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How to keep pace in the new logistics landscape

Ahead of his speech at the eDelivery Expo on 25 March, MetaPack’s Kees de Vos explains how retailers can exceed the demands of the modern consumer.

There’s no getting away from it: delivery is in vogue. 2014 was the biggest year for deliveries on record with over 920 million parcels delivered. For retailers, this boom has been filled with both pitfall and possibility. The enormous volumes of stock sold over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and the Christmas period were hugely profitable for some, but challenged other retailers when their stocks and IT systems did not meet the expectations of the consumer and the delivery promise.

For the successful retailers, fulfilment played a pivotal role. As many as 95% of consumers say a positive delivery experience would encourage them to shop more with that retailer in the future. It is becoming clear that keeping pace in the new logistics landscape is utterly dependent on providing the right sort of service to keep retail customers happy. This approach will allow retailers to adapt to the new climate and continue to be successful.

Differentiation and agility

In today’s evolved digital landscape, the retail industry is increasingly looking to introduce new delivery methods and schemes to improve the delivery experience for consumers. From one-hour slots to 90 minute deliveries, lockers, click and commute and of course the much publicised drones, retailers need to be ready to implement change quickly to meet consumer demand. Differentiation through delivery is fast becoming a key battleground in the retail landscape.

Loyalty

Loyalty is becoming the true marker of success. Delivery is a key way in which retailers can build brand trust and reward their customers. The promise of faster delivery has worked for Amazon: now a third of Amazon customers use the Prime scheme where they pay in advance for delivery privileges. Likewise Asos have seen great results since implementing their ‘Premier’ service, allowing customers to use free next day delivery for a year and creating a generation of brand ambassadors and loyal repeat customers.

Costs

Costs can also be leveraged in other ways. The challenge retailers face is how to provide a high level of service whilst keeping the bottom line costs from flying out of control. This is no easy feat to achieve when considering the high expectations of consumers, who want it all for the lowest price possible. The areas then to focus on are the warehouse, where efficiency can be improved immensely through implementing up-to-date, flexible technology to streamline services and provide much needed contingency. An excellent first-time delivery rate really helps to make consumers feel that they are getting great value for money in addition to improving the chance of repeat purchase.

While delivery remains a key growth accelerator for business, retailers need to be doing everything in their power to be ready to take on the challenges of 2015 especially as we and the IMRG are forecasting record delivery volumes.

These will be just some of the topics I’m covering at the eDelivery Expo on 25 March, register now to hear more.