date25 July 2017

What next in the evolution of delivery services?

Today’s consumers demand a lot from online retailers – especially when it comes to delivery. Not only do shoppers want the best deals, they expect orders to arrive quickly and at times that suit their busy lifestyles. As a result, businesses have been forced to re-evaluate their processes and find new ways to keep customers happy.

Timing is everything

There was a time when next-day delivery was a major selling point. These days, consumers want to know more than just what day their purchases will arrive; they need to know the time, too. Thankfully, an increasing number of retailers and courier companies are meeting this need. As is often the case, industry leader Amazon is a notable example. It gives customers the opportunity to have items delivered before 1pm the following day, giving them a chance to plan ahead. Taking things a step further, the company’s Prime Now service promises deliveries within as little as one hour in some locations, and gives two-hour delivery windows for those ready to wait until later in the day. Courier companies are at it too. One of the UK’s biggest, DPD, offers a range of timing options and can even give recipients a 30-minute warning before their parcel arrives. It’s all about consumer convenience.

Deliveries, away from home

It’s not all about delivery speed these days; flexibility is equally important. That’s why you’ll see retailers of all kinds offering ‘click-and-collect’ style deliveries, which give customers the chance to pick up their items from a nearby location – usually a shop or post office. Cost comes into it too – Amazon customers who are happy to wait for their items to arrive can choose a ‘no-rush’ delivery and gain store credit in return. The pressure on Amazon’s resources is then eased as a result.

Where do we go from here?

Evolution is happening across the retail sector, and it shows no signs of slowing. As we move forward, expect to see more and more retailers – even smaller independent companies – offer similar delivery services to those mentioned above. The importance of data will also grow, especially for the bigger retailers and courier firms. DPD already uses GPS trackers on its vehicles to give recipients real-time location information, using maps in a similar way to app-based taxi service Uber. With this kind of data being generated constantly, stores will make more use of connected technologies. As well as the tracking apps and features offered by companies like Amazon and DPD, there’s a huge opportunity to harness the power of digital assistant devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. By delivering simple updates through these technologies, companies can offer a much more personalised delivery service.

Technology at the heart

There are a variety of technologies driving evolution in e-retail – from GPS tracking and mobile apps to wearables and virtual assistants. And their importance is only likely to increase. TouchStar’s own electronic proof-of-delivery (ePOD) technology is already helping businesses across the retail and delivery sectors to operate more efficiently, and our list of happy clients continues to grow. To find out more about the solutions on offer and how they can help your business, get in touch today.