Explore Click & Collect (and more) with Tim Robinson

Founder and CEO, Doddle

Explore click & collect delivery, returns management, big data, AI, sustainability and more with Tom Robinson, who we can’t wait to welcome to the stage at Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit!

In an e-commerce driven market, last mile delivery needs to be efficient, agile, and customer focused. Bearing in mind the needs of retailers and consumers what advantages does click & collect delivery hold over other last mile solutions?

Probably not surprising that this is something I talk about a lot!

For me there are two types of benefits of click & collect – those that are obvious, direct consequences of the solution, and then those that are indirect and less less immediately apparent; and it’s actually the latter that offer some of the most compelling reasons for considering this delivery option.

Among the direct consequences, the ability to consolidate deliveries – ie. delivering 100 items to 100 homes – clearly brings significant profitability and sustainability benefits for retailers and carriers (which can be passed to consumers).  And it’s undeniable that it drives valuable footfall.  For consumers there are the obvious benefits of convenience – of not missing deliveries – and control that comes with having your goods delivered to a trusted location with hours that fit around busy lifestyles.

However, many of click & collect’s greatest benefits are indirect, and only reveal themselves once you’ve got enough data to look at longer term impacts. For example, our analysis with a group of pure play retailers showed that over a 12-month period, consumers that use click and collect services are 138% more valuable than the average, thanks to a 9% higher ABV and a 2.17x higher frequency of purchase. That insight led one pure play to start referring to PUDO customers as their ‘professional online shoppers’.

“However, many of click & collect’s greatest benefits are indirect, and only reveal themselves once you’ve got enough data to look at longer term impacts.”

But perhaps we’re only just starting to appreciate the biggest competitive advantage click & collect potentially offers.  And that’s one of customer loyalty in a future in which sustainability will dominate purchasing decisions.  Our own research shows that in the future 50% of consumers hope to exclusively support retailers that offer a wide range of sustainable delivery options such as click & collect (Doddle Pulse, YouGov research, 2019). 

Returns management is providing new challenges and opportunities for delivery providers and retailers. In your opinion, what role will new technologies such as big data, IoT and AI play in the future of reverse logistics and returns management?

That’s three huge buzzwords right there!  And that, in part, sums up the biggest challenge for retailers right now.  We’ve never been so data rich or had so much technology supposedly simplifying the shopping or reverse logistics experience. 

But the end result is that many retailers are drowning and there’s a still a pretty startling lack of meaningful analysis of what that data actually means or how it could and should start to change the relationship retailers have with their customers.

For instance we still see retailers treating the return of £250 pairs of shoes in the same way as £3 pairs of socks – crazy in a landscape in which every item is trackable and in which retailers could and should have far tighter returns rules around high-ticket items.

“We’ve never been so data rich or had so much technology supposedly simplifying the shopping or reverse logistics experience… But the end result is that many retailers are drowning.”

Equally, retail lags way behind in the way it still treats all customers equally – regardless of loyalty or behaviour.  If you fly more with an airline, you get more air miles because they want you to feel valued.  Conversely, imagine you went to an ‘all you can eat’ buffet and filled up a suitcase of food to take away – I’m not sure your behaviour would be tolerated for too long.  So why do most retailers retail a one size fits all approach to online returns?

Used creatively, intelligent algorithms and rich data on customer journeys, behaviours and returns motivations, offer the keys not only to fewer returns, and greater control over the returns cycle but even more significantly they open the door to enriched relationships with the your most valuable and ‘best behaved’ customers.

“Why do most retailers retail a one size fits all approach to online returns?”

Growing customer awareness, regulation changes and the need to drive profits has brought sustainability to the forefront of strategy in the logistics sector in recent years. To what extent is it fair to describe click & collect delivery as an as-yet overlooked last mile delivery solution?

It’s certainly a fair description when you consider some of the major English speaking e-commerce markets.  For instance in Australia less than half (42%) of online retailers offer click & collect solutions with even fewer (38%) offering click & return.

However, click & collect is far from overlooked in many other markets.  In Norway it’s responsible for the fulfilment of a staggering 97% of e-commerce orders and in China 30-40% of online shopping is fulfilled through click & collect. 

And consumers here are telling us that they’re actively looking to retailers to give them more sustainable delivery options like click & collect.  Only 3% of UK online shoppers currently believe retailers give them enough sustainable delivery options and 24% are annoyed that home delivery is often positioned as a default delivery option (Doddle Pulse, YouGov research, March 2019). 

So the precedent is there.  And the consumer will is there. All that we’re waiting for is retailers to start positioning and pricing click & collect as an attractive primary delivery option rather than the ‘also ran’ to a home delivery default.

“Only 3% of UK online shoppers currently believe retailers give them enough sustainable delivery options.”

Tim founded Doddle in March 2014, with a vision to make delivery more sustainable and convenient for consumers, retailers and carriers through click & collect. Prior to establishing Doddle, Tim spent 10 years in executive roles in logistics, transport and freight in both the UK and internationally.

Tim will be speaking at Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit, taking place in Copenhagen on the 23 – 24 March 2020.

Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit is the must-attend summit uniting logistics and postal operators from across EMEA.