Digital Evolution and the Fulfilment Journey

February 2019

From online retailers and ecommerce sites that want to easily get their goods to consumers, to companies that rely on high-quality delivery services, this connectivity is what makes parcel delivery fulfilment a smoother process than ever before.

As new innovations continue to be introduced, further enhancing the fulfilment process, there are more opportunities for businesses to offer a polished service for consumers and colleagues. With fresh tech, it’s clear that delivery and logistics services have come a long way in recent years.

Decades of Online Shopping

ecommerce customer journey

In order to understand the fulfilment services that you are currently using, it’s worth understanding how rapidly things have changed in the last 30 years. Although we have been shopping online for a while, with well-known names like Amazon and eBay making waves all the way back to 1995, it was only at the very end of the 1990s that the first online-only shop was launched.

By 2015, the ecommerce market in the UK was the third-largest in the world. These figures are possibly the result of changes to delivery services in 2006, when Postal delivery companies like Whistl gained new freedoms. This was the year that the postal service was deregulated by the Postal Services Commission (widely known as Postcomm).

The former government department’s decision meant that restrictions were lifted that were – unless you were Royal Mail – previously only allowing logistics and post companies to handle bulk mail in groups of 4,000 letters or more. By lifting the restrictions, it was no longer just 30% of the parcel delivery market open for competition.

The Rise of Digital

The years that followed deregulation also tallied with the growing trend towards digital tech. Apple sold 4.7 million iPhones in 2008and the early 2010s saw the launch of tablets. These innovations made it possible for consumers to check their emails on the go as well as accessing ecommerce sites via apps.

Suddenly, it was easy to order what we needed at the touch of a button. By buying on mobile in this way versus shopping in person, consumers are able to quickly access what they need. Items that would have required a trip to a store could now be snapped up from the comfort of a living room. 

As well as making things faster and more efficient, thanks to GPS tracking services, we could now also use our devices to follow the progress of our parcels. It had always been possible to call to check the status of a delivery, but now we had the answers to our questions in our hands.

Again, Amazon is leading the way when it comes to real-time tracking, most recently introducing Amazon Map Tracker to give consumers the opportunity to follow package deliveries in real time. Although this is exclusive tech for the ecommerce company, delivery companies have introduced tracking services to ensure consumers are able to gauge when they can expect their package to be delivered.

Another way the parcel fulfilment experience is being enhanced through digital tech is the option to use click and collect services and digital mailboxes. In both instances, you can order online and select where you want to pick your parcel up from, giving you the opportunity to further take control of the delivery process. 

The Future for Fulfilment

the future of ecommerce fulfilment

While there have been impressive advances thanks to the introduction of digital technology, the future of fulfilment is shaping up to go beyond mobile connectivity. Already, we are seeing goods flying through the skies.

From aviation to the emergency services, drones are being increasingly used and, while the tech is still being trialled, same-day delivery drones are not too far away. If these trials are successful, it could re-shape the way we send parcels. As well as presenting the opportunity to get packages to where they need to be quickly, there are also the potential environmental benefits should we be able to reduce the number of vans making their deliveries.

Why Fulfilment Matters

Making sure packages are delivered efficiently and smoothly is crucial for businesses. If deliveries are missed and fulfilment is failing, it can damage reputations and lose customers. Therefore, choosing a delivery company like Whistl means you are choosing a company that keeps on top of fulfilment services

Images courtesy of iStock.

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