With most delivery companies nowadays, the alternatives to a failed delivery would be to make a second delivery attempt or offer the recipient pick-up points such as parcel shops or parcel lockers. These options, however, mean extra costs on the delivery company’s side and are not too popular with the consumers either. In fact, 76% of consumers prefer to have their cross-border parcels delivered to their home address – according to the 2015 The IPC Online Shopper Survey.
While many delivery companies are still working to provide time slots to tell their customers when a parcel is likely to arrive, a few companies are making a step forward and allowing their customers to notify the courier what time they’d like to receive their delivery.
DHL Parcel is leading the way in Germany to offer customers the opportunity to choose when exactly they would like their parcels delivered. As of May 2016, online shoppers can select a two-hour time window between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM while they are finalising their order. The flexible time-slot delivery service is now available in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and the Ruhr region.
Customers can also select a two-hour delivery window between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM for same-day deliveries. If an order is needed that very same day – such as a food product purchase that has to be there when the recipient arrives home from work - it can be delivered as a same-day package. For particularly urgent orders such as medication, DHL Parcel also offers direct delivery within 90 minutes of ordering in over 50 cities.
In the UK, one of the leading operators in this area is DPD which clearly saw an untapped opportunity in offering the parcel recipient more flexibility regarding the delivery time. To do this, the company is developing a service called DPD Precise. It builds upon DPD’s Predict offering which gives consumers expecting a parcel a one-hour window in which it will be delivered followed by a 15-minute window as the delivery time approaches.
The new service will enable the consumer to tell DPD when they’d like their delivery to take place. Asking “When do you want your parcel?”, rather than DPD giving the consumer a time slot. DPD Precise will come hand in hand with the DPD app, which enables consumers not only to track their DPD deliveries but also to give instant feedback. Importantly there will be no change to the retailer at checkout. Consumers will be able to book their preferred delivery time slots through the app.
Moreover, should the receiver miss a delivery but have the DPD app installed, DPD would be able to see their location via the app and if they couldn’t deliver the parcel earlier in the day will be able to check their location later on in the day. If they see that the customer are back home, DPD will be able to make a second delivery attempt if the driver is still in the area.
The development of DPD Precise is currently underway and it is not expected to be rolled out to customers until summer 2016. Initially, the option for automatic redelivery with customers’ phone locations being used is expected to only be offered to top customers before expanding to the entire customer base.
Innovations such as these respond to customers’ expectations and can influence the choice of delivery partners by e-retailers.