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Home Delivery Success Starts at the Order

By Chris Jones | 01/16/2013 | 10:15 AM

Home delivery was one of the hottest topics in the second half of 2012 and appears to be on many retailers’ minds for 2013. Keeping retailers from moving quickly is the perceived additional cost associated with home delivery. “Perceived” is the right word, because home delivery doesn’t have to cost more, but re-thinking of the home delivery appointment scheduling process needs to take place. The greatest impact on home delivery is right at the point of order. Here are three strategies from retailers around the globe to consider, whether you own a fleet or using third parties to deliver your goods.

Steer the customer to the delivery times you want them to take. Low cost delivery routes are the ones with the greatest “delivery density”. Instead of taking orders and then determining how to get them delivered, offer the consumer delivery option times that are more favorable to you. UK retailers, such as Ocado, even go as far as posting “green” or environmentally-friendly delivery times (aka the green truck on their websites). A green truck is simply one that will already be in your area on a particular day and time, reducing carbon emissions – and operating costs. It is amazing how many of their customers gladly “do their part” for the environment and lower Ocado’s operating costs.

Upsell premium, expedited or tighter time windows and value-added services. There’s lots of hype about home delivery having to be free. With time becoming the new currency for many busy consumers, free may only need apply to “standard” all day home delivery windows, but not necessarily for deliveries at noon or 6pm, in 1 hour time windows or same day. In addition, for many products, there are installation, removal and other value-added services that can be upsold. UK retailer John Lewis put millions of dollars on the top line by adopting all of these approaches.

Omni-channel retailing needs omni-channel delivery. Put delivery appointment scheduling in the order process of your store point of sale, website, call center, etc. retail channels and bring deliveries together in a unified delivery appointment scheduling solution. This will not only improve delivery density (helping to lower retailers’ operating costs), it allows for consistent delivery performance and consumer experience across all selling channels. US retailer Sleepy’s has integrated the same delivery appointment scheduling solution into its point of sale system and web store. Tesco Korea (aka Home Plus) built “virtual stores” in subways where customers shop using QR codes in a cell phone app that is tied into their delivery appointment scheduling system.

While home delivery will be a “big step” for many retailers in 2013, there are numerous examples throughout the world where retailers have turned traditional delivery appointment scheduling strategies and practices upside down, resulting in reduced costs, increased revenue and enhanced customer service.



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About Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Chris Jones is Executive Vice President of Marketing and Services at Descartes Systems. Jones has spent more than 30 years working with manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and logistics providers to improve their supply chain operations. One of his primary missions is to identify and leverage new and counter intuitive activities that make a difference in the business. Jones has held senior positions at Kraft Foods, Descartes, and Gartner. He has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University.


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