With peak now beginning to hit, delivery and fulfilment firms face a major challenge over the next few weeks – delivering on the promise of convenience for the customers of the retailers they serve.
It’s become a key selling point for retailers – the ability to get goods to their customers when and how they want them. And, in these coming weeks in particular, enabling that convenience – especially as stores start to fill up with early Christmas shoppers – is vital to ensuring happy, satisfied customers who return to retailers’ websites again and again.
In a guest piece from Patrick Gallagher, CEO of CitySprint brand On the dot, Gallagher talks of the “great responsibility” of offering great convenience – and the importance of getting the delivery experience just right.
He provides some valuable points which should help retailers large and small ensure they are truly delivering customer satisfaction along with their parcels this peak season. They range from making delivery part of the customer experience to offering flexibility and – most importantly perhaps – being realistic.
Don’t over-promise and under-deliver
It’s often all too easy for retailers and their delivery partners to over-promise and under-deliver but guess what, customers retailers and their partners aren’t superheroes so being honest and open is as key when it comes to delivery.
Majestic Wine this week revealed it has revamped its delivery options with the opening of a national fulfilment centre to handle around 40% of its online deliveries which previously went through stores. The company has also scrapped its six-bottle minimum order value for online orders and revamped its returns policy too.
At Debenhams it seems customers are both interested in great service and great delivery and equally are happy to pay for it too. The company, which reported its full year results last week, said that customers are increasingly taking up premium delivery options – a trend that is by consequence increasing the profitability of the online channel.
Increasing delivery options
Click and collect has also increased in popularity for the department store giant, up 35% year on year and now accounting for nearly a third of online order fulfilment. It expects the service to be equally popular during the peak season after it hit a 46% high last Christmas.
In order to keep its customers happy and increase their options for delivery online fashion retailer Miss Pap has announced it’s the latest retailer to partner with locker specialist InPost UK, in order to offer free delivery and returns and the ability for its customers to collect their orders 24/7 at their convenience – something that is likely to be even more appreciated during peak.
Another company preparing for peak is DPD. The courier firm has invested £10 million in a new distribution centre and four new depots as it prepares for the Christmas period in which it expects to see planned parcel volumes rise by 20% this year. It expects journey times to be improved as a result of the new facilities and will create an initial 105 new jobs from the expansion.
Retailers need, as ever, to be doing all they can to control costs. Recent analysis of Q3 container shipping costs showed an initial fall in costs thanks to a variety of factors but prices are likely to rise longer term though uncertainty is rife in the market currently.
Retailers are also wary of the implications on orders of Brexit. New figures from IMRG suggests that the volume of orders going cross-border has slowed again this month – although it’s still up on last year. The figures also showed increasing numbers of orders going to non-EU destinations in the last 12 months when previously the majority had gone to EU destinations.
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Image credit: Pixabay