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Sunday deliveries to be ‘normal option’

12 March 2014

The expansion of eCommerce into Sunday Deliveries was a key point of debate at Meta Pack’s recent Delivery Conference held in London.

Gary Winter, sales & marketing director, Hermes said: "We've done our own market research and 28% of customers surveyed said that Sunday delivery would be of interest to them. It’s about offering more choice and convenience to customers - but it's not complete altruism.


"We have opened three new depots and closed and reopened four more, which will take us to 27 depots. This is really expensive and we're only using them six days a week. So, if we opened on Sundays and adopted a seven day a week model, we could create 17% extra capacity, grow our business and maximise the assets that are already in place.


"Lots of organisations already deliver on Sundays but they charge a fortune for it. We have to make Sunday a normal delivery option in terms of cost and process or people will stay away from it.


"We'll be working with a number of our major customers to look at how we can flatten out the week over time. We've also listened to the retailers that we work with who tell us that the shopping week is really concentrated over the weekend. We're optimistic that we can make Sunday deliveries work and we believe we've got the scale to do it.”


Andrew McLean from URBN continued: "The next phase will be Sunday deliveries. Retailers have been selling this concept for over 40 years in the US and 15 years in the UK and so the next evolution is how are we going to bring that forward with the carriers so that it fits the customer's lifestyle?

 

"There is a disconnect between the good online system the member of staff in store can't really interface with that very well. There's also still some challenges in gaining permeability of data from online to offline or supplier through to retailer and to customer.”


"It's about the value proposition - what we have is a brand. Instead of it being someone in a store greeting you, it's the delivery courier and they've got to represent you.”


Peter Fitzgerald, country sales director, Google UK added: "Retailers in the UK are starting to think of it as less of a transactional process and remembering that delivery is the last part of the customer experience and couriers are the last person you see.”


Sir Terry Leahy ex-CEO, Tesco acknowledged the customer service and delivery experience isn't optimal yet.


"This is understandable as what we're trying to do is incredibly difficult. Customers used to do all the work, they'd go and find the product, and now we're trying to navigate through to them,” he said.




"What you know from any form of commerce is that people pay for what they value. It's not a question of customers will only pay the lowest price. People pay a lot if they value it a lot.”


Leahy continued that he expected eCommerce businesses to change to reflect this. 


"You'll see a lot more unique products - why sell a branded product at a commodity price and distribute it around the world? Let the brand owner sell it and develop your own offer. So I think we'll see a lot more integration of the marketing channel.”


People challenges

Leahy still sees significant challenges despite the technology deployed by retailers improving significantly.


"I think the stock performance challenge is being resolved as IT systems become more reliable. One of the strengths of online is single stocking positions. But as multi-channel retailers develop good systems for each channel, they're not yet fully integrated in terms of staff training.


"There is a disconnect between the good online system the member of staff in store can't really interface with that very well. There's also still some challenges in gaining permeability of data from online to offline or supplier through to retailer and to customer.”

 
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