Mid-market e-tailers and brands must differentiate to survive against the considerable might of Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. That was the message from Patrick Wall (above), founder and director of MetaPack, in his keynote speech at the Delivery Conference, which took place yesterday (January 30) in London in the UK.
According to Wall, the three main marketplaces were predicted to dominate up to 40% of the e-commerce market by 2020.
“The only way retailers and brands can avoid the dangerous middle ground in the e-commerce sector is to drive a distinct proposition,” Wall said.
“This can be based on cost, or differentiation based on specialization, range authority, brand loyalty, design or experience.”
To help create a distinct proposition, several post and carriers unveiled their plans strengthen communications with customers regarding their deliveries and to include retailer branding on customer alerts.
For example, Hermes UK announced major changes to its app and website, with greater visibility and tracking, as well as personal information about individual delivery drivers.
Royal Mail also announced a series of improvements to its parcel tracking capabilities as part of a £50m (US$71m) upgrade. By May 2018, this will enable Royal Mail to send customers photos of their deliveries in the predesignated safe place.
Looking back at peak 2017, MetaPack, a provider of e-commerce delivery technology, helped retailers, brands and carriers to deliver a total of 70 million parcels, representing an increase of 25% in delivery volumes compared with the previous year.
Steve Rowley, executive chairman at MetaPack, said, “Peak volumes far exceeded our expectations however, we were prepared and were able to scale in order to meet the demands of our retailers and carriers during the period.
“Much of this was because we have invested significantly in our technology over the past two years, which ensures that the delivery platform is robust, even during unexpectedly high peak volumes. Our healthy financial position will allow us to invest further in new products and technology throughout 2018.”
The company also announced the development of two significant new products Delivery Intelligence and a Carrier Mapping tool.
Delivery Intelligence is designed to give retailers and brands a clear picture of delivery and carrier performance in real time, providing accurate and valuable data from every stage in the delivery process.
To complement this, the Carrier Mapping tool provides instant online access to comprehensive carrier information by origin, destination and type, allowing customers to make rapid, and informed choices about carriers, services and routes.
Alexei Haigh, global head of carrier product at MetaPack, said, “Developing MetaPack Carrier Mapping has required very close cooperation with retailers, carriers and consolidators to make sure that it meets the highest expectations. Our objective was to collate the many different variables, the vast array of service terms, and the myriad of carrier capabilities into a single, authoritative solution that was straightforward and quick to use.”
Wall added, “This has been a momentous quarter for MetaPack in terms of finalizing our new product developments and bringing them to market, supporting our customers throughout the busiest peak period ever, and continuing to increase our revenues in line with our projected growth strategy.”
Elsewhere, the winners of the Delivery Excellence Awards were announced, with ReBOUND winning ‘Best Use of Returns,’ On the Dot claiming ‘Best Use of Innovation,’ and CollectPlus receiving the ‘Best Customer Experience’ award.
This year, the Delivery Conference catered for more than 1,200 delegates from the UK’s retail and delivery sectors and displayed new solutions from more than 30 sponsors and exhibitors.
January 31, 2018