As promised, our review of the MetaPackDelivery Conference 2015 is ongoing so buckle up for the second installment. If you missed out on seeing the Delivery Innovation Stream, we can catch you up on what was said.
Nick Landon, Managing Director at Royal Mail, Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD, Martijn De Lange, Operations Director at Hermes, and Dick Stead, Executive Chairman at Yodel, combined their industry knowledge to discuss the necessary changes that will need to be made if customer expectations are to be met. The key focus that we got from these collective talks was that more delivery options had to become available for consumers soon. In this age of coffee-sipping, no-time-to-waste busy folk, it seems surprising that flexibility is only just being considered as a major factor in delivery options. But the masses have spoken, and it’s time for retailers and carriers to up their game.
According to Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters statistics, 83% of online shoppers now buy from marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. As such, this year 63% of small-to-medium online retailers plan to increase the number of channels they trade through, with 1 in 4 UK based SMEs planning to increase their use of marketplaces. That said, if online retailers are now tapping into a bigger market, they need to make sure that their warehouse systems can scale accordingly. This means having 100% accurate stock figures across all platforms, efficient picking methods, and easy returns. Availability and delivery options are the top 2 reasons for basket abandonment, and 72% of online shoppers say that they would not shop at the same retailer again if they had a bad returns experience.
So what are customers looking for in delivery options? All the customer ever really wants is for their online journey to be simple and convenient, from browsing the website to receiving their order. According to Dick Stead, most customers would choose reliable delivery over speed. If a delivery is delayed, it is the responsibility of the retailer to be proactive and inform the customer of when the new date will be.
Pulling at a similar thread, 96% of consumers say they’ve needed to amend delivery details after putting an order in. Two of the leading carriers at the event, DPD and Hermes, spoke of a solution to this problem with their development of in-flight delivery software. It has nothing to do with actual flying, though it is almost as good as the complimentary peanuts. In-flight delivery software is all about handing control back to the consumer. Busy at work when the driver informs you he’s half an hour away? Let him know to reschedule. Got to pop out for an hour but you’re expecting your delivery soon? Inform the driver and he can try you again later. Better yet, all of this can be actioned from your mobile phone via an app. Convenience in its simplest form.
But what about those who work long hours during the week and spend their weekends with the Ramblers in the Lake District? They’re never going to be around for a delivery to their door so the Click and Collect (C&C) option is probably going to be a lot more convenient. According to the Barclays Last Mile Report 38% of retailers expect C&C to grow in terms of usage more so than any other delivery method. From the broad view, it seems that C&C benefits all parties more so than any other method. For the retailer, it means delivering to a single location that, beyond any unexpected circumstances, will definitely be able to accept the parcel. For the consumer, they get to pick a participating store near to them to accept their delivery while they’re out. So, the customers rambling in the Lake District can choose to have their brand new hiking boots delivered to a newsagents somewhere near the start of their walk. Winner.
The idea of C&C fits into what Martijn De Lange, Hermes, referred to as a 7-day multi-channel network. The logic behind this is that a customer has delivery options spanning from Monday to Sunday and using courier services to drop a parcel at home, in a safe place, with a neighbour etc, or using the C&C service to collect their parcel from the retailing store or a local shop. Ultimately, all of these options provide the consumer with more choice than a packet of Skittles, and that really is all they want.
Make sure you keep up with our review of the MetaPack Delivery Conference 2015. If you missed our highlights you can catch up here.