It is an exciting time to be working in e-commerce right now. While high streets and shopping malls are getting quieter, online stores are jam-packed full of digital shoppers. Sales may be booming, but the world of online retail is still racing to sell more products, and new innovations seem to be popping up weekly. In 2018 we saw in-home delivery and delivery subscriptions rear their heads and we expect to see delivery ramp up a gear in 2019. Here are some of the hottest e-commerce delivery trends you can expect to see this year.
E-commerce as a whole is set to get a whole lot more personal in 2019. But how can e-commerce delivery be personalised? One way is for brands to provide exact delivery information, which is tailored to the customer and their location.
A great example of personalised e-commerce delivery comes from tech giants, Amazon. Let’s see how they do it by putting ourselves in a customer’s shoes for a moment. We are looking to order a new blender. Once we have made our selection, Amazon calculate the exact delivery time based on our IP address. They then tell us exactly how long it is until the order cut-off time for our location by using a countdown timer. So we know that our order will arrive today if we order within the next 3 hours and 32 minutes.
Amazon are also experts in making delivery user-friendly. They make their delivery dates concrete by stating the calendar date rather than the shipping speed. For example they state Thursday 9th January – Friday 10th January rather than one to two working days and relying on the customer to calculate when that actually is.
Personalising delivery in this way means that your customers know exactly when their items will arrive. This eliminates the uncertainty, which often surrounds e-commerce delivery and is of course much more customer friendly. We expect to see more brands getting up close and personal with their customers this year.
Omnichannel e-commerce delivery
E-commerce is becoming more and more about fast delivery, which is no mean feat. How do brands manage to provide super-fast delivery? One way is by locating stock close to their customers. This could mean utilising stock in stores.
Zalando’s Connected Retail initiative is one such example of this. By making available stock in over 600 stores digital, they can provide their customers with super-fast delivery by dispatching stock close to their location and reducing delivery journeys. We expect to see more e-commerce brands and retailers adopting similar methods in 2019.
Image source: Zalando.
An increase in-garage delivery
In-home delivery appeared in our key delivery trends for 2018 post. Back then the main focus was on consumer attitudes and whether or not consumers will actually opt for strangers to deliver packages by entering their homes. What we can conclude from the past year is that customers are more likely to be onboard with the idea if they remain in control of their homes.
Last year saw the release of HomyHub’s in garage delivery where customers can grant access to delivery couriers through an app on their smartphone. In garage makes perfect sense because it provides all of the benefits of in-home delivery, but it is much less intrusive to allow delivery couriers into your garage rather than into your home.
This year Amazon has already expanded their Key by Amazon service to offer something similar. With Key for garage, customers also use a smartphone app to control access to their garages. So Amazon deliveries can be stored in a secure location, leaving missed deliveries and porch theft in 2018.
We expect more brands and delivery carriers to get on board with in-garage delivery in 2019.
A pick up in pickup points
While it is clear that consumers want cheap and fast delivery, there is a limit to how cheap and fast delivery can get. This is also before we throw missed deliveries into the mix, which are extremely costly both in resources and customer satisfaction. In terms of delivery options a clear winner for all parties are pick-up points. Delivery is more efficient, missed deliveries are abolished and customers can nominate a location that is convenient for them.
Bearing all these factors in mind it is no wonder that we are seeing delivery lockers springing up all over the place, and customers are making good use of them. Since e-commerce giants Amazon aquired supermarket chain Wholefoods and placed their Amazon pick-up lockers in their stores, Wholefood stores with the lockers have reported an 11% rise in “micro” visits of between three and five minutes in length.
We also expect e-commerce delivery to get a lot more precise. Most brands are now offering nominated-day delivery, which is fantastic. This year we expect to see a rise in brands prioritising customer convenience by offering nominated time slots.
Dutch online retailer Cool Blue are one example of an e-commerce brand leading the way in precise e-commerce delivery. Their “delivery by appointment” option allows their customers to choose a delivery timeslot that suits them. This premium service does come with a price tag to match of €9.95.
And one not to expect…
Hotly anticipated “Drone delivery” has yet to take flight. Although everyone from Amazon to Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have conducted trials, it is the practicalities rather than the technology that is proving troublesome.
Following the travel fiasco at Gatwick airport in December 2018, where multiple drone sightings disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers in the run up to Christmas, attitudes towards rouge drones has changed.
Airports aside there are a lot of places that drones can’t go. How are drones going to navigate urban areas? Or deliver to specific apartments in multistory apartment buildings?
Drone delivery could also get pretty expensive. Porch piracy is a major issue in e-commerce delivery, and if we add drones into the mix these package thieves will not only steal the parcel, but the drone too!
For now at least, it will be a while before our skies are filled online shopping packages.
All the e-commerce delivery trends that we think will become big in 2019 are about making online shopping more convenient. E-commerce is constantly evolving and brands and carriers are constantly conjuring up new ways to make shopping online even easier.
For more e-commerce delivery inspiration checkout our delivery journey whitepapers. In this four part series we look at each stage of the customer journey, browsing on product pages, purchasing in the checkout, track and trace notifications and returns, to see how brands deliver at each stage. For loads of examples of best practice download the first whitepaper here.