More and more UK consumers are shopping online and they increasingly expect retailers to provide more convenient delivery options to accommodate their busy schedules. In fact, the three-hour delivery window has now become a standard expectation among the majority of UK shoppers, according to new research* carried out by Honeywell.
(00:13) Introduction of Geoff Taylor
(01:33) Concepts of Technology and Logistics
(03:09) Key findings of Honeywell survey
(05:24) Three hour delivery expectations
(06:42) Communication of Logistics Companies
(10:47) Development of Logistics in the UK within ecommerce
Tweetables & Quotes
As technology has evolved, more and more functionality has become available with smaller devices and the really forward thinking companies
The interesting thing about ecommerce is the expectation of the delivery company and the service they deliver is not from their own customer;
When I know you have it here in the UK and you’re going to deliver it to me; I want you to give me a window of no more than three hours
Click and collect is probably one of the fastest growing medium of a consumer being able to have something delivered to a point where they know they can get to
Kunle: Welcome to the 2x ecommerce podcast show. This is a bite size edition and today I have with me Geoff Taylor; he is the Transport and Logistics Director of Honeywell scanning and mobility for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa; that’s a lot.
Geoff has been in the mobile technology and data capture segment of the transport and logistics tech sector for over twenty years now and he’s here to talk about a recent Honeywell survey about online shopping delivery expectations from UK shoppers. Welcome to the show Geoff.
Geoff: Thank you Kunle. It’s good to be.
Kunle: Good stuff, could you take a minute or two to tell our listeners more about yourself please.
Geoff: Yeah so, like you say; I’ve been in this role pretty much for twenty years now, previous to that I was working in the industry, I worked for TNT and Tufnell’s and run my own small transport business at one stage and then was enticed into the technology industry and literally from day one I’ve been working with the transport industry to deliver efficiency, look for new revenue streams and basically use my operational knowledge of the delivery sector to take technology and deliver it where it delivers the most value to our customers.
Kunle: I mean; two concepts there; technology and logistics, transport and logistics has evolved really quickly over the last twenty years; yeah so what’s been your expense over the last twenty years in terms of the pace of change in the sector?
Geoff: It’s been quite incredible as technology has evolved, more and more functionality has become available with smaller devices and the really forward thinking companies; it’s been great to see how they embrace those technology advantages and use them to the advantage of their businesses and their industry and deliver some amazing results in terms of improved customer service, operational efficiencies and new products and revenue; it really has; some of the figures that if you drew (unclear 2:27:7) figures that have been delivered by the investment in our kind of technology it’s quite incredible.
Kunle: Operational efficiency and the bottom line, most important you know, most important concepts really to get off the back of the impact of technology. Now let’s go into the press release, you release a press release and it was about some research, a survey Honeywell conducted and the summary of the survey is UK shoppers expect a three hour delivery expectation ok. So could you please summarise the key findings of this survey please; this ecommerce survey?
Geoff: Yeah so we all know the growth (unclear 3:13:0) is globally in ecommerce and the recent trend in the last twelve months is for the ecommerce companies delivering cross borders so there’s a lot of Asian companies now all shipping freight into Europe and using local delivery agents to deliver small items. The interesting thing about ecommerce is the expectation of the delivery company and the service they deliver is not from their own customer; it’s from a third party that is not part of the actual contract so if I contract with a major integrator like DHL to deliver a parcel on my behalf into a different country; it’s not me that has the expectation of that parcel arriving on time, it’s the person the other end. So this is the same in ecommerce, it’s the person that’s ordered online that has the expectation and what we were finding or what our belief was and this is why we entered into that survey; our belief was that regular consumers of ecommerce online shopping; their delivery expectation of cross –border item; it really isn’t so important how long it takes to get from origin country to delivering country. They understand that can take a number of days because of the distance involved but once it gets to the delivery country; certainly in the UK this is something that we felt was the UK experience; the consumer wants to know its landed, it’s out for delivery and they want to know when it’s going to come to me and as we found out from the survey is the expectation is a three hour timeslot so give me a three hour timeslot.
