In the case of small parcels we can choose from many competing methods of delivery (courier, post, self-service pick-up stations), however for large products transported on pallets, until recently we had difficulties finding a carrier. Lately logistics companies have started to offer more and more solutions tailored for the e-commerce sector.
E-COMMERCE AND TFL – NATURAL ALLIES
Just a few years back, mutual mistrust dominated relations between logistics operators and online shops. Many e-shop owners were not able to fill out complicated documents required by the operator who, in turn, struggled with ensuring flexibility of deliveries which allowed the owner to store products in boxes in their garage.
Both sectors have already moved on. Logistics operators understand that internet shops are not just a fad but rather an important sector of the economy. Last year the Polish e-commerce sector was valued at between PLN 23.8 billion (according to PMR estimates for Puls Biznesu) and PLN 28.1 billion (according to the calculation by Forbes). E-shops also realized that without optimization of logistics processes and efficient deliveries they are not able to fight for customers on the increasingly competitive market.
This market reality gave rise to the Home Delivery service which is based on delivering large products to individual customers. Despite its close connection with online shops, it is frequently used by brick-and-mortar shops, particularly DIY shops, shops with home appliances and with furniture. After all, when we are at a shop and we want to buy something large, we are often not able to transport it back home without assistance.
The implementation of the new service have utilised the experience of logistics operators who often must organize transport so as to fit the so-called time windows (times which warehouse or shop staff use for unloading a particular delivery). Copying this solution in the Home Delivery service allows the customer to choose the time of product delivery (in our company there are three 'time windows' – 8:00-13:00, 13:00-16:00, 16:00-21:00).
Deliveries to individual customers have forced logistics operators to start offering additional services which they had not provided before. They include, among others,
- Carrying the product to the customer's home. Not everyone is able to carry a wardrobe or a washing machine home by themselves. Without this service the delivery may often turn out to be useless for the customer.
- Pick-up of used equipment. The solution frequently offered by shops selling home appliances. After buying a new fridge the customer often had a problem with getting rid of the old one.
- Pick-up of packaging after delivery. The product is usually transported on a pallet, often in a cardboard box filled in with a styrofoam protective structure. For many customers, their disposal is an unnecessary hassle.
- On time delivery. Customers often spend little time at home and they wish to specifically define the time of delivery. Selection of this option offers the possibility of doing so down to thirty minutes.
CARRIER IS THE AMBASSADOR OF THE SELLER
It is worth remembering that the person delivering to product to the customer becomes the ultimate representative of the seller in their mind. In the case of smaller shipments customers tend to blame courier companies for possible problems, however in the case of the Home Delivery service the carrier is more often treated as the representative of the shop. Careful shaping of the customer experience in an online shop may be ruined by the troubles with product delivery.
In order to avoid this, you should properly chose the company to start cooperation with and honestly inform the customer about the terms of delivery. Too many customers still complain about the lack of possibility to use additional services they should have been informed about by the seller.