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Weekend deliveries – win-win for retailers and consumers

There is a huge appetite among consumers for weekend deliveries. Recent research undertaken by one delivery company showed that 59% of customers viewed Sunday as a convenient day to receive goods.*

And it is not surprising. Full-time employees are restricted in the time they have available to shop and receive deliveries. The hectic schedules of the modern-day consumer means that shoppers are more reliant on being able to order and receive deliveries outside standard working hours and at times that are more convenient to them.

With most people working Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm there is usually nobody at home to receive large-ticket items, such as furniture or televisions, during the working week. It is not as though the delivery men can leave this type of item on a porch or with a friendly neighbour.

Increasingly, customers expect online sales and deliveries to match, in terms of standards and service, the experience of a brick-and-mortar retail store and expect a seven-day delivery option.

It seems that more companies are responding to this consumer trend by launching new Sunday delivery services. This year the Royal Mail and Amazon both announced that they would be introducing selected Sunday deliveries, citing “more choice and options” for customers.

If a customer has the choice of a retailer with rigid Mon-Fri delivery schedules and one that offers a Saturday and/or Sunday service which one would seem more attractive? Retailers that continue to respond to changing shopping trends by introducing weekend deliveries provide busy consumers with greater flexibility.

For retailers, offering weekend deliveries can help spread the delivery operation across seven days instead of five, helping to smooth out any peaks in demand and bottle-necks.

Another important point for retailers is that offering extra weekend deliveries can also boost revenue. According to a report from Forrester Consulting** in September 2014, delivery options have a direct impact on key customer metrics. Cost and convenience (flexible delivery options) play a part in driving revenue through repeat purchase, increased basket size and increased customer lifetime value.

Extending deliveries to six or even seven days a week also serves as a major competitive edge for retailers as it provides a cleaner line to sell over weekends: it potentially allows the retailer to sell a product at lunchtime on Sunday for delivery on a Monday.

Weekend deliveries, away from peak periods, potentially offer significant benefits to retailers in terms of delivery speed and success. Traffic is much lighter at the weekend, with less congestion, which leads to improved scheduling and routing and so more accurate delivery times.

Additionally, delivery costs can potentially be lower at weekends because of reduced fuel consumption as a result of faster turnaround journeys. Environmentally, the case for weekend deliveries is sound with fewer emissions and a better air quality.

With furniture sales making a strong come-back post recession, thanks to a resurgent property market and strong buy-to-let activity***, getting that competitive edge in order to capture a larger slice of the market is vital.

Many SMEs and Internet-based retailers work around the clock to provide their customers with exceptional levels of service. Offering weekend deliveries can help these retailers match their customers’ high expectations.

Customers are increasingly demanding services that bring minimum disruption to their working lives. Retailers need to continue meeting the demands of these changing, contemporary shopping trends – offering weekend deliveries and providing a 24/7 service could be key to that aim.

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