Liz Morrell’s insight into changes in the delivery market.
Following the closure of its UK loyalty programme A-List ASOS says it will evolve its loyalty offering to be more global and to give focus to its Premier Delivery option, which it says its customers have said that they love. The number of premier customers, who pay £9.95 a year for unlimited next-day delivery, increased by 53% to 1.3 million for the year ended 31 August 2018.
Revealing its year-end results, ASOS said that delivery and distribution were key to its success and that is has made further improvements to the delivery proposition globally this year. That includes the launch of new delivery methods, promise improvements, extended cut-off times and improved coverage across the world.
The retail group launched same-day delivery into Birmingham and Berlin, and extended next day cut-off times for EU orders to 4pm. Click and collect was launched into Russia, with over 3,000 locations, and extended in Finland, Sweden and Poland.
Following a successful pilot in the first half, a new returns experience was rolled out to 18 countries globally in the second half of the year. This feature is integrated within ‘My Account’ and improves the returns experience by allowing sight and status tracking of returned orders as well as early payment of refunds.
ASOS is also continuing to invest in its Euro hub to bring efficiency levels closer to its UK Hub in Barnsley. It said the efficiency of the facility will improve significantly as it moves into the next financial year and that the phase two extension was progressing to plan with the automated storage system now more than 95% complete and testing and commissioning well underway. The retailer said good progress was also being made on the new warehouse management system which will be installed this year.
The financial year also saw the successful completion of phase one of ASOS’ new US hub in Atlanta which will enable it to access future delivery cost savings. The one million square foot warehouse in Atlanta is now live for both inbound and outbound despatch, with plans to ramp towards 100% local fulfilment for the US market.
Ocado Group has signed service and operational terms on its deal with Kroger, the US food retailer, it announced it was to work with in May.
The partnership will see Kroger order 20 customer fulfilment centres (CFC) in the first three years of the partnership. The CFCs will be developed and operated by Ocado. The first three are scheduled to go live around two years from now.
Ocado will install and maintain modules of Mechanical Handling Equipment (MHE) sufficient to provide an agreed level of throughput for the retailer. The location of the first three CFCs will be released by Kroger in the coming weeks,
Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions, said: “We are delighted to have signed this services agreement with Kroger which sets out the key parameters for our working relationship going forward.
The Kroger and Ocado teams have been working hard for some time to prepare for the opening of the first CFCs in the United States. We are very excited at the prospect of helping Kroger bring new services and value to its customers and transform the food retail market in the US”.
Alex Tosolini, Kroger’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, said: “This is a significant step toward both solidifying our partnership with Ocado and redefining the Kroger customer experience.”
Amazon Fashion has launched Prime Wardrobe in the UK, its try before you buy service which allows Prime customers to have fashion items delivered free of charge, try them on and only pay when they have decided what they want to keep. The service was launched in the US in June.
Customers can select from three to eight items for free delivery and with no upfront charge. Once they have received their order they have a week to decide what they want to keep and can return the rest for free using a resealable bag and prepaid label.
“Whether you want to try out some new wardrobe staples, the latest seasonal trends, or need new clothes for the family with the option to try multiple sizes, colours, and styles – Prime Wardrobe makes shopping at Amazon easier than ever,” said Susan Saideman, Vice President of Amazon Fashion Europe.
“Fit is an important factor when it comes to buying clothes and shoes, and with Prime Wardrobe, Amazon Prime members can try their purchases in the comfort of their own home at no extra cost,” said Xavier Garambois, Vice President of Amazon EU Retail.
Fashion brands available from the new Prime Wardrobe service include Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, Esprit, Miss Selfridge, Lacoste, Love Moschino, New Look, Aldo, Puma, Ted Baker, New Balance, LK Bennett, Vans and Pepe Jeans as well as Amazon’s private label fashion brands.
Waitrose & Partners is to become the UK’s first supermarket to trial the delivery of groceries to customers inside the home while customers are out.
The ‘While You’re Away’, service will initially be tested with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its dotcom fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London. If the trial is successful the retailer hopes to roll out the service to more than 1,000 customers in spring 2019.
Waitrose & Partners is partnering with Yale to use its smart lock technology, enabling the customer to grant access to a Waitrose delivery driver by setting a temporary access code for the lock which is then sent to Waitrose via a secure app. The code is then sent to the driver’s device at the time the customer has booked for the delivery and is deleted once the delivery is complete.
As well as delivering the products the drivers will also be tasked with putting refrigerated and frozen goods away and leaving other groceries on the kitchen counter, or where instructed by the customer. The whole delivery is captured on a chest-cam worn by the driver, with the video available for request for the customer the next working day.
The service will comprise a minimum order of £25 with a minimum of six orders initially due to the small trial sample. However this will be reviewed after the trial.
Archie Mason, Head of Business Development at Waitrose & Partners, said the move was the latest by the retailer to improve convenience for busy customers. “The concept of ‘in-home delivery’ has started to prove popular in other countries so we are keen to establish if there is an appetite for it in the UK.”
The grocer has also launched a two-hour and same-day delivery service as part of a new trial with On the dot. The ‘Waitrose Rapid Delivery’ service is available in eight London postcodes where customers will be able to choose up to 20 items from a curated selection of 1,500 products at rapid.waitrose.com.
Superdry has worked with software company Consignor in order to consolidate its logistics IT systems. The clothing company can now manage all movements of its goods between its distribution centres, stores and customers on a single platform. The project has included integrating Consignor’s software with that of Superdry’s warehouse management system provider JDA at Superdry’s Europe and US distribution centres.
The company has added 40 carrier services to its offering.
In addition, Superdry has made use of Consignor’s “Shipping Rules” option, which allows it to automate rules in order to pick the optimal delivery method for each shipment. It has also increased visibility for customers using click and collect, as well as digitised customs documentation for international shipments.
Gordon Knox, Logistics Director, Superdry, said: “Consignor is the right fit for our business, as they are agile and able to respond to our brand’s ever-changing business needs, provide a stable and scalable solution with access to the carriers that we want to work with.
“Moreover, Consignor has the appetite to develop new concepts and ideas with us. These are all important factors for us, as our strategy is to become a global digital brand through digital supply chains and operational excellence.”
Yodel is to launch a seven-day service in the spring, its latest innovation to come about as a result of the company using its customer insight to drive innovation in the final mile. The company has also announced the launch of Inflight, following a pilot over the summer. It will be rolled out in full in the New Year and allows customers to change their delivery instructions up to an hour before the delivery is due.
UPS has expanded its My Choice delivery update service to 96 additional countries and territories, expanding on the 16 in which the company initially introduced the service. UPS My Choice updates customers on their delivery status and allows them the option of inflight change.
Meanwhile, DHL Supply Chain has opened a new multi-user, multi-purpose 11-acre warehouse in Avonmouth in Bristol. The regional distribution centre features a choice of storage conditions that include 120,000sq ft of ambient chambers and 35,000sq ft of temperature-controlled sheds, including frozen, chilled and fixed temperature chambers.
Hermes has opened a new purpose-built parcel distribution depot at Prologis Park in Hemel Hempstead and created 50 new jobs at the 80,000 sq ft depot. The depot is the equivalent in size of 11 football pitches and can process more than 130,000 parcels each day for distribution across London and the Midlands. Its launch follows the opening of a £31m Midlands Super Hub in Rugby last year.