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IRX 2012: PREVIEW: Interview with Tom Allason of Shutl

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In our latest preview of one of our major events of the year, Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2012), we have an interview with Tom Allason, founder and chief executive of online delivery specialist Shutl. He will be speaking in the IRX Enterprise Conference on March 21, the first day of the free-to-attend two-day event. We asked him why he sees delivery as a battlefield.

Delivery as it stands is “very very flawed” and “the single greatest challenge facing ecommerce today,” according to Tom Allason, chief executive of Shutl. The problem retailers face is simple, he believes. He sums it us as: “Not being able to get your online shopping delivered to you at home when you need it.”

Rather, he says, courier companies are delivering at a time that is convenient for them rather than for the end consumer. That results in failed deliveries and makes it harder for traders to persuade customers to buy in the first place.

“Two thirds of consumers that drop out of checkouts once they’ve started to build their basket, cite the cost or convenience of delivery as a reason,” says Allason. He adds: “Ninety per cent of online shoppers when asked what their single greatest frustration with buying online is, cite delivery as that frustration. From my point of view, solving the problems that exist with delivery – primarily convenience, immediacy, price – is the single greatest step that a retailer can take to make their online business more profitable.”

What he sees as the failure of delivery businesses to achieve convenient shopping has resulted in a number of solutions that Allason sees merely as workarounds to this problem. They range from Collect+, with its network of convenience store pick-up and drop-off points, to delivery-to-locker company ByBox.

Allason argues that delivery is important to retailers because it’s the last interaction they have with their customers. It’s also a key way that they can differentiate themselves from the competition, in a world where delivery can be “the determining factor.”

“It is without a doubt the single most popular tool that a retailer has to drive online conversion and obviously profitability,” says Allason. “That’s kind of why I think delivery is so important and why it will be a battlefield.”

Tom Allason, chief executive of Shutl, will be speaking at IRX 2012. His presentation will be in the Enterprise Conference at 1.30pm on March 21.

Entrance to IRX 2012, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 21 and 22, is free. More than 4,000 visitors are expected at the event, which features an exhibition of 150 suppliers to the ecommerce and multichannel industries alongside a two-day learning programme, Selling in the Digital Age.

The programme features four conferences, dedicated to Mobile and Social Commerce, Fast Track, Enterprise and Customer Experience, as well as a series of workshops, learning sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology.

News from suppliers showing at IRX 2012

• Intershop has launched its next generation ecommerce platform Intershop 7. The platform is designed to support “every aspect of multichannel business today and into the future.” It supports on-demand innovation, allowing retailers to add on their own unique features and tools. Its own features include A/B testing, a promotions engine and easy-access storefront editing features.

Henry Goettler, member at the board of management at Intershop, said: “Intershop 7 is an industry game-changer; enabling commerce teams to configure web sites, campaigns or test variations rather than programming them or have them programmed. Thus, the commerce team has complete control of the online business any time, can act quickly and effectively to respond to today’s fast changing market conditions and can drive their business holistically across channels. Intershop 7 makes the future of e-commerce start now.”

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