Current supply chain issues and Australia Post's inability to "keep up" last year are a reminder to all e-commerce and even brick-and-mortar retailers that the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the delivery sector and the way consumers shop, forever.
By Zoom2u Founder and CEO Steve Orenstein.
Zoom2u Founder and CEO Steve Orenstein.
Retailers who rely solely on large delivery service providers should already be looking at smarter, alternative delivery options. In the excitement of sustaining cash flow during challenging times, most retailers forgot the end goal – delivery – that brought them back and damaged the brand's reputation where delivery faltered. In a recent Zoom2u survey, a staggering 86% of customers said a poor delivery experience would make them reconsider shopping at this retailer. If delivery is so important to the customer, why isn't it a top priority for the retailer?
It's time for brands to take the lead in their delivery. Delivery is no longer a nice-to-have, and thanks to the pandemic's lockdown, isolation and surge in popularity of instant delivery services like SEND, VOLY and MILK RUN, competition is fierce. It's time to look for smarter delivery options without being completely dependent on large delivery partners.
Improvement of your existing delivery offer
Last year's Christmas deliveries were so overwhelming that Australia Post had to take time off to handle an overflow of orders. However, while delivery partners are taking a break, online shoppers are not doing the same.
Australia is the 11th largest e-commerce market in the world and revenue is expected to reach $32.3 billion by 2024 and is currently growing at 15.5% annually.(1) E-commerce is booming and independent of the times Year or occasion, consumers create a mountain of undelivered items and courier delays. A problem that is then exacerbated by reduced staffing shortages to handle the workload.
Despite the hurdles, the expectation hasn't changed and flawless delivery is still expected door-to-door. Retailers should try to prioritize their delivery offering at all times and look for ways to improve or work around any delays they experience with third party suppliers.
In the same Zoom2u survey, 83% of customers said they would like to be able to track their deliveries in real time, and 71% said they would make more online purchases if they were guaranteed to arrive on time. Simple updates like this can be easily obtained using the latest technology such as Locate2u, a B2B software offering from Zoom2u that helps businesses manage and navigate shipments. This can be installed alongside your existing standard delivery services, giving the customer more options and guaranteed great service.
Many retailers have had to close their doors in recent months due to either lockdowns and restrictions or the recent Omicron outbreak, which has led to severe staffing shortages. In these cases, retailers can look to convert their brick-and-mortar locations into mini-distribution sites for local delivery, also known as "micro-warehouses".
Having multiple locations and an additional delivery partner to transport orders to and from multiple locations is growing in popularity and has been successful for brands like Bing Lee, Nespresso and even Telstra who offered this type of service during lockdown.
This is a great solution for those who aren't buried in the depths of a mall. However, using a mall as a distribution center can create a maze for delivery drivers with its multiple floors and units. For the micro-warehousing trend to take off, things need to be simplified.
Shopping center transformations
Malls could focus their efforts on designing or allocating a main pickup and delivery port — or loading bay — where retailers within the mall can coordinate all of their online orders. This would help retailers take full advantage of the space offered by shopping malls and greatly improve the customer experience when ordering online.
It will also help streamline jobs for drivers, who in turn will no longer have to waste time searching through multiple levels and units to find their pickup point. Less time wasted means more time doing other tasks. Efficient jobs make for happier drivers and satisfied customers.
What else does the future hold?
Some delivery services do not require drivers at all. robot you say? Nuro is one of several companies testing driverless delivery services. Last-mile robots offer more flexibility, shorter delivery times, and are cheaper than their human counterparts.
In Northern California, DoorDash has started using grocery delivery robots to place local grocery orders. When the robot arrives, DoorDash sends a text message with a link to the recipient, who then clicks the link to unlock the robot filled with their food.
If you're still skeptical that delivery robots will appear in Australia anytime soon, all I can say is keep an eye on this space.
About Steve Orenstein
Steve Orenstein is CEO and Founder of Zoom2u Technologies, an Australia-wide marketplace designed to connect businesses and individuals with fast, reliable local delivery services via Zoom2u (consumer services) and Locate2u (B2B services). Steve has extensive experience in software development, entrepreneurship and logistics. He founded Zoom2u in 2014 after selling his previous company Connect2Field to New York stock exchange giant Fleetmatics. After several frustrating e-commerce deliveries filled with inefficiencies, Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and build a robust technical solution that would transform delivery services from the ground up.
Zoom2u is an Australia-wide marketplace connecting businesses and individuals with fast, reliable and local delivery drivers tailored to individual recipient needs. Zoom2u offers one-hour, three-hour, same-day, next-day, and interstate delivery options, and customers can see their package's location in real-time, from pickup to drop-off.