Wednesday, April 5, 2017


That moment when the confirmation e-mail comes through and your heart sinks.

Tracking Number: XXXXXX
Shipped via Yodel

Just the thought of it sends a shiver down my spine – knowing that I will need to wait in all day on a week day for something to be delivered, that I may not get any other indication on what time to expect the delivery and if I even nip to the shop (a quarter of a mile away) I might miss it and have to travel 5 miles to pick up the parcel at an office (which is open inconvenient hours).

But it doesn’t have to be that way – there’s a massive opportunity for making life easier for the Consumer and the Retailer alike, and offering consumer choice in the process.

I’d call it ‘Delivery-as-a-Service’ (DaaS) and I’m surprised it’s not being done by an innovative start-up already.

When I am in the checkout process on an e-commerce site I would love to be able to choose my own preferred delivery firm – a firm with more flexible delivery hours; one who already knows a trusted neighbour to leave a parcel with; one with a more local pickup depot – rather than be at the whim of the retailer who has done a deal for all their deliveries (the supplier often having been chosen via a cost-driven ‘race to the bottom’).

As someone who often Googles a particular retailer to see who they use for deliveries (and goes elsewhere if it’s a delivery company I’ve had a bad experience with), I’d happily use a site utilising a DaaS service and would even buy an Amazon Prime style subscription to get preferential deliveries and manage any customer service queries.

The start-up would need commercial relationships with the big delivery firms and could even also do a tie-up with Amazon to open up access to the Amazon Locker estate, of which I’m a big fan and there’s a clear commercial and Customer Experience benefit to all for others to be able to deliver to the lockers.

As a further improvement I’d like to see Amazon Lockers deployed into local Royal Mail sorting stations and Post Offices – and it’s not as if there isn’t room in these often cavernous buildings like my local sorting station:

I pass this office twice daily, so being able to collect any and all deliveries from here 24 hours a day would be both a great Customer Experience and massively convenient.

No doubt some Union organisations wouldn’t be happy with the idea however – and that would definitely need working through.  If it was the first step on outsourcing some Royal Mail logistics to Amazon (who are amazing at it) it would clearly have a massive financial upside to both organisations.

The fact that I already receive some Amazon deliveries fulfilled by Royal Mail suggests that at least one of the organisations is open to working with the other!

You could also go further again by updating the tired, dated experience stuck in the 1970s of the local Post Office – turning it into an Amazon run delivery centre that would be far busier than the Doddle locations that I see at some train stations.  With the massive investment in automation and technology that Amazon would bring, it could be open 24 hours a day too.

Now I’d best go and find that ‘Sorry we missed you’ card … I have a long queue to stand in.

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