E-commerce boom in the last decade has given the Indian retail industry a new direction. The rise of this industry has created a positive ripple effect. Funds kept pouring in, plenty of jobs were created, especially in logistics, and most importantly, the convenience of home delivery and facility of returns attracted millions of consumers. However, few years down the line, the rosy picture of ‘e-commerce dream’ has begun to turn grim. The reason is that the revenues have not been as high as anticipated as the soaring logistical costs take away a major pie of the profit. Considering the logistical woes, automated parcel delivery solution by Smartbox can be the answer. However, before that we will delve deeper to know what the challenges around e-commerce delivery are and why automated parcel delivery is the need-of-the-hour.
What Consumers Say: A Survey
In the context of overall e-commerce landscape, both retailers and consumers have their own side of story. Online shoppers have been suffering due to sub-standard delivery services and lack of delivery options. A survey carried out by ‘Shutl and Retail Week’ in the UK in 2015 reveals the state-of-mind of consumers, which is equally relevant to the retail industries across the world, including India. The two key findings are below:
•42 percent respondents stated that their product delivery expectations are higher than they were before
•68 percent said that they felt discouraged about shopping online because of the lack of delivery options
These days, online shoppers want as many delivery options as possible including free or low-cost delivery and also paying premium shipping charges for faster delivery. In case of multichannel retailers, automated parcel delivery lockers or click & collect boxes may prove to be a saviour.
Persistent E-commerce Challenges: Resolving them the ‘Smart’ Way
Thousands of words have already been churned out on last mile delivery challenges. Let’s go through the major challenges at a glance that are slowing down the e-commerce businesses in India:
•Consumers in India return a large number of merchandise
•Cash-on-delivery is still the preferred mode of payment
•Postal addresses are not standardized or correct in many places
•Logistics issues in many Indian towns pose a major challenge to deliver packages
•Number of missed deliveries is quite high
To resolve the issues mentioned above, an alternate yet cost-effective delivery method can be ideal. Automated parcel delivery lockers have emerged with great potential to end both last mile delivery woes of e-commerce businesses and hassles of online shoppers. It is also a fact that many consumers are still not aware of this alternative delivery method. Another UK survey by ‘Venda’ shows that close to 73 percent of the public are not aware of self-service lockers. However, the remaining 27 percent that used this option, 62 percent of them said they want to use it again, out of which 48 percent thought this delivery method is fast and convenient.
The most encouraging result of the survey is that 76 percent of the respondents stated they would be willing to use an automated parcel delivery service regularly if that cuts the delivery time. This is where Smartbox has a huge potential in India. Delivery guys no longer need to go through the pain of finding addresses or missing deliveries. Once customers opt for Smartbox as their delivery location, the packages will be delivered to a parcel terminal located at a specific metro station, shopping mall or community centre. Customers will receive a one-time password (OTP) on their mobile, and they can collect the parcel anytime using the password. It’s a simple, seamless, cost-effective, convenient way for both consumers and e-commerce portals without compromising on the former’s privacy.
The Way Forward
Besides providing convenience to consumers, Smartbox can bring relief to delivery men too. There will be no more instances of fraudsters ordering product to be delivered at fake addresses and then stealing the packages from the delivery person. Such high security threats can be eliminated as based on consumers’ location choice, parcels will get delivered to a terminal, and there isn’t any interaction required between a consumer and the delivery person. This is as streamlined as it gets! The e-commerce partners of Smartbox will have an edge over their competitors in terms of having much higher delivery efficiency, reducing cart abandonment, winning more customers, and developing brand loyalty.