The UK supports the most mature ecommerce market in Europe. However, one of retailers’ greatest challenges is ensuring successful, good value deliveries that leave the customer with a positive experience that encourages loyalty.

The recent Christmas parcel madness saw many problems, the most notable of which being the collapse of City Link. Which leads us to ask what is going to change in 2015 to avoid disruptions.

Take to the skies!

Many have become excited by drone delivery, an idea encouraged by Amazon Prime Air. Science-fiction enthusiasts will further enjoy pairing drones with the self-driving technology research that is going into cars. In reality, drone delivery is quite a fanciful idea.

On price, drone delivery cannot compete with the white van person. The weight limit for some of the drones in testing is 2-3 KG which mean it can handle very few deliveries without needing to return to the depot which ultimately means it is inefficient. Not to mention the financial loss from drones that go missing, either through collisions or miscreant recipients.


Droning on: Despite the hype, drones are unlikely to be
a realistic solution for delivering ecommerce


In reality, drones will provide more value through tasks such as undertaking surveys and inspections that otherwise would be time-consuming, expensive or dangerous to by handled be a human.

This is the prediction of Deloitte, who released their Technology, Media and Telecommunication Predictions for 2015. Within it, Deloitte also detail the growth in click and collect will amount to half a million orders in 2015 in Europe. A click and collect order is one that is placed online and is then delivered to a local store or location for pick up by the customer.

Lockers to the rescue?

shutterstock_123066988Click and collect helps to reduce wastage produced by failed deliveries when recipients were not available to accept the order. It is reported that failed deliveries cost UK retailers £851m per year.

Naturally, companies like Amazon are exploring this market with a locker system. A customer chooses a local Amazon locker location and once delivered they can recover their order by entering a unique code.

Online to high street

In addition to e-commerce stores providing pick-up availability at their physical branches, some companies are providing access to a network of retailers for orders to be delivered to. CollectPlus is arguably the most well-known provider of click-and-collect functionality.

There are startups within the space that are looking to disrupt a market which is monopolised by larger couriers and provider. CornerDrop is a London-based startup with founding rounds on Seedr that is looking to increase availability to smaller store owners.

In 2015, the movement towards click and collect services will be required for retailers to remain competitive in a market area that is dictated primarily by customer demand and competition rather than business value.

tom_robertshaw_meanbeeTom Robertshaw is co-founder of Meanbee Ltd, a Bath-based ecommerce agency that specialises in the development and design of complex Magento Enterprise stores. You can follow him on Twitter @bobbyshaw


Tom Robertshaw