April 29, 2014: The click-and-collect market in the UK will virtually double in size from £61 million this year to £118 million by 2016. Yet, in the fast-changing world of online retail, there is one constant. Consumers still attach greater value to price than convenience, delegates at a seminar on the opening day of the Multimodal exhibition in Birmingham were told.
Responding to a survey by Collect+, the local store-based parcel network, 3,000 consumers reported that their biggest concerns about ordering goods online were either missing a home delivery, or not knowing what to do if they didn't like what they had bought. But Mark Lawrence, Collect+ operations and service director, said that when people were asked to make trade-off choices, price was their top priority, ahead of reliability and convenience. And speed surprisingly mattered least of all.
"Free" delivery is becoming the norm. A majority of under-25s seem to believe that a parcel arriving at their door costs them nothing, Lawrence said.
Stuart Miller, co-founder and CEO of locker system ByBox, said that delivering into lockers in the middle of night, a proven low-cost option for delivering critical spare parts to businesses, was shifting successfully into the B2C market, even for a supplier of "posh lingerie".
Why were customers choosing this option? Some said they liked the idea of collecting tomorrow, or knew they would not be at home for a delivery. "But the biggest reason by a mile was that it was free," Miller said. ByBox had at first tried to base a delivery charge on the next nearest price point, £3.50, as offered by the post office. Volumes plummeted by 70%, and reducing the charge to £2.50 generated little improvement.
It was not until the price came down to £1.50 that sales recovered again, which seems counter-intuitive for customers purchasing upmarket knickers.
This year's Multimodal is the biggest in the show's seven year history, with over 280 exhibitors and thousands of visitors on its first day.
Today's seminars were organised in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). Tomorrow will see a full programme organised in collaboration with the Freight Transport Association (FTA), including sessions on modal shift and container weighing, as well as a dedicated air freight stream.
Multimodal will also be welcoming HRH The Princess Royal to a session hosted by charity Transaid.