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Lessons from TDC18 – the Delivery Experience Must be as Remarkable as Everything Else.

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I recently attended The Delivery Conference (TDC18) in London. If there was one takeaway from a very enlightening event, it was this: The need for brands to accelerate the pace of innovation across every aspect of the customer experience was front and centre stage.

There’s a tendency to think that once products are handed over to a courier, the work is done for the retailer, but this event was a reminder that nothing could be further from the truth. The delivery process is, in most ecommerce transactions, the only human interaction the customer experiences in the process.

A colleague described last week how delighted he is when he knows DPD is delivering; the tracking of a named driver on a Google map with a delivery slot and a text to say you’re next is hugely reassuring.

On the other hand he said he would not order from a site where he knows they use certain delivery providers who do not keep you updated, knock and run and leave goods in inappropriate places, or not at all.

The delivery experience can provide a single point of success or failure in an ecommerce transaction – but it is a bigger issue than that. The fact that some are innovating to deliver remarkable delivery experiences leaves those that are not looking decidedly second rate. That is a brand issue and a customer experience issue that, sooner or later, will see shoppers voting with their feet.

As with every aspect of the retail experience, retailers need to be sure not just that their choice of carrier understands what shoppers like and don’t like about delivery services and how they respond. Perhaps more importantly, they need to be confident that their delivery partner is committed to customer experience innovation and constantly striving to delight customers.

Right now, those that can offer convenient delivery options (including same-day and next-day where this is important), combined with real-time communication and the option of last-minute delivery alternatives are able to provide the convenient and cost effective delivery that consumers expect. But these expectations never stand still for long.

The choice here is between outsourced innovation in delivery, and sub-par experiences that impact on retail brand perception.

As Dino Rocos, Operations Director John Lewis, said at TDC: “It’s not just about transacting an order. It’s about building a relationship.”