‘Next day’ officially became the most popular delivery choice for British online shoppers this August, according to the IMRG. For the first time in the history of the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, the percentage of orders using next day (36.7%) as the fulfilment option, pipped the long-running first choice, economy (33.8%). Online shoppers officially love next day. Retailers get this, and are making next day delivery a marketing tool in its own right. Click and collect is helping, and many retailers offer rapid delivery for high value baskets only. Others now differentiate themselves by offering this fast fulfilment as ‘standard’ with the price temptingly low enough to draw customers in.
Marketing is all about thinking up clever ways to drive conversions, and right now next day has that power. At Boohoo.com, special short-term ‘next day delivery for £1.99’ promotions pop up on the home page and in social media and young fashion fans’ eyes light up. They are far more likely to hit the buy button with money-saving delivery opportunities like that up for grabs. Who’d have thought delivery deals could get the nation’s hearts racing?
It’s not all glamour. Fast delivery does require meticulous behind the scenes inventory management and supply chain operations, and e-retailers and their courier partners have their work cut out to get it right. One of our eDelivery Conference speakers, Walter Blackwood is highly qualified to advise on this subject, and delegates who catch his presentation will hear valuable insights into what’s needed to make these kinds of fulfilment promises not just feasible, but profitable too.
Beware when next day doesn’t deliver
Blackwood makes the point that while offering fast delivery can delight customers and boost the brand, it can also disappoint when not executed well. “Precision is important – taking the time to get things exactly right, and that means testing and measuring results and improving all the time,” says Blackwood. “In this way you can minimise the chances of things going wrong, and ideally eliminate bad experiences being shared on social media channels. Retail brands are very exposed these days, with operational and customer service performance highly visible at each stage of the customer journey.”
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG, also has a warning. He says that while the move toward faster delivery doesn’t represent a capacity issue for carriers during most of the year, things can go awry at peaks. “During peaks such as the Black Friday period, promotion of next day delivery should be handled more cautiously,” he advises. So by all means jump on the next day marketing bandwagon, but proceed with care, and don’t undo all your good work in the run-up to Christmas, when stressed-out shoppers need a reliable service more than ever.
Elsewhere in eDelivery news…
Sainsbury’s is predicting its grocery deliveries in London will double by 2024 and has opened a new fulfilment centre in readiness. DHL has plans in place to increase their UK delivery rates by 4.9%, and Neil Ashworth of CollectPlus explains why the company is planning more shopping centre locations around the UK. We have a guest article from Richard Newbold, Managing Partner of Returnloads.net, looking at innovative ways that ecommerce could utilise HGVs, which often run empty on journey legs.
Finally I am saying goodbye to eDelivery for now, due to my own logistical challenges – Southern Railway being just one of them. I’m delighted to be leaving things in the capable hands of fellow business journalist Liz Morrell, who will be Interim Editor for the next few weeks, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to everyone who’s made my short time at eDelivery.net so enjoyable.
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Many thanks for reading!
- Main image – DPD press library