No I’m not talking about winning Olympic golds, I’m thinking of customers. (Go on, let me throw in one quick Rio 2016 analogy in my first eDelivery editorial!)
What has struck me during my first few days in the editor role at eDelivery.net is the colossal effort currently going into sorting out the practicalities of reaching ecommerce customers. Marketers and merchandisers work wonders hooking online shoppers with beautiful products, tempting deals and multiple ways to order, but winning new customers is just the start of the race. E-delivery professionals and fulfilment suppliers are focused on the marathon task (whoops another one) of getting parcels and packages into the hands of hopeful customers. Not managing that process and the crucial last mile competently, not being physically able to reach Customers A, B and C, tripping up at the finish line (last one), spells failure.
No-one has totally mastered this yet, which is why eDelivery.net’s exploration of the trials and tribulations of sector should prove so useful. Frankly I’m amazed at the rate at which e-commerce delivery innovations are coming to light. This week we have seen Amazon’s first branded cargo jet revealed and the market leader spelling out its determination to offer more loyal US customers next day delivery by investing in a comprehensive air transport network.
Over at Morrisons.com news broke this week of a fresh deal struck with its ecommerce partner Ocado. This puts the grocer in a far better financial and strategic position for growing the Morrisons.com grocery delivery customer base, in a timely and more cost efficient way. Now able to pick from their own stores as well as using Ocado’s Fulfilment Centers, this means millions more potential Morrisons.com fans are within reach.
Thinking practically too is Decathlon, which has massively improved its delivery offer by teaming with InPost and making Click & Collect from secure lockers available to shoppers. Not all products will fit the boxes, and not everyone will want to give it a go, but by simply offering this option, Decathlon is going the distance to make life easier for its customers. The lockers provide peace of mind that they can pick up their trainers, Lycra shorts and golf balls at their own convenience.
We’re intrigued by Sainsbury’s selling tea in China, via Alibaba. The mega trading promotion on Alibaba’s Tmall – 8.8 day- took place on Monday so we’re hoping Sainsbury’s will soon reveal what kind of interest it stirred up. Offering a select ‘Best of British’ range of Taste the Difference jams, teas and baby food, Sainsbury’s had a big audacious chance to get noticed in a crazily overcrowded online marketplace. Fulfilment wise, Sainsbury’s told us how it is reaching this growing band of Chinese Anglophiles – read about it here.
Elsewhere on eDelivery.net a timely reminder about planning for peaks. While the weather outside may suggest otherwise, the countdown to Christmas has begun, and Kiel Harkness, marketing director of UPS UK, Ireland and Nordics has some excellent tips on how retailers can give their supply chains an onmi-channel focus – creating continuity in the customer experience and ensuring sales aren’t lost over the hugely important festive weeks at the end of the year.
As you can tell, I’m delighted to be here and genuinely enthused by this sector. I’d like to say thanks very much to outgoing editor Sean Fleming for handing over to me so smoothly, and for taking the time to point out the themes he felt most pertinent. Like Sean, I’m keen to speak to as many retailers, supply chain experts, fulfilment specialists and suppliers as possible to unearth the most interesting, innovative developments in this fast-paced world of e-commerce fulfilment.
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Thank you, and happy reading!
- Main image by kind permission of Decathlon for media use only
- Ocado shopper image by kind permission of Ocado for media use only