Home delivery: One size doesn’t fit all

One of Descartes’ most important insights Recent study of consumer sentiment towards sustainable home delivery practices was that consumers have different delivery expectations in relation to sustainability. Half of those surveyed said they were fairly/very interested in sustainable delivery options. Additionally, the good news about consumer-preferred delivery options is that they are all lower-cost alternatives. So the challenge and opportunity for retailers is to recognize that consumers want sustainable delivery options and that providing choice leads to happier customers and a better bottom line, while benefiting the environment. as Chris Jones, EVP, Descartesoutlines.

Essentially, the study underscores that many consumers have sustainable delivery personalities. In fact, there are a number of Delivery Personas that retailers can use to increase loyalty as well as top and bottom line performance. What are delivery personas? The concept of buying personas is widely understood in the retail community as a way to maximize sales by providing different types of shopping experiences for consumers. The same applies to home delivery. Consumers have different home delivery expectations and are happier when they can choose the delivery option that most closely matches those expectations.

We have previously identified ourselves by working with leading retailers four delivery people relating to the speed and precision of home delivery:

  • costs, costs, costs: Some consumers are extremely cost-sensitive and will choose the slowest delivery service if it saves them money. They are willing to wait days for the product and care less if the delivery arrives later in the day.
  • package mentality: Typical parcel deliveries are fast but not necessarily timely at the point of purchase. Most goods such as clothing and other smaller items are delivered this way. These customers are happy with the fast delivery cycle and don’t care if the package is at their doorstep at some point during the day.
  • Convenience matters: Many large format items fall into this category. These consumers don’t care about speed; You value a narrow time window. For example, a kitchen renovation (e.g. refrigerator) is purchased in advance, but delivery is made just before the installation date. If delivered too early, the item would take up space in the customer’s home for weeks and be damaged until the appropriate time in the project for its installation.
  • Time is their currency: There is a class of consumers who are cash rich and time poor. They want their delivery as soon as possible and are not going to sit around all day waiting for it. These can be, for example, high-quality spontaneous purchases or replacement items. These customers are the most likely to pay for the privilege, and it doesn’t take too many of them to offset a significant portion of the total delivery cost.

Now there is a fifth Delivery Persona: sustainability.

The study clearly found that consumers want eco-friendly delivery options and are very flexible in terms of delivery options when tied to sustainability efforts. For example:

  • More than half (54%) said they would accept longer lead times for green supplies.
  • Half said they were fairly/very interested in grouping orders for delivery on a specific day of the week (50%) or when the retailer had deliveries in the area (47%).
  • Almost half (48%) want the retailer to recommend the most environmentally friendly delivery option

All of these options offer retailers the opportunity to lower their delivery costs by reducing the number of deliveries to be made, increasing delivery density, better planning deliveries with longer lead times to improve efficiencies, and guiding customers towards greener – and more cost-effective – deliveries . delivery options. In addition, the sustainability persona can be combined with other personas. For example, identifying the most sustainable options for “package mentality” or “time is your currency” deliveries.

Sustainable delivery was so important to some that 20% of respondents said they would pay more for green delivery. For Gen Z and Millennials, the number rose to 27%. This may not sound like a significant percentage, but Descartes has worked with retailers who have generated millions of pounds in additional revenue by charging premium services at this appended rate.

Not only do consumers want environmentally friendly delivery options, 42% of respondents also want retailers to provide details on the potential environmental impact of their delivery options. The sustainability message here goes beyond retailers to the entire logistics industry (i.e. parcel couriers, LTL carriers, dedicated last mile service providers, etc.) as they need to be able to provide the carbon footprint of their delivery services and – in a row of cases – do this dynamically for retailers.


Sustainability has now become an important Delivery Persona option. The key change for retailers to leverage Delivery Personas is to abandon monolithic, one-size-fits-all approaches to home delivery, offer consumers delivery options at reasonable prices, and give consumers the ability to to choose the delivery option that best suits their needs. Consumers will happily choose an option that could result in lower costs or higher revenue for the retailer.

Just as retailers guide consumers throughout the buying experience, the same can happen when consumers choose a delivery option. The study showed that nearly half of respondents wanted retailers to identify the most sustainable delivery options. How often do consumers want retailers to offer service options that actually lower the retailer’s costs? It is precisely for this reason that Descartes called the study “Retailers: Sustainability is not a challenge, it is an opportunity“.

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