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Online deliveries continue to grow, but alternative methods are still to break through

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Online deliveries grew by a fifth in May, according to the latest IMRG research. But while deliveries are continuing to grow fast, it seems many UK consumers have yet to learn about alternative delivery methods such as lockerbanks and third-party collection points, a Venda report found.

The IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index Report found that deliveries in the month were 20% up on the same time last year, and 5.2% up on the previous month, of April.

It said the figures confirmed its previous forecasts that UK carriers would handle 930m parcels for UK etailers this year, of which around 160m orders would be for non-UK shoppers.

UK average order values were at their highest since May 2013, while the value of orders being ships beyond the UK stood at £55 for EU destinations and £61 for those that went further afield. The report detected a “significant” increase in cross-border orders on last year, although the proportion of all UK parcels that are being shipped overseas held steady.

Some 60% of parcels were delivered using economy services, but Click & Collect volumes are expected to rise.

The figures came as new research from commerce solutions business Venda suggested emerging types of delivery, such as lockers run by retailers including Amazon and Waitrose (pictured) and locker companies including ByBox and InPost, as well as third-party collection that allow consumers to pick up from or return to their local shop or petrol station, run by companies from Collect+ to Hermes and UPS Access Points, had yet to enter the consciousness of many UK consumers.

The Venda report says while the number of parcels sent using such alternative delivery methods is rising, with Collect+ sending 13.6m purchases in the last year, some 73% of UK people had yet to try any of them out. The main reason for that, the research found, was that they didn’t know of a convenient pick-up point or locker near them (38%), or they’d never heard of the services before taking the survey (25%).

On the upside, 19% said they’d like to try them, or were actively planning to.

Of the one in five (22%) that had used an alternative method to receive their goods, 62% said they would use it again. Some 48% of those who had tried alternative deliveries said the service was fast and convenient, while 6% said they wouldn’t ever want to use one again. Meanwhile, 36% of those who had tried such services said they would be more likely to spend with a retailer that did offer them, while 45% said all online retailers should make them available.

There were also signs of higher potential uptake amongst the young: over 39% said they’d be willing to pay a higher delivery rate for such options, but the figure rose to 48% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

“Given that speed and convenience of delivery is a prevalent concern for online shoppers,” said Eric Abensur, group chief executive of Venda, “it’s not surprising that many are keen to try out these new services that promise to be faster and easier. It’s thanks to the rise of the ‘I want it now’ consumers that pureplay ecommerce brands and multi-channel high street retailers alike face a continued challenge over just how to get their goods into shoppers’ hands quickly and efficiently. Fulfillment is something that all retailers with an online presence should put at the head of their ecommerce strategy, as without a fast and efficient way to get purchases into consumers’ hands, they could end up losing revenue.”

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