Now the shorter you can give me that timeslot to be; the less time I have to commit to being at an address and the better customer experience I have of that delivery; so it’s the last mile that’s incredibly important to the consumer; on timed delivery.
Kunle: So just to get things right, the three hour delivery applies to; I’ve heard two things here, cross border ecommerce and the last mile so the moment; so say I order something from the US and it takes a day or two to get into a hub in London; I expect it to get to me here in Oxford in three hours the moment it hits London when I start to track it.
Geoff: That’s not quite what the consumer’s expecting. What they are saying is; when I know you have it here in the UK and you’re going to deliver it to me; I want you to give me a window of no more than three hours of when you will attempt delivery.
Kunle: Got you. Got you so that email or that mobile phone notification I get should give me a three hour window for me to sort myself out. Ok.
Geoff: Yeah that’s the maximum people are expecting. We know people today are doing it in much shorter windows; that today they are giving consumers an hour and we know they can do better than that as well based on their experience of that hour timeslot.
Kunle: Right so this very much applies to the communication. How effectively logistics companies actually communicate their deliveries to customers. To customers of their customers. Basically.
Geoff: Exactly but it goes one stage further than that because what is absolutely vital to the delivery company part of an ecommerce transaction is first time delivery. First time deliveries tend to be profitable for the carrier; if it has to be brought back and redelivered it tends to be an unprofitable transaction. Margins are that slim in ecommerce transactions so it’s incredibly important to make that delivery first time.
Kunle: So it’s an efficiency really.
Geoff: It is an efficiency. Yeah. But a carrier has a best interest in making sure that this is a signed for delivery; somebody’s at the address to sign for it.
Kunle: As much as this applies to ecommerce, to logistics companies, I guess owners of ecommerce companies should really be asking their logistics companies how effectively they communicate with customers; with their customers.
Geoff: Yeah they should.
Kunle: So what kind of questions should they ask their logistics companies?
Geoff: Ok so the critical partner is, I believe, is, because quite a lot of logistics companies are now communicating outwards to consumers, providing the etailer provides contact data to the carrier, most carriers today will provide outbound communication of this is when we expect to make your delivery. The successful ones are the ones that are able to take a response from the consumer. So a consumer can ery simply text, email back saying that’s not convenient; I’m no longer at home today and choose a redelivery option for the consumer a redelivery option; for the carrier it would be first time delivery.
Kunle: What carriers are doing it really well?
Geoff: Probably the best that I’ve seen in the UK would be from DPD UK.
Kunle: Absolutely; I had an experience with them last week, do you know actually two weeks ago and I had to tweet them because they, first of all they said the, they called their driver Geoff and they said Geoff is about three hours from you and your delivery number twenty one and he’s currently at number three, send a text message if you want to change the delivery slot cause my phone broke and it was a replacement phone from the insurance and I couldn’t really make it on that day and I sent a text message and the same thing happened the next day and it was just smooth. I called him by his first name by the way when he delivered the item and I sent a tweet to them saying it’s been brilliant actually, the experience.
Geoff: Yeah they have won several awards for those solutions including (unclear 9:37:0) award from retail organisation.
Kunle: Ok, interesting, very very interesting. Ok so how many (unclear 9:46:9) a surveyed in your research?
Geoff: We went out to approximately eight hundred people.
Kunle: Ok and what kind of questions did you ask them?
Geoff: We were asking them more about what’s important to them as an online consumer, what’s important to them in terms of delivery experiences; that was really important to us as an organisation because essentially at the end of the day we look to improve or help our customers improve that delivery experience, we wanted to understand what was happening in the consumer; were, are UK delivery companies delivering to the expectations of the market and we felt in some areas they weren’t and that gives us a good insight and reasons to go and talk to our customers about how they can improve their service levels.
Kunle: Interesting, so from a logistics and transportation stand point; how far, what’s the development of the UK? How far have we developed in the UK in ecommerce specifically?
