Today’s shoppers demand a personalised and connected customer experience, from first browse to final delivery. Retailers are expected to remember personal details, recognise and reward loyalty, and put the customer’s convenience first.
In turn, retailers have realised that excelling at personalisation and convenience is an incredibly valuable point of difference, and have invested in services to improve their offerings in this area.
However, there is one obvious way of boosting convenience and creating a bespoke feel that is not being capitalised on – delivery.
And it matters to consumers. Research by shipping platform Temando has found that for 39 per cent of customers, a late, delayed or damaged delivery would lead to reduced loyalty. More than 30 per cent are more likely to return an item if the delivery experience was not adequate.
The old model of deliveries on retailers’ terms is dead and gone
Many retailers seem to be ignoring this. Some 86 per cent of consumers have used or would like to use timeslot deliveries, which allow shoppers to specify a convenient time for delivery, but only 38 per cent actually offer it as an option. This is a huge missed opportunity.
Put simply, if a customer buys something online, delivery is the only physical touchpoint that retailers have with their customers. Yet this is the part of the e-commerce journey they’re most neglecting.
Patrick Gallagher, chief executive of CitySprint, the UK’s leading last-mile delivery company, says it’s time retailers moved from a delivery-last to a delivery-first model.
“The old model of deliveries on retailers’ terms is dead and gone. In today’s world, convenience trumps speed when it comes to buying online or in-store.
“It’s counterproductive for retailers to invest in a personalised experience and then fall at the final hurdle by telling customers when they can have their deliveries, instead of asking when they want them.”
To meet this gap in the market, CitySprint developed its innovative “On the dot” service, launched last year in London and Birmingham, and now available nationwide. Its mission is to help omnichannel retailers give control and convenience back to consumers by offering a choice of one-hour delivery slots, either through a fully integrated e-commerce or EPOS solution, or simply by the store booking directly at onthedot.com.
This proposition is different to the timeslot deliveries that some retailers are starting to offer, says Mr Gallagher. The former are “still within time frames chosen by the retailers or
carriers, not the consumers. That’s why On the dot is unique – the power lies completely in the hands of the customer.”
Homeware brand, Lords at Home, started using On the dot’s non-integrated service in 2015. It has allowed them to differentiate from competitors by offering a bespoke, high-quality and fully personalised customer experience, and has led to a 528 per cent increase in delivered sales with no investment in technology.
Shaun Bridgeman, head of e-commerce at Lords at Home, explains: “On the dot has empowered us to offer customers a completely different level of delivery service and in turn improve customer experience. Putting the customer at the heart of every aspect of the shopping journey has paid dividends and our customers absolutely love the service.”
On the dot can also use an easy-to-integrate RESTful API (application program interface), which dynamically displays capacity in one-hour timeslots, alongside alternative delivery options at the checkout. This means that a consumer will stay in the retailer’s purchasing environment throughout the purchasing journey.
“On the dot integrates the convenience of online retail with the immediacy of bricks-and-mortar stores,” Mr Gallagher says. “By extending their reach in this way, retailers are effectively using their stores as warehouses for local fulfilment, meaning they can use fast, personalised delivery to compete with bigger pure-play retailers, such as Amazon, and win back customers who have become attached to online shopping, but would like to shop locally.
“We have already seen companies, such as Argos and Best Buy, make same-day delivery a priority and this will only grow as retailers truly understand the unique value proposition it offers.”
Innovation in delivery, as with nearly all aspects of the customer journey, often includes implementing new technology and ensuring a more personalised experience for consumers. For retailers, this process may seem daunting, but partnering with a good delivery provider with an established national fleet and innovative technology can ease some of the growing pains.
In today’s demanding, always-on world, without convenient delivery options, great customer experience simply can’t happen.
For more information please visit www.onthedot.com/retailer