What is on-demand delivery?


Written by David Renwick

When it comes to eCommerce, customer choice is now the name of the game. Choice of product, choice of payment options and – increasingly – choice when it comes to shipping.

Did you know that 80 percent of shoppers said they’d want to receive their purchases on the same day? And that 61 percent wanted to receive their orders within one to three hours of purchase?

Customers now want the option of receiving their orders in the shortest time possible, and to remain competitive, retailers need to offer these options.

Welcome to on-demand delivery. In this article, we’ll outline what it is, how it works, the benefits and couriers offering it right now.

What is on-demand delivery?

What is on-demand delivery?

On-demand delivery is about giving your customers a choice around when they want to receive an order. For example, you might offer multiple delivery options including within 1, 2 or 4 hours, or same day, evening express, overnight, weekend and even click & collect – right at the checkout. It can help to think of on-demand delivery like Uber Eats.

If you’re considering offering on-demand delivery, you’ll need to ensure your business is up to the task of following through and getting orders out within the expected timeframes. This means having stores in the right locations, or well-managed warehouses with appropriate stock. You’ll also need couriers who can offer express services.

For these reasons, on-demand delivery is typically only realistic in metropolitan locations.

How does on-demand delivery work?

Functionally, on-demand delivery works in much the same way as the other delivery options you might offer as part of your shipping – and it all comes down to the technology and couriers.

  • 🖥️ Do you have the right systems in place? Does your shipping platform allow you to offer multiple delivery options at checkout? Can you assign orders to specific couriers based on conditions you set?
  • 🚚 Do you have the right mix of couriers? The key to making on-demand delivery work is having a reliable courier provider (or several) who can efficiently deliver your orders in the times you promise your customers. More on this below.

On-demand delivery – The key facts

  • ⏰ 61% of consumers prefer their packages within 1-3 hours, and the same % would also pay more for on demand delivery - Invesp Conversion Optimization Company Blog - Same-day-Delivery-2018
  • 📈 57% YoY growth of AUS ecommerce in 2020. Australians spent a record $50.46 billion online - Auspost E-Commerce Industry Report 2021
    YoY growth of AUS ecommerce in 2020. Australians spent a record $50.46 billion online.
  • 🚀 Timely delivery is increasingly important to online shoppers - McKinsey & Company, “Same-day delivery: Ready for takeoff,” January 2020
  • 💙 74% of surveyed consumers said same-day delivery increased their brand loyalty - DropOff.com Consumer Survey, March 2018.

What are the benefits of on-demand delivery?

Generally, on-demand delivery is about giving customers greater choice and control over how they receive their orders, which translates to greater loyalty and repeat business.

Benefits for customers
  • Customers have more control over the delivery date and timeframe.
  • Customers can choose the delivery location.

Benefits for businesses
  • Enhance your shipping delivery experience.
  • Improve customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Increase conversions at checkout.
  • Competitive advantage. A customer is more likely to go with a store who offers same-day delivery.
  • Develop your customer insights by better understanding when, where and in what timeframes customers want orders delivered.

"A large fashion retailer found their Friday orders were decreasing and when they explored why this was, they found their largest competitor started to offer same day delivery – which meant shoppers looking for the weekend would always pick their competitor "

Should you offer on-demand delivery? Factors to consider

If you’re a retailer, the next question is naturally: “Should I offer on-demand delivery?”. The answer to this one is a little more complicated.

While the answer from a customer standpoint is a resounding “yes”, you may need to do a little more investigation to determine how you might get set up for on-demand delivery without impacting your business – or your staff.

Here are the main factors to consider:


If you're looking at same-day or evening express, you’ll need to think carefully about where you’re able to implement an on-demand delivery services. Where do your customers live and work? Where are your warehouses or fulfilment centres? When starting out, it’s important to test in areas where you know you’ll be able to meet your stated delivery timeframes.


Someone offering high end clothing can afford to offer on demand shipping, but this might not be the best option if you’re selling items at a much lower price point.

Fulfillment processes

It’s time to review your current processes when it comes to getting an order out the door. What will need to change when you need to start getting orders ready for delivery on the same day, or on the weekend? Talk to your staff and discuss who’s responsible for picking and packing orders.

Consider also how you might need to adjust your processes to accommodate multiple pickups per day or moving from afternoon to morning pickups. Smart shipping solutions have a big part to play here.

Stakeholder buy-in

Getting on-demand delivery up and running takes by in from key stakeholders in the business, not just the eCommerce manager but also the operations teams.


Do you have the right delivery providers to execute your on-demand delivery strategy? You may need to consider adding a new courier provider, potentially one who specialises in on-demand delivery. We’ll explore some of these providers below.

