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Opinion: Using delivery to maximise growth opportunities in a difficult retail environment


When looking to grow a retail business a focus on delivery processes can help, according to Neil Cotty, CEO of Global Freight Solutions.

It’s no secret that the retail sector, particularly the high-street, has faced significant disruption over the past few years. As technology continues to develop, and our lives get busier, more of us are turning to online channels to make our purchases. Brand loyalty is becoming less prevalent and there is a greater focus on the ease of access to goods and flexible delivery options.

Although on the surface it may seem like doom and gloom for retailers, the truth is that although customer attitudes towards shopping may be changing, they’re still looking to spend money and buy products.

For example, in the summer’s spate of hot weather, Global Freight Solutions saw a buck in the trend, shipments across retailers in the garden furniture category actually increased by 51% between May-July 2018, compared to the same period last year.

This goes to show that despite initial research speculating that the retail sector is in decline, and the hot weather was impacting overall sales, retailers in the outdoor furniture market, equipped with the right delivery technology and armed with a strong ecommerce strategy actually thrived. So what elements do retailers need to deliver on?

Flexibility of delivery

With lifestyles busier than ever, customers are increasingly seeing flexibility as one of the main reasons to make a purchase. Whereas previously, businesses could rely on their brand advocates for support, even during the most turbulent of retail climates, now customers are far more fickle in their loyalty.

Businesses looking to maximise sales and tap into growth opportunities need to offer the widest choice possible at the point of checkout and let the customer choose the delivery option that best suits them. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than knowing their product is not able to be delivered at a time that’s convenient for them. They’ll quickly pivot to a competitor if they can’t access the products they demand on their terms.

Communication of parcel progress

Providing better flexibility however is not enough, brands need to make sure that they have a logistical process in place which provides customers with ongoing communication so they know exactly where their parcel is at each stage of the delivery journey.

Giving the customer a seamless delivery experience from checkout to doorstep can have a dramatic effect on cart abandonment rates and customer retention rates. Our customer Mamas & Papas specifically has seen a reduced cart abandonment rate and satisfied customers who are 3x more likely to purchase again due to a seamless delivery experience. It’s therefore critical that brands have a system in place which enables total visibility of delivery.

In our 24/7 connected world, customers are constantly engaging with their smart devices. To that end, brands need to make sure that any logistical processes are fully integrated across all of these devices, reassuring individuals that they can check in and receive real-time updates at any point of the delivery process.

Integration of delivery throughout the business

When offering a flexible delivery process, multiple areas across the business will need to be upgraded. Whether it’s the website, IT, warehouse, customer care etc, you’ll need a system in place which is able to meet demand and provide the processes your customers expect.

Having an integrated set of Enterprise Carrier Management (ECM) tools in place across those areas will give greater control and efficiency across delivery operations and carrier management. This means while your business is trying to grow and scale across different channels & continents they can do so with greater ease and efficiency.

By implementing a carrier management process that provides greater flexibility to the customer, enables greater communication, and is backed by an integrated logistical structure, brands can focus on growth and development.

Neil Cotty, CEO of Global Freight Solutions

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