On-demand convenience has reached new heights, as 7-Eleven has bested Amazon and Google in making the first drone delivery to a customer’s home in the US.
The delivery took place in Reno, Nevada, on July 10 and consisted of Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and candy.
Since the convenience store chain that boasts about 10,800 stores in North America teamed with startup Flirtey, the two have completed a total of 77 deliveries.
“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said 7‑Eleven EVP and CMO Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkin, in a press release. “This delivery marks the first time a retailer has worked with a drone delivery company to transport immediate consumables from store to home.”
In the future, he added, “We plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes. Our customers have demanding schedules, are on-the-go 24/7 and turn to us to help navigate the challenges of their daily lives. We look forward to working with Flirtey to deliver to our customers exactly what they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”
“Flirtey’s goal is to make delivery instant, and in the process create jobs at home for hardworking Americans and veterans,” said Flirtey CEO Matthew Sweeny, in a press release. “This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey’s instant store-to-door drone delivery.”
Flirtey was the first brand to conduct an US Federal Aviation Administration-approved delivery in the US, the first to perform a fully autonomous drone delivery to a home and the first to launch a commercial drone delivery service.
Flirtey builds its own drones and develops the software to run them, along with proprietary packaging and containers to keep items secure.
The 77 deliveries were completed, on average, less than 10 minutes after the order was placed, and deliveries happened within the line of sight of the drone pilot, required by law, but the drones flew autonomously.
“While 7-Eleven is thought of as a brick-and-mortar franchise, the company does actually allow online ordering and delivery through services like Postmates, Tapingo and others,” noted TechCrunch. “Drones would comprise a futuristic expansion of 7-Eleven’s delivery business.”
As drones enter the commercial delivery market, the FAA is expected to enact new rules allowing the operation of small, unmanned aircraft in the national airspace.
Competitors such as Alphabet’s Project Wing and Amazon’s Prime Air lag behind 7-Eleven.
Sweeny marked the milestone as “a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand.”