A world without e-commerce? Without online shopping? Hardly imaginable. The e-commerce sector is growing all the time. And it's hard to imagine life without our customers:
According to a CEP study, the new record for shipments was broken in 2020: a full 4.05 billion shipments were sent in Germany. It's no wonder that more and more e-commerce companies are sprouting up and fighting for the market leader position. Parcel service providers are also constantly expanding their range of services.
As a result, customer requirements are increasing. In the past, our customers were already satisfied when they received their package in one piece, but today many more factors play a role. For example, around half of customers check the delivery options and shipping solutions on offer before they even look at the products. Things like express shipping, easy returns, and accurate delivery time information are also becoming more important. This shows: The last mile has a major impact on whether the online shopping experience is remembered positively.
It couldn't be better for the customers. After all, they are spoiled for choice. They can virtually pick and choose who will be given the honorable task of delivering their valuable goods... And are therefore becoming more demanding. The CEP (courier, express and parcel) service providers, on the other hand, are virtually forced to adapt to this development. What are these new services? And why they are so relevant for the success of your e-commerce? Let us show you now:
What customers want...
... is not always easy to figure out. With regard to shipping, however, a look back to the mid-1970s is sufficient to understand the development of customer requirements: UPS, DPD and DHL expanded their business model to Germany during this period. At that time, however, the focus was only on parcels sent to business customers. As a result, the delivery rate was just under 100% due to the extra delivery areas for businesses. Achieving this figure today? Hardly imaginable.
Even delivery trucks used to have a different purpose: they brought goods in bulk to middlemen, who then delivered them locally to the end customers. Ordering online as a private individual? Not an issue at the time.
But these large delivery vehicles, which emit huge amounts of CO2, and the constant accessibility of those being delivered to are simply no longer in keeping with the times. It's no wonder that customer requirements are evolving - and so is the delivery process.
As a retailer, simply standing by and thoughtlessly shipping in large, environmentally harmful delivery trucks is no longer an option. Customers want more. Customers want CEP service providers who understand how to meet their requirements. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Time window delivery: This is how "flexible" works
There's no question about it: all of our lives are becoming more and more dynamic. Would we like to take a short trip to Hamburg? No problem! A new café has opened across the street? Let's try it out - we can also work from there!
Although we tend to work more in a home office, that doesn't mean we're always at home. Working from anywhere - not just from home - is becoming increasingly popular. The shipping service providers are also noticing this: it often happens that the customer is not there and they have to take the parcel away again or drop it off at the next parcel collection point. This is not only inconvenient for the driver and the customer, but also reduces customer satisfaction. After all, who wants to make the trip to the nearest parcel center just to pick up a package that couldn't be delivered?
That's exactly why some parcel service providers are adapting to the new challenges. How? Through time window deliveries. This means that your customers can choose a specific time window (around 12:00 to 14:00) in which they want their parcel to be delivered. This way, they can have a leisurely breakfast in the morning and go for their coffee at lunchtime - without having to worry about missing their eagerly awaited package. DHL and even Amazon now offer this option, while UPS and DPD still rely on the "old-school" delivery times (09:00 to 18:00). But the latter is not an option for us: At Liefergrün it is a matter of course that the delivery adapts to the daily schedule of your customers - and not the other way around.
Ultimately, everyone benefits from this: First and foremost, of course, your customer. Then your shipping service provider, because the drivers don't have to make extra trips. And you: Your customers are more satisfied with your company thanks to flexible delivery. A win-win-win situation!
And the numbers speak for themselves, too: pwc, for example, found in a representative study that delivery in a self-determined time window plays a major role for a full 72% of respondents...
Tracking link: Knowledge is power
How many times have we sat at home eagerly waiting for our parcel? Only to realise with disillusionment that we have spent hours looking forward to it in vain - because it didn't arrive until the evening...
The sad truth is that many of your customers feel the same way. That's why 90% of respondents to a pwc study attach great importance to shipment tracking. This is possible with a so-called tracking link. This way, they know where their parcel is at all times, have full transparency and can plan their day precisely - without having to worry about missing their parcel. This is also evident in practice: according to pwc, nine out of ten online shoppers use tracking information. So there seems to be some hidden potential here!
At Liefergrün, we also offer GPS live tracking as soon as the package has left the micro-hub. The biggest advantage here is, once again, increased customer satisfaction. The study of the e-commerce guide also confirms this: 52% of those surveyed consider real-time tracking to be an important and relieving innovation on the last mile. This way, your customers will never again look forward in vain... but will know exactly how to time their anticipation.
