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Putting customers in control of their deliveries (by retail-week)

For years the model has been the same – you buy something online and then you simply have to wait for it to be delivered.

Yes, in recent years there has been greater communication with customers about their delivery – DPD has led the way with our Predict service that gives customers advanced notification of their one-hour delivery slot.

But, all too often, after the excitement of clicking to complete an order online, the customer slips into a murky twilight zone of nothingness, until the parcel appears out of the blue on their doorstep or a card is shoved through the letterbox.

In fact, in many cases, the only conversation customers have with their delivery company is the one that starts: “Where’s my parcel?”

But things are about to change. Before the parcel gets anywhere near a delivery van in future, the customer will be calling the shots. It is our belief that, the first conversation retailers and delivery companies will be having with their customers will be: “When would you like your parcel delivered?”

Customers in control

DPD’s new app, called ‘Your DPD’, is the first real step towards this new reality, giving customers complete control over their parcel delivery. Users can set-up a series of preferences for those occasions when they are not going to be at home for a delivery.

These can include specifying their chosen neighbour to receive deliveries, a designated ‘safe place’ on their own property with a photograph, and their preferred DPD Pickup parcel shop for parcels to be taken to – all of which will be relayed to their driver.

The app even allows customers to request that drivers always avoid certain times of the day, such as the school run.

And, in what is an industry first, new smartphone geo-location-based technology can automatically alert the DPD driver when an app user returns home. So, if a parcel couldn’t be successfully delivered earlier in the day, the driver can now make another delivery before they finish their round.

Why does this matter? It matters because the delivery is now an integral part of the online sales process. It isn’t a separate adjunct anymore. Delivery is instrumental to the overall customer experience and a key factor in whether a customer will return to the site to shop again. Therefore, handing control of that part of the online shopping experience over to the customer represents a key moment in the short history of internet retailing.

Later this year, DPD will launch another unique new service called Precise, which will allow customers to choose their own one-hour delivery slots each time, in advance, at the point of sale or via the app.

All that remains is for retailers to decide what kind of conversations they want to be having in future with their customers about parcel delivery.

Original article by retail-week can be found here: http://www.retail-week.com/analysis/retail-voice/opinion-putting-customers-in-control-of-their-deliveries/7007997.article?blocktitle=Retail-Week-Voice&contentID=18814

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