The newly published DeliveryX Top1000 Europe 2023 report – which aims to illustrate the progress made by leading retailers in prioritising their supply chain operations, logistics, and the last mile – has highlighted how retailers are keeping up with consumer delivery expectation.
The various pandemic lockdowns resulted in consumers across Europe becoming accustomed to home delivery. During Covid-19, shoppers turned to online retailers ordering a range of products straight to their doorsteps, and this is a trend that will never completely reverse, even years later.
The pandemic-fuelled ecommerce boom also changed how consumers viewed the standard 3-5 days delivery times, suddenly this was no longer sufficient. Retailers and their carrier partners have raced to keep up with expectations.
Next-day delivery is now available from 30% of European retailers, but there is also a small growing number now offering same-day delivery.
Supermarkets are the most likely retailers to offer same-day delivery, but we are seeing a growing number of beauty brands teaming up with rapid delivery start-ups to offer the service.
There may be limitations to this fast delivery service as many operators rely on e-bikes and cargo bikes. This will both impact where products can be delivered same-day, with urban centres coming out on top of more rural locations, and will also limit the size and weight of products.
Speed isn’t everything and convenient delivery times remain popular with online shoppers, and, of course, successful delivery is key. As consumers ourselves, we have all experienced the frustration of that “missed you” delivery card.
It is encouraging to see the high level of first time delivery success across Europe. In Switzerland 99.7% of deliveries are successful on the first attempt. This is more impressive when looking at the volumes with 194mn parcels delivered to all regions of Switzerland last year by national postal service Swiss Post alone.
Retailer Zalando, which sits within the Top100 retailers and features in a case study in the report, even trialled evening deliveries with Swiss Post to ensure consumers received their parcel first time. Furthermore, these evening deliveries are made exclusively by bicycles and e-vehicles, which are optimised for urban logistics.
While delivery successes across Europe appear successful, what can be done to limit those 5% failed deliveries in the UK, 9% in France and 11% in Norway? Some retailers are turning to Out of Home delivery options, including Pickup and Dropoff (PUDO) networks, while others are looking to drive footfall to physical stores with click and collect options.
According to RetailX’s Europe Top1000 research, 46% of retailers offered collections in 2023, a rate up 6pp on last year and a service most commonly offered by pharmacies (67%), hobby retailers (58%) and those selling automotive supplies and books (both 56%).
Collection is most often available from Top1000 retailers selling to the UK (55%), followed by Luxembourg (46%) and Romania (42%), while there’s been a rise in availability in Iceland (+10pp to 18%).
Offering collections in store has proved a huge success for UK electronics retailer Currys. The retailer reported order and collect sales are up more than 170%, often supplemented by the face-to-face assistance and advice available through its 24/7 video shopping service Shop Live.
For those retailers without a physical store, the roll out of automated parcel lockers has proven an effective collection offering. This year, the number of unique parcel locations in Europe reached 120,390, marking a 51% increase compared to 2021.
Furthermore, Europe’s smart parcel delivery locker market is expected to grow further to be worth $531mn by 2028 (a CAGR of 13.9%). This may be driven by retailers offering PUDO options at checkout, but it will also be helped by the growing trend of consumer-to-consumer delivery.
In 2022, Europe’s largest online C2C marketplace Vinted, which allows buyers and sellers to trade second-hand fashion online, signed a pan-European deal with the locker provider InPost Group. The partnership gives Vinted customers access to 35,000 delivery points across eight markets.
The marketplace also introduced its own PUDO offering last June. Vinted Go covers 220,000 PUDO points across Europe, and enables members to send and receive pre-loved items from one another affordably, conveniently and in some cases, due to the focus on PUDO, with a lower carbon impact than home delivery.
This feature originally appears in the DeliveryX Top1000 Europe 2023 report, download it in full to discover:
- 32 pages of concise data-driven insight, that delves into how leading retailers are succeeding in the supply chain, logistics and delivery/returns experience so you can learn from this information
- 15 company profile case studies including KPI comparisons – benefit from the industry’s best as they share their success stories and innovative strategies. Includes: M&S, H&M, Aldi, Albert Heijn, Lego, Asda, Sephora, Zalando, New Look, Seasalt, Zara, Decathlon, Castorama, Amazon and La Redoute