Close this search box.

GUEST COMMENT Retailers can’t ignore consumers’ desire for more convenient delivery 

Image © Shutterstock

When retail delivery experiences fail to meet customer expectations it can be costly. If an order turns up late or not at all, most consumers are put off from shopping with that retailer again.

Caroline Varga, head of Uber Direct UK & Ireland

Ensuring parcels arrive on time is a basic standard when it comes to delivery. Increasingly, however, consumers also want retailers to provide more convenient services that fit around their lifestyle, writes Caroline Varga, head of Uber Direct UK & Ireland.

This often includes a need for speed. Uber Direct’s recent research has shown that this is now an important consideration in many product categories. For instance, more than three-quarters of consumers say they want pharmacists and florists to provide them with ‘on-demand’ delivery offerings when ordering online – with two-thirds saying the same for groceries and pet supplies.

Consumers crave immediacy
When it comes to medicine, flowers or food, it’s not hard to imagine why shoppers want these items to come as soon as possible. These aren’t the only product categories where consumers crave immediacy though.

Interest in rapid delivery is also high for products such as electronics and jewellery, where there is often a sense of anticipation that leaves people feeling like they cannot wait. In fact, out of 18 different product categories, more than half of consumers said they wanted the option to order on-demand in all but two categories. 

Furthermore, 41% said they would be more willing to buy from retailers that offered a delivery service within two hours. 

Convenience is crucial
It’s not all about having everything now, however. Consumers, who are leading busy lives, also want the option to select specific times for their parcels to arrive. Almost two-thirds said they are not prepared to wait at home for deliveries – with more than half saying they want retailers to provide 60 minute slots on next-day delivery.

The good news for retailers is that consumers are increasingly willing to pay for faster, more convenient delivery services. This is especially true when it comes to younger shoppers, in the Gen Z (18-26 year olds) and Millennial (27-42 year olds) age groups. For instance, around two-thirds (69% and 64% respectively) said they would be willing to pay a premium to receive same-day delivery. 

Some retailers, most notably major supermarkets, are already successfully providing these services to their customers. If merchants across other retail sectors are to catch up, many will need to upgrade their existing logistics operations. 

Evolving logistics operations
If they want to provide the precision or responsiveness that customers crave, retailers can’t continue to rely solely on a system where hundreds of parcels are loaded onto the back of a van at a time. The major supermarkets have tackled that challenge by partnering with national courier networks that also support restaurants and takeaways.

These networks can now benefit many different retailers, supplementing their delivery options on a white-label basis. But to take advantage of this, a merchant also needs to have a distribution base close to the end customer. 

Major retailers and local community stores that have a high street presence have an advantage as their stock is already close to consumers. However, pure play online retailers, that rely on a small number of national distribution centres, may need to adapt their distribution networks more significantly– if they want to have any chance of satisfying consumer demand.

As more retailers follow the lead of the major supermarkets, by giving customers access to faster, more convenient delivery and returns, consumer expectations will grow. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes the norm. As such, retailers should be reviewing their logistics operations now to evaluate what will be required to provide these offerings sooner rather than later.

Caroline Varga, head of Uber Direct UK & Ireland

Read More

Register for Newsletter

Group 4 Copy 3Created with Sketch.

Receive 3 newsletters per week

Group 3Created with Sketch.

Gain access to all Top500 research

Group 4Created with Sketch.

Personalise your experience on