The customer paradox of delivery: between customer requirements and CSR issues

The customer paradox of delivery: between customer requirements and CSR issues

With the explosion of e-commerce and more recently the health crisis, the importance given by customers to the delivery offer and their demand for the service offered to them are growing. However, the climate emergency and the adoption of a more responsible mode of consumption are pushing individuals to favor more ethical and environmentally friendly alternatives. How can retail players reconcile these two issues, which at first glance appear contradictory?

Increasingly demanding customer requirements

In 2021, 4 of the top 6 criteria for buying online of customers concern the delivery offer: the delivery price arrives in 2th position behind the price of the product, then appear the delivery times (3th), delivery services available (5th) and return conditions (6th).

Faced with the new standards expected by consumers, companies seek to make delivery at the service of their brand strategy and new standards are being established around the proposed offer: deliveries in 1 day or even in a few hours, free deliveries for a minimum of purchase, flexibility in the delivery slots and in the return policies.

CSR issues increasingly present in purchasing decisions

At the same time, and so a priori paradoxically, customer concerns about consuming more responsibly are increasingly topical. Consumers are looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives and are ready to change the way they consume, including in terms of delivery: 53% of respondents from theFEVAD 2020 study state that they take environmental, responsible or ethical elements into account in their online consumption habits and 71% choose to group their order into a minimum of packages in order to limit deliveries.

If the environmental sensitivity of customers thus pushes the delivery market to offer more “green” solutions, the environmental issue of delivery cannot be reduced to a simple customer expectation.

Legislation that pushes companies to work to respond to the ecological emergency

Last mile delivery represents today a quarter of city CO2 emissions. By 2030, the number of delivery vehicles is expected to grow by 36%, resulting in an increase in CO2 emissions and urban congestion of more than 30%.

Faced with these growing problems of pollution and congestion caused by delivery, French legislation forces delivery players to make a transition to a more environmentally friendly model. The Mobility Orientation Law 2019 introduced low-emission vehicle allowances for private fleets from 2022, with a gradual increase in allowances until 2030.

Retail players, for the sake of complying with regulations or to make their CSR posture tangible, must change their delivery service to meet the environmental challenge.

First actions to reduce the environmental impact of deliveries

E-commerce brands have understood the need to take ecological issues into account in their delivery service: 80% have already implemented or are implementing environmental initiatives, by reducing the environmental footprint of their activity or taking eco-responsible approaches into account in the selection of their partners.

So while in 2018 50% of packages on average turned out to be empty, Cdiscount invested in a 3D packaging machine in 2019 to optimize the dimensions of its packages and thus reduce its consumption of boxes.

After having worked for reduce your carbon footprint by 23% per cup of coffee, Nespresso has expressed its commitment to sustainable development in its delivery service: by using natural gas, electric or clean transport and by continuously optimizing their logistics routes.

Amazon, by offering its customers an Amazon Locker delivery or discounts if they choose a “slower” delivery, goes further and offers comfort, an opportunity to save and to play an active role in reducing their costs. environmental impact.

A market conducive to innovations in the logistics dimension

Faced with polymorphous challenges, it would be appropriate to understand delivery as a constantly evolving service. The happy news is that this sector seems to be a fertile ground for innovation, with solutions emerging to meet the twin challenges of environmental impact and customer experience.

Progress is first palpable in the logistics dimension of delivery. River transport is one of the solutions identified to meet the challenges of congestion and pollution in cities and meeting delivery deadlines. Franprix has invested in the river since 2012 to distribute its 300 stores in Paris and its inner suburbs, and this delivery method is starting to be used for home delivery. Bricorama is preparing to deliver its customers from several districts of Paris by river thanks to its partner Fludis. In the same way, with its new warehouse in the port of Limay-Porcheville (78), Ikea seeks to achieve its ambitions of green delivery.

Other innovations continue to develop in the logistics dimension: delivery by drone, with the opening in 2019 by La Poste of its second commercial line by drone to serve inaccessible villages, and delivery by autonomous vehicle. For example, Udelv launched autonomous vans in the United States in 2018 with lockers that customers can unlock via an app for grocery shopping delivery. The promise: to cut delivery costs and times in half.

A dynamic of innovation across the entire value chain

However, no one can summarize the innovation around delivery in the logistics aspect. The step of receiving the package is also a moment of truth during which it is key to meet customer expectations. In order to make delivery a “seamless” moment, the service Amazon car delivery offered in the United States allows the delivery person to open the trunk of the customer’s vehicle to drop off his package. On the strength of its recent fundraising, the start-up Choose me aims to develop throughout France a network of proximity relay points at individuals called “Keepers”. The platform, which now has 41,000 “Keepers”, offers a double promise: the reduction of pollution linked to the multiplication of journeys in the event of an absent customer and the end of delivery problems for the customer.

So do retailers necessarily have to choose between meeting ever more customer requirements and implementing a strong CSR policy? Probably yes, because although the innovations to come should make it possible to reconcile the two, don’t the brands also have the role of developing their customer base towards more reasoned and responsible consumption?

An article written by Marnie Greusard and Pierre Brun

Do you want to discuss with the experts in your sector of activity to think about the delivery service that meets the CSR challenges and the requirements of your customers? Contact us!

Read the 1st article in our delivery series: What place for the delivery service in the strategy of retailers?

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