Driven by a shift in consumer expectations to a ‘delivery from anywhere, to anywhere, at any time’ mindset, Ken Fleming, President of Logistyx Technologies, discussed three trends that are set to offer increased convenience for customers, carriers, and companies with Parcel and Postal Technology.
Saturday delivery for no extra charge
In the summer, UPS announced it would launch a Saturday service across eight European countries at the same price as weekday delivery. As its rationale, the company cited research from IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which said reported ecommerce sales in the UK grew by a third (33%) in May.
However, Ken sheds some additional light on why this is set to be a growing trend: “There are potential cost implications in offering a six-day standard service, but operationally it is not a massive burden. It will help flatten couriers’ weekly peak, whereby parcels from shippers that have a Saturday collection, but no delivery until Monday, stack up at the courier’s warehouse. I would be very surprised if the trend doesn’t continue across the industry, especially due to the recent increase in e-commerce sales, which shows no sign of dropping off. If carriers don’t start to add Saturday, or even Sunday delivery at a standard weekday rate, capacity in the industry may not keep up with demand.”
Increased on-demand changes to delivery
While it isn’t new in itself, it is significant the UK’s Royal Mail added in-flight options to its delivery service in July. Due to the volumes it handles, this announcement represents a massive and challenging undertaking for the organisation.
Ken comments: “On-demand delivery changes tend to be more common with standard two to five-day services. After all, if you want guaranteed next day delivery, you will likely pay for it and be happy to ensure you are available to receive the parcel on that day. However, not many people want – or are able – to be available at any time over several days or to have to queue up to collect a non-delivered parcel from a depot, even at the best of times. The huge spike in e-commerce means more carriers will have to give on-demand flexibility, or they will risk losing business to competitors who can offer it.”
Delivery from store
An increasing number of large and big-brand retailers are moving towards ship from store. From the retailer’s point of view, it is both extremely efficient and – by reducing the movement of the stock – a greener option. At the same time, it enables retailers to offer same day delivery via courier, particularly in urban areas.
“There are two key factors which must be in place to enable retailers to provide ship from store: accurate inventory systems, and a carrier management system which is intelligent enough to suggest delivery from store as an option when the order is placed. From a customer perspective, they may not even realize their item has been sent from a store rather than an RDC,” comments Ken.
To facilitate same day delivery from store, it’s likely shippers will need to introduce new carrier contracts – including local couriers, who can deliver by moped, bike, or electric vehicle – or even potentially by drone or robot. By shipping local to local there can be a significant reduction in miles traveled, reducing the environmental impact of the delivery.
The recent increase in e-commerce versus in-store transactions isn’t likely to go away any time soon and seems set to help the parcel shipping industry move from ‘fast and free’ towards transparent, customizable delivery options, putting the convenience of the customer at the heart of the service.
For more information on parcel shipping trends, check out the Logistyx Research Solutions.