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Ensuring successful summer deliveries


The arrival of the British summertime means longer days and the hope of warmer weather, spurring many shoppers into action – especially those who have neglected their gardens over the winter months. Stuart Godman, chief strategy officer at DX, warns that with the rate of online orders for new garden furniture and BBQs beginning to rise, it is important that logistics firms work very closely with their retail customers to ensure those retailers are able to provide the standards of service that today’s consumers expect, from the point of sale all the way through to the arrival of the item itself.

Stuart Godman, DX

Stuart Godman, DX

Meeting consumers’ needs and demands in all of these different areas is paramount. In order to achieve this goal, logistics providers need to ensure that retailers are educating their customers about the different options available for their summer deliveries.

Managing expectations

Customers increasingly expect to have a choice when it comes to arranging delivery, so offering a single ‘standard’ delivery option is no longer enough. Instead, there needs to be a range of options on offer, including next-day delivery, free delivery upon spending a certain amount, tracked delivery, and delivery requiring a signature for valuable items. With the British summer notoriously short, online shoppers are also looking for speedy dispatch and delivery – as well as regular updates throughout the process, across several modes of communication.

Many customers shop online in order to avoid the hassle of having to bring home heavy or bulky items and drag them into the garden themselves. The problem, however, is that many customers fail to consider the implications of the delivery option they’ve selected, which can lead to frustration and disappointment on the day. The default option for most retailers normally involves a single courier who will typically leave the delivery at the doorstep – or with a neighbour, if the homeowner is absent. Whilst this approach may be appropriate for a small package, this would clearly not be ideal for a complete set of garden furniture or a granite birdbath.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the pros and cons of the different delivery options on offer. Most customers simply tend to opt for the cheapest, no frills option – but this isn’t always the best choice. It is therefore up to retailers to clearly highlight what different delivery options include – and do not include – from the outset.

Delivering on those expectations

For example, along with different date and time options, customers should be given the choice between 1-man and 2-man deliveries, and provided with a clear specification and cost options for each.

It is clear that 2-man deliveries will be a much better choice in some cases. With the 2-man service, couriers are normally insured to deliver items to a specific location within the house – or garden – rather than leaving them at the doorstep. Needless to say, no-one likes to pay above the odds if they can avoid it, but if benefits like these are made clear at the point of sale, consumers may consider it worth a little extra to get the exact service they require.

Education on both sides is a must if retailers are to meet customers’ expectations this summer; retailers need to understand what services are available from their delivery partner – and customer needs to have all of the relevant details of their delivery options, including transparent pricing for each.

By working closely with their logistics teams in this way, retailers can ensure their customers are receiving the exact service they require. As a result, customers will have a positive shopping experience from start to finish, leading to increased customer loyalty and a stronger brand for the retailer.

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