Courier companies are such cheeky chappies, aren’t they? We do love their little cards that they post instead of actually knocking on your door. Their 48-hour delivery windows (remember to book a week’s annual leave). And their inventive places to leave your parcel, like on the roof.

Quirky chaps, aren’t they? Oh, how we love them.

Well, now a new survey from Accenture has picked out finding the right delivery partners as a critical success factor for eTailers.


The study, Differentiating Delivery: How to Win the eCommerce Battle, looks at the delivery market – which is as competitive as a dad at sports day – and identifies strategies for postal companies to retain and gain market share.

Brody Buhler, who heads up Accenture’s global post and parcel business, said, “eTailers are chasing a rapidly expanding market, in which delivery is becoming a critical differentiator and a strategic priority.

“There is no doubt that eTailers are getting strategic about delivery and so should parcel-delivery organisations.”

According to the research, two-thirds (66%) of consumers have picked a retailer based on the number of delivery options, while 76% consider an online seller’s return policies before ordering. Surprisingly few pick delivery companies that leave their parcels with the neighbour’s rabbit.

Accenture found that 26% of respondents said they use at least three providers to ensure the best price and to reduce the chance of lost packages or delays. Most eTailers (79%) prefer to work with multiple providers.

Accenture said: “While an overwhelming majority (83%) of businesses surveyed reported being satisfied with their current primary delivery provider, the study found that many eTailers are turning to marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to reach more consumers and increase revenue, increasing competition in an already crowded marketplace. In fact, the research found that 69% of eTailers reported earning 41% of eCommerce revenue through an online marketplace.”

Buhler added: “Not only are marketplaces moving into the delivery space, but major retailers are now sidestepping delivery providers in favour of their own services.”

The study concludes that staying competitive will mean delivery companies focusing on five key areas: better return options, price intelligence, addressing customers’ specific needs, offering cross-border solutions, and ‘keeping customers happy’.

That final one presumably means not leaving your parcel in the recycling bin on collection day. Now that would be revolutionary.

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Author Chris Painter

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