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Brands are increasingly focused on growing their e-commerce sales, wanting to make waves in the market that is worth £233bn in the UK alone.

As e-commerce continues to grow, retailers find themselves competing not just over price, but the overall experience including delivery. This important aspect of selling online is rapidly changing, however, and continues to grow and adapt to the needs of the customer. The future is looking bright for delivery, but what trends will we see over the coming years?

Drone delivery

Once just a faraway technological dream, drone delivery is fast becoming an inevitability. We will begin to see the gradual adoption of drones over the coming years as retailers get their heads around this new way of delivering. Drone delivery is still in its infancy, and there will be regulations and government guidelines ironed out before we see it widely adopted, but many companies are already starting to prepare and are testing their drone delivery.

It’s not just drones in the sky we will expect to see over the next few years, but also robots making local deliveries quicker and easier. Projections see the autonomous delivery robot market expecting a growth rate of 49.5% between 2019 and 2024. It’s time for companies to take autonomous delivery seriously and prepare for the future. 

Consumer consciousness and sustainability

Consumers are more conscious of their carbon footprint and have shown they are willing to change their behaviors to make a difference. They will continue to want brands to also show willingness and commit to becoming more sustainable. Sustainability is more than just a buzzword, and the pressure to reduce environmental impact will reach e-commerce delivery over the coming year. As online shoppers become more demanding, the impact a delivery will have on the environment could become a differentiator between two brands.

One of the most obvious ways to tackle the carbon footprint of deliveries is electric vehicles. The image of HGV’s and delivery vans clogging up the motorways and contributing to air pollution will become untenable for delivery companies. Just as electric cars have started to become more mainstream; we will see electric lorries and vans follow suit in the future. Investing in e-vehicles or partnering with delivery companies that have sustainable delivery will show consumers a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their online delivery.

Multi-carrier becomes essential

To meet the growing expectations of online shoppers, retailers will need to look beyond a one carrier delivery system. Multi-carrier approaches are now essential to ensure that you can keep up with the competition and it will become the norm for brands over the next year. It means they will be able to pick and choose between which carriers they use for domestic and international shipping, selecting the best costs for different areas or size of parcels.

Multi-carrier delivery and returns aren’t easy to maintain, however, brands will increasingly be looking to outsource parts or all of this to 3rd party multi-carrier partners as part of a managed service for cost and ease. Handing over tracking, customer service, returns, and maintaining different carrier relationships takes the stress out of their hands. A third-party service like GFS Deliver means a seamless and uninterrupted service, access to the latest innovative technology, customer service to handle customer queries, and a partner you can trust to lead you through peak selling times. With delivery becoming an increasingly important subject for retailers to navigate, offloading the task becomes essential.

There are numerous testimonials about how GFS lived up with their promises. One example is the success of Hamper.com. It is one of the known privately-owned hamper retailers, offering an incredible range of over 350 different hampers mostly in the UK and even worldwide. Peak seasons are very important for all retailers, for Hamper.com 75% of their sales take place over 3 weeks of the year.

Hampers usually contain perishable goods, so these parcels should strictly be delivered on time. While using 7 different carriers, shipping to 50+ countries across multiple channels, the Hamper.com order fulfillment operation had become extremely challenging.

An ‘all in one’ delivery service combining international parcel services with intelligent despatch software and logistics support was then introduced to Hamper.com through GFS, which is the Multi-Carrier Delivery Management.

GFS helped Hamper.com to manage different carriers all at once through one software integration, one invoice, and one single relationship. They now have almost a dozen different delivery services at their fingertips, with labeling, tracking, and reporting – all conveniently automated. Which makes it easier for them to meet the needs of their business and their customers while also improving warehouse efficiencies and productivity at the same time. Since working with GFS, Hamper.com has increased its peak sales revenues and parcel volumes by 20% year-on-year.

Same-day delivery and beyond

Acceptable delivery windows are shrinking. Amazon has been leading the way for many years, delivering in shorter and shorter delivery times and same-day delivery will become the new normal. And where will it go from here? Well, delivery windows will continue to shrink, and we may see the introduction of 2-hour delivery options.

However, Amazon’s domination of the e-commerce market can make us think that fast and free is the best delivery option for your customers. However, what customers want is delivery choice – being able to choose based on cost, speed, and convenience of their day to day lives.

It won’t be possible for all companies to directly compete with same-day delivery. However, smaller companies need to simplify and speed up their logistics and ensure they have the best delivery partner for fast shipping so that they can deliver quickly and provide the customer of the future the options they want.

We will also see an increase in subscription services, offering customers premium service for a small monthly fee to ensure repeat purchases and cover the cost of providing these services. 

Bobby Ttooulis is a dynamic and commercially-focused marketing leader with 15+yrs B2B experience driving brand awareness & targeted demand-gen for high-value Technology SaaS services & solutions into global Enterprises. She is the group marketing director of Global Freight Solutions Ltd.

Photo: Mollyrose89/ Wikimedia Commons

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