E-tail is booming, predicted to rise by 18.7% in Europe and 13.8% in the US during 2016 (Centre for Retail Research, 2015). Coupled with the ongoing convergence of on and offline retailing, it’s little surprise that consumer expectations concerning shipping options, as well as the associated customer service, have never been higher.
In the UK alone, 86% of consumers want time-slot delivery options at checkout, and 78% would like same-day delivery. Although 47% would even be willing to pay a premium for the latter, only 53% of UK retailers are currently fitting that bill (Temando, 2016). We review the new delivery opportunities inspiring brands to plug the expectation gap – regardless of channel.
- Extended Networks for Click & Collect: UK click-and-collect parcel hub service Doddle works with both retailers and parcel delivery companies. The membership-based programme has expanded its footprint with ‘Doddle Neighbour’ – a service that pays consumers to use their homes or offices as additional delivery and collection hubs.
Currently beta testing in central and south-west London, all ‘neighbours’ (satellite host hubs) must be Doddle members to participate. They can collect and return parcels on behalf of the business to main Doodle stations, which are based in bus and railway stations across the UK. Unique codes and ID numbers create a secure system.
- UberRush – Same-Day Delivery: Taxi giant Uber has transcended passenger transportation with an on-demand parcel delivery service. Launched in late 2015, UberRush uses the company’s logistic infrastructure and car fleet and also employs local bike couriers to deliver items.
Initially aimed at small, independent retailers, it has now partnered with US companies including Nordstrom, T-Mobile, 1800 Flowers, Rent the Runway and Google Express to offer same-day city-centre deliveries in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Through an API (application programming interface), an UberRush delivery option can be easily integrated into e-tail sites. Uber is currently charging an average delivery fee of $6 (£4.29) per consignment to brands.
- Concierge Culture: London-based delivery app Dropit aggregates orders – collecting solo purchasers’ orders from multiple brands and delivering them on the same day in one drop. Currently collaborating with retailers including Liberty, Gap, Jaeger, Karen Millen, Lacoste and River Island, shoppers pay Dropit a £10 ($14) flat fee per day for the service. The service aims to boost spending by allowing shoppers to keep browsing, unencumbered by bags.