The study, conducted by Forrester Research and commissioned by MetaPack, reveals that European retailers are increasingly adopting multi-carrier delivery strategies in response to the growing importance of delivery as the final and most critical mile in the consumer journey. This is evidenced by the fact that the majority of European and UK retailers (UK – 91%, Germany – 91%, France – 74%) work with multiple carriers to provide more flexible delivery options.
European retailers are also becoming increasingly aware that providing a more convenient and personalised service to customers is key to improving customer loyalty. According to the research, 85% of UK retailers reported measurable improvement of customer satisfaction as a result of offering multiple delivery options, followed by 79% of respondents in Germany and 76% in France.
This trend is driving further investment in multi-carrier delivery services in Europe. UK retailers currently invest most in delivery capabilities, with nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) saying that they invest more than 5% of their online revenue in improving delivery services. By comparison, only half of French (50%) and German (55%) retailers are allocating more than 5% of their eCommerce budget to delivery services. However, a larger percentage of French (76%) and German retailers (76%) expect investment in delivery processes to increase in the coming years, compared to only 65% of UK retailers.
The increased focus on developing advanced multi-carrier capabilities reflects the stronger international competition among retailers as they are expecting more eCommerce traffic from outside their native markets. Not surprisingly, organisations across all three markets increasingly view retailers in other countries as direct competitors, particularly in France where 59% of the surveyed organisations share this view, followed by the UK (47%) and Germany (36%).
While international sales are adding to the complexity of fulfilment operations, consumers’ demand for more choice and convenience in domestic markets is driving the adoption of alternative delivery services, with some interesting variations across countries.
For example, UK retailers are allocating double the funding for delivery to remote locker locations (68%) and alternative collection points (56%), compared to France (32% and 35%) and Germany (27% and 24%). These differences indicate different levels of maturity of eCommerce delivery services across European markets. For instance, in Germany delivery locker networks are more advanced compared to other countries in Europe.
Another big investment priority for all surveyed countries is driving speed of service. A significant proportion of retailers across France (88%), the UK (70%) and Germany (67%) agree that next-day home delivery drives repeat purchase and increases customer lifetime value. What’s more, 66% of UK retailers are currently piloting same day home delivery services, followed by 55% in France and 39% in Germany.
Angela O’Connell, Marketing and Strategy Director, MetaPack, said: “The retail and delivery industries are coming together as retailers are increasingly adopting multi-carrier strategies to utilise the expertise of each carrier and provide a better service to shoppers. As retailers are looking to boost competitive advantage on a national and global scale, providing more convenience and choice in delivery services will be critical to making or breaking customer loyalty. To be able to survive in this highly competitive eCommerce market, retailers will need to develop robust multi-carrier capabilities and enable exciting innovations that put the customer in control of their delivery experience.”
Forrester Consulting surveyed over 100 retailers in the UK, France and Germany who are responsible for the fulfilment of online orders. The survey data was supplemented by in-depth interviews with senior decision-makers at ten retailer organisations across the same markets.