Geoff: What’s interesting is that you know, the type of technology that we bring to the world; fifteen years ago was all about somebody signing for a signature on grass and it was predominantly about business to business transactions and just removing paper and inefficiency of paper from organisations; and it was about making that signature and (unclear 11:22:2) and what people are doing today and you know you’ve already described a very good example of that; is; you can now follow the vehicle that contains your parcel so you can now see your parcel being drive; if you’ve particularly got the time to look at google maps online you can see your parcel being driven around the country until it gets to you. This is where technology has gone and its going further you know; we now are looking at biometric identity of items of freight so giving each item its own biometric identity and then being able to track that by its appearance through a network so forward thinking carriers can start to allow you as a consumer, not only to see your items being delivered around the countryside but also how they’re handled as they progress through their distribution network. All depends how far they want to take it but there’s been massive massive change and really because of the growth, the massive growth numbers more and more of the express delivery operators are now focused more on B to C delivery and B to C target solutions.
Kunle: It’s a growing industry as ecommerce continues to grow, would grow along with it. What about click and collect, did your survey you know cover anything around click and collect?
Geoff: Click and collect is probably one of the fastest growing mediums of a consumer being able to have something delivered to a point where they know they can get to so I think five years ago if you’d have asked me the same question I would of said the UK consumer expects what they’ve ordered to be delivered to them at their home when their home. I think the UK consumer is now starting to wake up to the fact that there are more convenient ways to get their hands on what they’ve ordered and if you look at the extremely successful B to C operations they have; basically they’ve invested in Omni channel delivery so there will be standard delivery vehicles, there will be self-employed delivery agents delivering you know, at times when people are at home, they’ll have drop boxes, they’ll have click and collect, they’ll have pseudos’ at pickup delivery offices, they’re investing in numerous ways to make sure they offer the right delivery experience and Omni channelled is the best way forward. It’s not all about knocking on a door and somebody being there.
Kunle: Interesting, what about mid-tier etailers tell us and mid-tier retailers tend to be pure pay online retail. How do you think or how do you think they can improve efficiencies in logistics; in general in the UK?
Geoff: Sorry I missed the very first part of the question?
Kunle: Mid-tier retailers so; retailers turning over between five and one hundred million pounds?
Geoff: You know I saw somebody who was the head of a very large retail organisation present recently and he said what’s exciting about today is through the use of the internet; if you get it right, if you get your shop window right you can open up on day one as a new business and have a target audience of billions of people. People can buy from you now; anywhere in the world and it doesn’t matter whether you turn over one parcel a week or a thousand parcels a week; mid-tier and new starter etailers; I just think the world is there oyster. There is a huge market out there, they are not restrained by their size.
Kunle: What steps; from your experience from what steps should they take? What mistakes should they not make from a logistics stand point? What are the things you’ve seen? What are the mistakes your seeing mid-tier retailers are making the kind of mistakes they are making and the things they should avoid really to actually make the world be their oyster?
Geoff: Ok, do what you do well, focus on what you do well and let other experts do what they do well. So making sure your logistics partner and your delivery experience is one of the best because I think there’s something like seventy percent of people who shop online choose their delivery option before making a decision to buy and if you don’t offer a consumer the right delivery options they won’t buy from your website. So, and again the use of the internet is very powerful. Go onto blogs, go onto twitter, search for the company that you’re looking to partner with as a logistics partner and see what consumers are saying about them. Understand what consumers believe their last mile experience to be because they are your interface with your customer as a small etailer. You know; your interaction is electronic. Your face to face person to person interaction is the delivery company that you choose.
Kunle: What about packing a selection? What Tips would you give etailers looking to find the right partners that would match their operations and are cost efficient at the same time?
Geoff: Like I said, do your research online, check what other consumers are saying about this service, that’s very important. I mean I haven’t been involved in commercial discussions from a parcel carrier point of view for many many years and it’s not really for me to comment on who has the best commercial offer but like I said, I think the most important element is to have a really good check of what their customer experience is like, consumer experience is like of the delivery.
Kunle: Ok, thank you for your time Geoff. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show.
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