate their revenue models and focus on added services, this will herald a new age of collaboration rather than combative relationships in this highly inter-dependant relationship. Malls were designed for retail and such moves are genuinely a step in the right direction,” Newbury went on to say, “Imagine Square One becomes the ‘everything mall’ locally and shoppers can shop across the mall and have one delivery. Imagine a 3PL such as GoFor being able to assemble high density routes driving the “delivery cost” to be a smaller part of basket spend, and for the consumer, they win by a consistent same day service, complete with tracking and courteous delivery drivers.”
ShipNow is the latest innovation form Oxford Properties. In September of 2019 the landlord launched Search. Find. ShopNOW, a platform which allows customers to see what products are offered by selected retailers in one online search. If a shopper was looking for a black dress, for example, Oxford Properties’ shopping centre websites showcase all products that fit the search, allowing consumers to contact to the store to check availability, visit the store itself, or purchase the item directly from the retailer’s online website.