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Are Mobile Phones the New Flagship Store?
Localz, a software company in Melbourne, is making waves with their last mile solution. Localz recently hosted a Retails Leaders Breakfast Panel on Collection vs Delivery in both Sydney and Melbourne. Jonathan Reeve, a retail expert, and author of Retail’s Last Mile, chaired the panel discussions with over 100 people attending each event.
Tony Mellick OAM, Laura Doonin, Justin Williams and Kelly Slessor (Sydney Panel) and Lee Ashton, Paul Sonneveld, Tony and Justin (Melbourne Panel) had a strong discussion around the disruptions we see in both collection and delivery and whether or not this is meeting customer expectations. Tony Mellick, the logistics sector specialist, raised some interesting points on how regulation has not yet caught up with the gig economy, which gave us some robust discussion on how the gig economy has disrupted the customer experience. Justin Williams (Innovation Leader) noted that “the disruptor to the disruptors will be compliance”.
Kelly Slessor (Founder and CEO of ShopYou) said, “Uber has trained us on what to expect. We know to value our time because Uber has trained us to value every minute that we are waiting for a ride.” Transparency on services is paramount in this age of information.
Justin provided insight into his recent experience sharing his Uber account with his daughter so that her perception of that transport is that it is free. This ability to share a family account, order online and nominate someone to collect from the store is now an experience that has extended to other purchases within his family, as a learned and expected retail experience
“The mobile phone is now your flagship store,” stated Laura Doonin (Partner and Director, Moustache Republic). This triggered a discussion on what this means for the last mile of the customer experience, in particular around returns. Laura noted that although returns are a high cost for retailers, customers who return the most are shown to also be the highest spenders, even after returns are taken into account. Kelly provided some insights into how retailers are looking at new types of concierge services to re-shape the customer collection and return experience, helping to increase the footfall to a shopping centre.
Lee Ashton (Online Fulfillment Manager, Myer) pointed out that in the Australian market, particularly in rural areas there is a higher propensity to collect items as the consumer will be driving into their nearest town/city and collect all the items they need. The ability to do a click and collect in this case saves them from coming in only to find the item is not available. This gives control back to the customer, unlike delivery, which leaves the customer with no choice as to when the item will arrive vs their own availability.
Localz has been working with Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s to help provide a frictionless experience for their click and collect customers (using Localz Collection software). The ability for store attendants to be notified when a customer is on their way has ensured that the items are ready and waiting at the collection desk. Store attendants are also reminded of any items that need to be fetched from the chiller or if there are items that require a signature from an adult (alcohol and cigarettes). The customer is also informed of this requirement beforehand.
Paul Sonneveld (Founder and CEO, MerchantSpring) mentioned that the Wesfarmers acquisition of Catch.com.au opened up an ability to have micro warehouses across the Wesfarmers chain stores (Target, Kmart, etc) that will give both entities growth with increased traffic to stores when consumers come to collect and therefore providing the stores with an opportunity to entice further buying.
The panel all agreed that collections and delivery are both an important part of the mix, that consumers want choices and those choices need to work seamlessly. These elevated expectations (with ANZ consumers having the highest level of expectations across the world) from consumers are forcing retailers to step up their game in the last mile of service. And Localz ability to provide an Uber-like experience with real-time tracking for delivery and in-store notifications for collections plays right into the heart of what the consumer expects.
Want to hear more about the uberisation of customer experiences? Then be sure to catch Nimmity Zappert, VP of APAC for Localz as she gives her keynote address on ‘How Uber has re-trained your customers’ ‘ at the upcoming iMedia Brand Summit in New Zealand (24 – 26 July).