In a previous article we looked at the importance of delivery service as a marketing tool in providing ultimate satisfaction for customers. Let’s now have a look at the challenges from a logistical perspective. A study published in 2013 by the consultancy practice Copenhagen Economics (“E-shopper survey”) shows that for most countries questioned, home delivery remains the preferred mode for eshoppers. Last mile logistics, the final and most costly stage in physical delivery, is therefore becoming a fundamental challenge for logistics experts and e-traders, whether in rural or urban areas. In cities, the circulation of vehicles devoted to the transportation of packages is not without difficulty, causing problems with regard to the sharing of roads, congestion, noise pollution and GHG emissions. In the countryside, the real challenge involves guaranteeing coverage, even in remote areas, such as Canada, where the distances to be covered can be significant and lead to delays and therefore additional costs.
Irrespective of the destination, the challenge is therefore sizeable: transporting packages to the end customer within tight timeframes and at competitive prices whilst taking into account environmental constraints. The challenge is all the more difficult to deal with as today’s consumers do not want to have to spend half a day at home waiting to receive their order and want to be informed of a precise delivery window. To minimise the number of pending packages, operators therefore need to expand their services. Examples? The sending of an SMS or an email the day before to ensure that the customer will be present at the time of delivery. Another solution may also involve moving delivery slots to evenings, early in the day or even the weekend.
“bpost on appointment”
The aim: being consumer-focused, by offering them even more services to meet their needs. An approach that the bpost group has used by launching: “bpost on appointment”.
The method is simple: the customer does his/her shopping online at participating stores and chooses home delivery, on the day and at the time chosen by the customer on the site, irrespective of the frequency.
And the postman does not just bring the goods ordered: he can also take away customers’ empty packaging, any packages to be returned or even their laundry for an ironing service. If they are not going to be available, when they make their order consumers can also provide details of a neighbour who will take delivery of the packages in their place. If the items have not already been paid for online, payment is made to the postman at the time of delivery and bpost then redirects the payment to the etraders concerned.
This innovative solution, which may seem obvious, given that the postal network is the only one which covers all mailboxes in a city on a daily basis, currently has no equivalent. Capable of home delivering even fresh and frozen produce, it enables bulk transportation using several retailers to be organised, thereby reducing transport costs whilst decreasing the environment footprint, thanks to deliveries being grouped by neighbourhood. Who is such an offering aimed at? Primarily, committed online shoppers, but it may be just as attractive to families, who sometimes have overloaded schedules, and the elderly, for whom it can save the travel and time involved in shopping, which can be inconvenient for some of them.
Discover the bpost on appointment site by clicking here.