30 Jan 20

How to maximise the user experience in parcel delivery and e-commerce

“You don’t want traffic jams of cargo bikes,” said Anna Paulides, Project Leader City Logistics, PostNL. Parcel deliveries need to be optimised, but going for the solution with the lowest footprint doesn’t necessarily make sense in all contexts.

Ms Paulides (pictured, centre) spoke at the Connected Fleets Conference on 29 January in Brussels, a high-level event for fleet and mobility leaders. This edition wanted to find out why connectivity is key to achieve excellence in commercial fleets today.

City centres are becoming less accessible as local governments introduce low emission zones, close off streets for traffic and limit the number of parking spaces. That’s why PostNL has the ambition to make emission-free deliveries with minimal disruption in 25 Dutch cities by 2025. By 2030, parcel deliveries in the Netherlands and Belgium should be completely emission-free.

1 van = 12 cargo bikes

Put into practice, this means cargo bikes can be the go-to means of delivering parcels in the historic centre of cities. In other areas, however, vans are often still the best choice. One large van can be replaced by three smaller vans, explained Ms Paulides. In turn, those three smaller vans can be replaced by 12 electric cargo bikes. So if population density dictates a larger volume vehicle, it makes sense to use it.

SimplyMile city hubs have already been set up in The Hague, Amsterdam and Groningen. In those hubs, goods from various sources can be consolidated, leading to fewer unique vehicles entering city centres.

José Fernando Guilherme, Transport Manager of the Portuguese postal service CTT Correios (pictured, left), gave an outline of how his company takes on the challenges of today. As the number of letters sent through the post is falling and e-commerce is growing, postal services need to redraw their distribution network, introducing new intermediate platforms for cross-docking. The idea is to decentralise to have connections closer to the final destination.

“It’s all about transport and delivery,” said Mr Guilherme. Consumers expect short delivery times at a low cost and they don’t like picking up their parcels from another place. Lockers that are accessible 24 hours a day are a way to make that a reality.

The future of food delivery

The online food delivery market represented €9 billion in Europe in 2018, said Quirin Dalemans, Head of Operations at Deliveroo (pictured, right). Surprisingly, more than 60% of all orders were still done over the phone.

Deliveroo has introduced three innovations to serve customers better:

  1. Closing demand gaps: as Deliveroo has a global footprint, it can use experience from trend-setting cities like London to prepare other markets for these trends (e.g. poke bowls)
  2. Virtual brands: Deliveroo and local restaurants set up virtual brands that only exist on the Deliveroo app (e.g. to offer poke bowls)
  3. Deliveroo Editions: a large portion of orders are nearly identical, so Deliveroo sets up dedicated kitchens that specialise in one particular dish (e.g. chicken tikka masala in London), which can help optimise both taste and delivery times.

Each of these innovations is only possible by leveraging the power of data and connected services.

Fleet Europe covers the challenges and innovations in the field of connectivity and last-mile deliveries all through the year. Follow us to stay up to date about the latest news and about other Fleet Europe events.

Image: José Fernando Guilherme, Transport Manager (CTT Correios​)​​​​​​, Anna Paulides, Project Leader City Logistics (PostNL) and Quirin Dalemans, Head of Operations (Deliveroo)

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck