Retail is still in uncharted territory. The newness may have worn off long ago, but the way we live (and shop) remains in flux. In a world where hybrid-working setups are becoming the norm, shoppers continue to seek new and more convenient delivery options that suit their changing routines. Retailers are therefore having to get up to speed with new shopper needs constantly.

Innovation in delivery has proved crucial to keeping up with what consumers need. That was demonstrated clearly during lockdown, as alternative delivery methods became much more mainstream and consumers got used to picking up orders at the curbside or through socially distanced deliveries. That increased demand for alternative options, which led many retailers to introduce services including click and collect or other Pick Up / Drop Off (PUDO) delivery methods.

And now, as many Aussie retailers have implemented the tech to allow customers to collect orders in the way which best suits them, they need to understand how to get the most from these new services and make the user experience as compelling as possible.

Here are some essential tactics for retailers to improve their delivery customer experience and get the most value from their available alternative delivery options.

Promote across customer touchpoints

The first priority should be to ensure that customers know about these newly implemented fulfillment services. The best way to make that happen is through promotion across customer touch points. You can split touch points into three categories; before, during and after purchase. All three are equally important in driving customer adoption of new delivery methods.

For pre-purchase promotion, be sure to include information on the offerings in advertisements, company blogs and social media posts. Flipping the process to consider deliveries and returns as consumer motivators before an order is even placed can deliver big results – think homepage banners and promotions advertising alternative delivery options or free returns, for example.

As the service gets used more frequently, positive experiences will also begin to appear in customer reviews – further encouraging new shoppers to try it out. Once the customer has made their way to the check-out section, clear communication detailing their pickup options (and crucially, avoiding a default selection of home delivery!) encourages customers to pick the fulfilment option that’s right for them.

Ensure convenient and timely collection

Consumers picking up their click and collect order rely upon clear communication. Where the pickup points are located, when they can expect their order to be available, et cetera.  These click and collect options offer flexibility where shoppers can be confident that their item is secured, without the uncertainty of waiting at home for a delivery – it’s available for them to collect when it’s convenient for them. Many shoppers take advantage of convenient pickup spots by planning pickups around regular trips like the post office, supermarket and shopping centre – this behaviour is often called “trip-chaining”. To make sure collections are genuinely convenient and can be woven into other tasks, customers need easy access to information about business hours and collection times that suit their needs.

Explore strategies beyond click & collect

Australia Post has revealed that the rise in convenient collection points as opposed to home or work deliveries has led to consumers exploring new options beyond click & collect. For example, Parcel Lockers have experienced 12.4 percent YOY growth, PO Boxes have experienced 28.3 percent growth and other collection points have experienced 26.7 percent growth.

Australia Post’s Collect and Return network is the largest PUDO service in Australia, set up to help brands deliver on expanding consumer choice. This is only the beginning, as hybrid working conditions continue to alter shoppers’ schedules. In order to stay ahead of the curve, it’s vital to begin exploring new ways to add yet another layer of convenience for your shoppers.

Our world is continuing to change at a rapid pace, and the retail industry is feeling the impacts of these changes quite prominently. Retailers did an incredible job at adapting to the changes brought on by the pandemic, however, as Australia continues to settle into the new normal, there’s still an unequivocal need for new, innovative ecommerce options. Diversifying fulfillment options was a strong first step, but it’s not one that can be set and forgotten. Regularly checking in with customers and evolving processes to suit their needs will only pay off positively in the long run. 

Justin Dery is CEO for Asia Pacific at Doddle.