Meeting customer expectations through speedy fulfillment is a challenge for many e-tailers. Martin Newman offers advice on running a private delivery operation.
Delivery is a huge source of frustration. I feel like I’d be better off buying my own fleet of trucks rather than dealing with the major carriers here. What are the keys to running a successful private fulfillment operation? Have you seen any retailers that have taken this step and succeeded?
Very few retailers have taken this on themselves. What some have done such as Net-A-Porter or my client Thomas Pink is to buy their own branded vans and offer a same day service or even delivery at a specific time-slot within a major catchment area such as London. But this would be pretty much impossible to roll out nationally as it wouldn’t be cost effective. There needs to be enough demand to deliver an ROI from this and so it works well where there’s a big population base. There is a company in the UK called Shutl and they are rolling out ‘Shutl now’ a guaranteed delivery within 90mins in the M25/London area, and ‘Shutl later’ where the customer chooses a one hour delivery slot. They’ve been trailing this with Argos. This will be rolled out nationally. I’m sure a fulfillment company in Australia could provide a similar service.