Retailers and delivery companies urged to collaborate more to compete with Amazon
Retailers should differentiate more and collaborate more with delivery companies to improve the customer experience and face up to the challenges posed by Amazon and other e-commerce giants, top industry managers said at The Delivery Conference in London this week.
Patrick Wall, founder and director of conference organiser MetaPack, the international retail delivery platform, called on mid-market eCommerce retailers and brands to differentiate more in order to survive against the considerable might of Amazon, Alibaba and eBay.
In an opening keynote speech at the event, which was attended by over 1,200 delegates from the retail, brand and carrier industries, he said that the three main marketplaces were predicted to dominate up to 40% of the eCommerce market by 2020.
“The only way retailers and brands can avoid the dangerous middle ground in the eCommerce sector is to drive a distinct proposition,” he said. “This can be based on cost, or differentiation based on specialisation, range authority, brand loyalty, design or experience.”
Wall also said there was a need for retailers and delivery companies to collaborate more to improve the overall customer experience.
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman of Debenhams, agreed: “Amazon looms extremely large in our market by thinking differently and driving change. They are a player with a commitment to innovation which is quite extraordinary, and as retailers we have to add value and work out where to focus, where to invest and where to be flexible.”
Mark Holland, Supply Chain Director for online fashion retailer ASOS, told a panel discussion: “Amazon has raised the bar. It’s up to us to respond.” He highlighted how ASOS was striving to provide quality service by “focussing fully” on customers.
Several other retailers, including Dino Rocos, Operations Director for John Lewis, and Paul Anastasiou, Senior Director Development for ASDA, echoed the call for closer collaboration. Anastasiou, for example, pointed out that supermarket group ASDA had opened up its To You delivery service to third parties to benefit from operational synergies.
The winners of the Delivery Excellence Awards were also announced at The Delivery Conference. In the ‘eCommerce Retailers’ category ASOS won Best Use of Innovation and PrettyLittleThing was awarded Best Domestic or International Delivery Options. In the ‘eCommerce Delivery Partners’ category, ReBOUND won Best Use of Returns and On the Dot was awarded Best Use of Innovation, whilst CollectPlus received the Best Customer Experience award. Finally, in the ‘eCommerce’ category, Best Newcomer was awarded to BeautyBay.
The one-day event played host to a roster of high calibre speakers from key retailers and brands and from carrier organisations. In addition, delegates had the opportunity to see new solutions displayed by 33 sponsors and exhibitors, and to take part in the many networking opportunities.