September Message from Board Chair Scott Parrish

Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019

OBI members,

For the last few years, it’s been clear that a new day has dawned for retail. Customers no longer feel they have to go into stores: Virtually everything can get delivered to our homes, sometimes the same day we order it, and if we feel like driving to the store, we can opt for ordering online and picking up our merchandise at the curb.

Customers have made it clear they want these options. A National Retail Federation report from the beginning of this year found 60% of surveyed consumers expect free standard shipping, 58% expect to be able to buy online and 55% expect speedy or simplified checkout.

OBI’s members are at the forefront of this retail revolution.

Amazon started one-day shipping in June and is rolling it out across the country. The move cuts the former two-day delivery time in half for Prime members. The online shopping giant’s AmazonFresh can deliver the same day and PrimeNow can deliver within two hours.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has found a niche in grocery sales while expanding to apparel and shoes. By January 2020, it will have in-store grocery pickup at 3,100 stores and deliver from 1,600 “dedicated logistics centers.” In Oregon Walmart already delivers groceries in Beaverton, Eugene, Hillsboro, Portland, Sherwood, Springfield and Wood Village within the same day. It also offers store pickup and pickup at FedEx offices. And grocery pickup is available at 23 locations in Oregon.

Target’s Shipt program gives members same day delivery, and there’s drive-up service for customers who want it. And Best Buy is preparing for the holiday season by aiming to reach 50 million people with next-day delivery.

All those deliveries mean more vehicles on the road. And that means we need to stay on top of investments in Oregon’s transportation infrastructure. We were glad to see discussions about replacing the antiquated I-5 Bridge revived. That segment of the interstate includes the only stop light for the entirety of Interstate 5, from Canada to Mexico, and it is a major choke point for freight and passenger cars alike. The bridge needs to be modernized, with non-car passenger options like light rail and bike lanes, to make it 21st Century infrastructure.

OBI’s new Transportation Committee will track the I-5 Bridge discussions, as well as other transportation issues. If you’d like to be part of those discussions, contact Sharla Moffett. And the excellent Oregon Retail Council, operated by OBI, tracks issues critical to healthy retail options, on-line and in stores. If you would like to participate in those discussions, please contact Mike Stober.

I’m excited about the new world of retail, but our infrastructure and expectations have to keep up with the change. OBI will stay at the forefront of these discussions, and we appreciate your engagement.