Value of Autonomous Last-mile Delivery: Evidence from Alibaba

33 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2024

See all articles by Brian Rongqing Han

Brian Rongqing Han

Gies College of Business, UIUC

Meng Li

University of Houston - Department of Decision & Information Sciences

Yanan Zhang

Shanghai Jianqiao University

Peng Li

Cainiao Network

Date Written: February 17, 2024

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on consumer responses to autonomous last-mile delivery, drawing on Alibaba's recent implementation. We leverage customer-level data from last-mile stations over three years, employing a difference-in-differences approach combined with dynamic matching to estimate the impact of adopting autonomous delivery on order quantities. Our estimation shows that autonomous delivery increases order quantities by 21.4% compared with self-pickup. Based on a similar analysis for human delivery, we examine several comparative advantages of autonomous delivery in terms of delivery speed, delivery quantity distribution (by hour of day), and delivery quality. Overall, our analysis shows that the value of autonomous delivery is due to both "autonomous'' and "delivery.'' Our findings provide guidance for platform companies, employees, and governmental agencies when deciding to implement autonomous technology in the last mile.

Keywords: retailing, last-mile delivery, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, difference-in-differences

Suggested Citation

Han, Brian Rongqing and Li, Meng and Zhang, Yanan and Li, Peng, Value of Autonomous Last-mile Delivery: Evidence from Alibaba (February 17, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4730263 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4730263

Brian Rongqing Han (Contact Author)

Gies College of Business, UIUC ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Meng Li

University of Houston - Department of Decision & Information Sciences ( email )

United States

Yanan Zhang

Shanghai Jianqiao University ( email )

Peng Li

Cainiao Network ( email )

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