Express delivery, the main challenge of e-commerce
Becoming a real issue for consumers, express delivery has been a revealing experience. The customer quickly got used to being delivered their parcel on the same day (or maximum the day after their order) and brands of all kind had to answer this new requirement. So much so that new solutions are announced every month, including a great reinforcement of partnerships between industry players that we believed were completely against each other. For example, Amazon is moving closer to Monoprix to deliver fresh produce to Paris, but has also announced the deployment of many city delivery points in the form of lockers where we will come to pick up our parcels closer to our current location. Better yet, the American firm wants to deliver parcels directly into the trunks of our vehicles! So what can be seen in this crazy race and what are the hidden economic stakes? Is it not urgent to ask the question of cost and to check that consumers are not the victims of this so-called gratuitousness?
Last mile delivery, a growing market
The first challenge today is a major problem. The growth of e-commerce continues at a good pace and the number of orders to deliver has been exploding because everything is now deliverable (including fresh products). But it is essential to achieve a certain size to make investments profitable, and this is not easy facing off against the giants of the sector. The market of the last mile will thus be multiplied by 2.3 in 10 years to reach 2.6 billion euros in France. We can better understand La Poste Group’s attempts to launch innovations, which seek to revitalize its network and logistical resources, by offering new services and by testing drone delivery (for example). But retailers have also taken over this dynamism with click & collect and web-to-store, allowing everyone to pick up their order at a collection point that becomes the store. In addition, the delivery of meals at home or at work has developed a new sector of activity for delivery on two wheels.
But not everything is perfect yet, because 70% of e-commerce customers are afraid of missing the delivery person when they are there as they are not always at home (Etude Les Echos – September 2017). If we add to this a tendency to be delivered smaller and smaller packages, we can see that home delivery is complex and often unprofitable. Paradoxically, relay points make it possible to massively expand the amount of deliveries and to give an assignment back to the local businesses by creating new traffic for its small points of sale.
Colissimo, a key player in this market in France, is developing new services, such as on-demand collection, to facilitate the removal of parcels for the merchant. But the end customer can also make their experience easier by using “Easy return”, a service that offers them the opportunity to deposit their return package to the e-merchant in their own mailbox with the Colissimo team picking it up later in the day. The brand, which is continuing to expand internationally, announced last year a “predictive and interactive” delivery. In England, the end customer can provide a slot of one hour for delivery and follow it in real time for the last fifteen minutes of its journey. In Italy or Switzerland, you can, via SMS notifications or emails, change the time or place of delivery at the very last moment.
We can see everything is still under construction in the market of the last mile, even if new services continue to be created for the greatest satisfaction of consumers. This is the price to be paid so that their experience becomes more and more smooth and that e-commerce can continue its steady growth.