Retailers are on the brink of one of the most intensely anticipated sales events on record. To stay ahead of the curve, many have already implemented innovative tech to help arm themselves for the months ahead, but the job doesn’t stop there.

During months of lockdowns, social distancing and store closures, many shoppers turned to digital channels. This pandemic-induced spike in demand generated an 82 percent increase in ecommerce year-on-year – effectively jumping the industry a decade into the future within months. Looking ahead, online shopping volumes are expected to continue to rise towards the biggest peak in online shopping history.

This rise in online orders has also prompted a jump in delivery volumes, putting strain on an already overburdened delivery network. However, it’s not solely home delivery that today’s shoppers are after. Customers are seeking convenient and cost-friendly delivery options which fit within their usual schedule, with out-of-home delivery options such as Click & Collect and pick-up points high on the list.

Retailers need to refocus their attention to the fulfillment arm of their operation to provide alternative solutions, as simply getting orders into the hands of customers quickly and seamlessly has never been more important. Doddle research reveals that 59 percent of consumers who have used alternative delivery options say it’s because they can collect their delivery while completing other tasks. These services will prove business-critical after the 12 December Christmas cut-off for home delivery.

Alternative delivery options give retailers the opportunity to enhance the shopping experience for customers, boost brand reputation and encourage repeat purchases. Alternative delivery methods increase brand loyalty by allowing collection to align with a customer’s daily schedule. Shoppers feel like they’re in control, and quickly become habitual users. An added bonus is that enabling carriers to deliver many items to one location also means that the goods are in the customers’ hands faster.

Tech enhancements add to this streamlined customer experience. Today’s savvy retailers are implementing technology in all aspects of their business, from ecommerce and point-of-sale to stock control and ordering. So, why should the fulfillment arm be any different?

Retailers can expand their alternative delivery options by investing in their own click & collect processes, as well as outsourcing to trusted providers, such as Australia Post Collect. Retailers with a large network of physical stores can leverage their existing footprint, while those with limited locations can benefit from an already established network.

Importantly, retailers should ensure that the data gained from alternative delivery options is used to complement existing customer profiles. Building a comprehensive picture of customer preferences and habits means that you are able to create a superior customer experience from the moment a shopper lands on your site until the after the product is in their hands.

As the accelerated ecommerce revolution continues, retailers will need to deliver outstanding shopping experiences as well as physical goods. Alternative delivery options are a vital part of this mission.

Justin Dery is CEO for Asia Pacific at Doddle