How to get started with on-demand delivery – and be successful

There are several factors that go into a successful on-demand delivery strategy, and it all starts with the shipping platform.

Step 1: Put the technology in place

Setup your automated shipping and fulfilment platform and integrate it with your eCommerce platform (like Shopify) and the couriers you already use.

This system will act as the brains of your shipping operations, enabling you to manage the logistics of on-demand delivery without the stress. Starshipit, for example, lets you display different delivery options at checkout (like same day or overnight) and automatically assign orders to specific couriers or stores using smart rules.

You can also use this system to send out delivery notifications, direct customers to branded tracking pages and automatically process returns.

Step 2: Choose your couriers

With your shipping system in place, it’s time to look at your couriers. We support several couriers able to meet the needs of on-demand delivery.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the courier you choose for on-demand delivery – you may even find it useful to establish relationships with multiple couriers.

Top 7 on-demand delivery services for eCommerce retailers


Like Uber Eats, leverages Uber’s existing network of drivers-partners, letting businesses move goods quickly and efficiently between different locations or straight to customers. Uber also lets businesses list handling guidelines and outline different delivery preferences (for high-value items, as an example).

Customers can simply select Uber on-demand delivery on their website or app, and once the order is placed this is then sent out as a request and accepted by one of the delivery people in the network. The order is picked up and delivered as soon as possible.

Uber Direct also offers unique proof of delivery options to ensure that the order arrives safely with the customer, these include; signature, barcode scanning, PIN and ID scanning.


Rendr uses existing crowdsourced and professional delivery networks.

Delivery options: Fast (Delivery in 30 min – 3 hours), Flexible (Delivery Same Day) and Standard (Delivery Overnight/Interstate).

Australia Post

Australia Post also offers an on-demand service (in addition to their more standard services). It’s available in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. You can check specific postcode availability here.

Delivery options: On Demand Now, which aims to deliver within 3 hours from pickup and On Demand Tonight, which delivers between 6 and 9pm on the same day. There’s also a weekend option with On Demand Saturday, which will deliver between 1 and 6pm on Saturday.

DHL Express

DHL Express has a comprehensive range of on-demand delivery services.

Delivery options: In addition to their Same Day, Time-Sensitive and Day-Sensitive offerings, they’ve also got: DHL Express Service Point (allowing customers to collected from any DHL Express Service point), Signature Release, Schedule A New Delivery Date, Leave Package With A Neighbor, 30 Day Vacation Hold and Deliver To Another Address.

StarTrack Courier

StarTrack Courier offers secure, same-day delivery with several options.

Delivery options: Standard (Pick-up and delivery within 3-4 hours of booking), Express (Priority over standard), Immediate Priority (First available pick-up and priority delivery).


Zoom2u is available in Australia and, Like Uber and Rendr, connects you to a network of couriers/drivers.

Delivery options: Same Day delivery, 3 Hour delivery, Interstate (Same afternoon or the next morning), VIP delivery (The first available courier takes the parcel directly to the destination).


Sherpa is available in both Australia and New Zealand, with a host of options to suit different on-demand requirements.

Delivery options: 1-hour, 2-hour, 4-hour and same day delivery offerings.

Learn more about couriers offering on-demand delivery

Australia Post
DHL Express

How Starshipit integrates with on-demand delivery couriers

Successful on-demand delivery depends on two things: your couriers and your technology. Starshipit is an automated shipping platform that integrates directly with on-demand delivery couriers in just a few clicks, giving you one dashboard to flexibly manage your different couriers, reduce admin and save money.

Here are just a few of the ways Starshipit can set you up for on-demand delivery success:

  • Starshipit links with your eCommerce platform or inventory management system to automatically pull through orders and writeback information.
  • Starshipit can link to your platform and show on-demand options at checkout. You can configure the times in which the courier displays (i.e. hide the same-day option after 2pm) or hide it for customers based on location. You could also offer it for free when customers spend over a certain amount.
  • After an order has come through, you can then send out automated post-purchase customer notifications and use branded tracking pages to keep customers informed and reduce support queries.
Using the rules engine to create a seamless on-demand delivery process

Using the rules engine to create a seamless on-demand delivery process

Because Starshipit is an automated platform, you can also use the included rules engine to simplify your shipping. You can do things like split orders, assign couriers, set delivery options and more.

This makes it easy to offer on-demand delivery options while still offering your more standard shipping options. For example, you might set up a rule to only use Uber Direct for orders being sent within Sydney CBD but continue to use Australia Post and DHL Express for all other deliveries.

Wrap up

And that’s on-demand delivery! What can seem a complicated offering is quite simple when you pair the right shipping platform with a good mix of couriers. If you haven't yet tried Starshipit for yourself, take a 30-day free trial today.

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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