Almost a week has passed since the MetaPack Delivery Conference 2015 but it was so rich in content we’ve still got more to talk about. The afternoon saw a panel formed of Michael Kliger, Vice President International at eBay enterprise, Ulrich Dehmer, Global Program Manager TMS at Kuehne+Nagel, and Antoine Routaboul, Business Development Manager at Hermes Fulfilment. The three pooled their knowledge to discuss the notion of 3PLs bringing value added services to the market.
Kicking off the talk, Routaboul commented that innovation is absolutely key and that eCommerce companies have to evolve. He proposed that this can be internally, making structural improvements, or externally by speaking to Clients and prospects to identify their needs. In doing so, you can accommodate for them in your business.
“eCommerce is a world of highly accelerated progress.”
Business Development Manager, Hermes
Discussions earlier in the day covered innovations in domestic deliveries this year with new delivery options popping up like bluebells in spring. On this topic Dehmer was of the opinion that quick delivery was not necessarily the main priority for most consumers and that reliability was considered more important. This links to what has been a talking point across the entire conference: big data. If companies invest time and resources into sourcing more information about their customers, they can not only tailor the customer’s online journey, but they can also provide updated delivery information. For instance, if a parcel is unable to be delivered on the specified date, the company should email the customer to inform them of the revised date.
Moving away from domestic deliveries, though, the focus of the panel was in the as yet untapped international market which holds a lot of potential for whomever can reach out to them first. More than a ⅓ of French and Germans make orders from UK-based retailers, but the fear of difficult returns is one of the primary reasons for incomplete sales. Hermes, as well as other retailers and carriers, is gradually expanding into the pan-European market by creating a parcel shop network across twenty countries which should make returns less of a hassle.
Kliger commented that, in order to successfully expand globally, you need a roadmap as there are several little nuances in moving forward. Delivery is just one small part of global expansion, with details like carriers, payments methods, regulations and taxes needing to be considered too. He also pointed out that it isn’t just a matter of exporting UK operations to another European country because there is a vast difference in culture. For instance, China tends to favour info-heavy websites and LiveChat compared to the UK’s often more streamlined sites. In Poland and Russia the preferred payment method is ‘cash on delivery’ which hasn’t quite taken hold in the UK.
“Global expansion is a journey. One step at a time.”
Vice President International, eBay enterprise
When asked what the future holds for delivery, the panel were in agreement that the steering wheel should be handed over to the customer so they could personally tailor every part of the delivery. The example given was of airline self-check-in machines: a decade ago few people understood why checking yourself in should be an option when there were staff available to do it for them. Then people started to realise that by using self-check-in they could pick their own seat and tailor the flight to suit them. The same will eventually apply to the delivery sector and, while it will take some time for this to be a streamlined process, it is definitely looking to be the way forward with the first signs evident in in-flight technology.