Sustainable delivery: More than just hype
Yes, sustainability has been on everyone's lips for some time now. We are increasingly eating a vegetarian diet, paying attention to our ecological footprint and prefer to buy locally. Another option to do the environment a favor: Conscious online shopping. Your customers have already recognized this: In a representative population survey, for example, a full 86% of respondents said they would opt for green shipping. According to another study, 63% expected CO2-neutral delivery.
For a parcel ordered from the online store, an average of 840g of CO2 equivalents is produced. And 540g of that is on the last mile... That's also the reason why we at Liefergrün have focused on exactly that: Optimizing the last mile.
So what does this mean for CEP service providers? They have to act. They have to follow suit and make sure that their deliveries are more environmentally friendly. And indeed, things are slowly moving forward: DHL offers DHL GoGreen, Hermes is gradually switching to electric vans and we at Sendit.Green use electric vans and cargo bikes exclusively. Want to find out more about how sustainable the local delivery companies really are? Take a look here.
The trend is clear: sustainability is no longer just hype. It's something we can't take lightly. While many companies compensate for the CO2 they emit during delivery, electric vans and cargo bikes, on the other hand, are the non-plus-ultra. The reason: the less CO2 produced in the first place, the better. Avoidance is always more environmentally friendly than compensation.
Same-day delivery: the faster, the better
As mentioned above: Our world is becoming increasingly fast-paced. We have become accustomed to not having to wait long for something we want. Once we have decided on something we would like, we can hardly wait to actually hold the object of desire in our hands. Are these luxury problems? Perhaps. But as online retailers, should we ignore them? Out of the question.
The majority of Germans(59%) want next-day delivery. The younger the delivery customers are, the more important this option is to them. Moreover, they would even tend to pay more for next-day delivery than for flexibility. This can be seen at Amazon: The online shipping giant has long understood that next-day delivery is what makes end customers* happy. And, as we all know, is incredibly successful at it. Takeaway for you: Amazon isn't so popular because it's the "best" provider... It's primarily because customers get what they want quickly.
This also shows: The trend is moving strongly in the direction of speed. In order to be competitive, retailers must rethink their services and adapt them as necessary. This is also reflected in the importance of the "one-click buy," which requires a single click to complete a purchase. So waiting a long time for packages is no longer an option. And the good news is that no one has to.
More and more CEP service providers are offering next-day or even same-day delivery, where customers receive their parcel the next day at the latest. We at Liefergrün also know that same-day delivery is exactly what we need in a world where everything is getting faster and faster. That's why we offer the shortest possible delivery times, so that even late-night orderers can receive their delivery the next day.
It's clear that customer demands are increasing. And, quite honestly, who's surprised? After all, we're all happy when our parcel arrives at home as quickly as possible...
Plannable returns process: finding the good in the bad
Of course, it's the worst-case scenario: the ordered product doesn't fit, doesn't like it, or has to be returned for other reasons. As much as you don't want that as an online retailer, it's important that you handle it well and make it as easy as possible for your customers to say goodbye to the product.
First of all, the ideal case would be that as few returns as possible are caused; simply for the sake of the environment. Nevertheless, sometimes it simply cannot be avoided, despite conscious consumption. And then it's time to act - as some shipping service providers have already discovered. Returns are not only annoying for you, but especially for the customers. Just imagine: You've been looking forward to a product for ages, only to find out that it's not as great as you thought... What you need least at that moment are annoying returns.
The best thing a CEP service provider can do in this case: Pick up returns at the end consumer's home to shorten the return time and speed up the flow of goods. There is nothing more pleasant than not having to drive to the nearest parcel store as a customer, but instead having the return picked up at a time of your choosing. This is exactly what two-thirds of those surveyed by pwc would like to see. They would even be prepared to pay an average of €2.22 more to accept returns at the door. Not surprisingly, we at Liefergrün already offer this feature and make the last mile of the returns process emission-free...
According to the motto: Nobody likes returns. So why not make them as pleasant as possible?
Increasing customer requirements = increasing opportunities!
At the end of the day, only one thing counts: Customers want to be as satisfied as possible. So it's only logical that you, as an online retailer, adapt to their wishes - so that customer satisfaction increases as much as the demands on your company!
At Liefergrün, we too have already noticed the immense potential of the new trends in the CEP market. And we have integrated all the trends mentioned here into our delivery process. Why? Because we believe that customers deserve more: More flexibility, more transparency, more speed. And because we don't turn a blind eye when customers tell us what they want. You shouldn't either, by the way...
You want to know more about why we deliver the way we do? What kind of system is behind Liefergrün? And how you can make your customers even happier? Then feel free to contact us!