ZigZag Global Food for Thought The Delivery Conference

The Delivery Conference: Food for thought 

ZigZag’s management were back for the latest instalment of Metapack’s Delivery Conference last week. This noteworthy event yet again brought together some of retail and logistics’ greatest influencers to shed some light on the industry’s biggest opportunities and challenges. Here are some of the team’s takeaways from the day. 

The importance of a thorough eCommerce strategy

Global eCommerce revenue grew by 20.7% last year, with over a quarter of the world’s population shopping online, and it represented an increased share of overall retail sales from 2018 of 14.1% (eMarketer). The UK non-eCommerce retail grew just 0.4% in 2019, as the top 500 retailers closed around 6,000 stores, but online sales posted an increase of 10/9% revenue which accounted for 22.3% of total UK retail.

Online shopping has, therefore, become the major focus for retailers in the last decade. Pure-play ‘e-tailers’ without stores, such as Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, and ASOS have changed fashion forever with later cut off times, a quickly improving user experience, ‘buy now pay later’, extended basket sizes and of course – free delivery and returns. Many of The Delivery Conference speakers stressed the importance of retailers to prioritise their eCommerce strategy and to carefully consider how you position your online offering compared to competitors. Most of the speakers also predicted that online retail sales would overtake physical retail sales within the next five to ten years in the UK, so there’s no time like the present to improve your eCommerce experience. 

Sustainability for our children’s children

It was refreshing to see the first panel discussion of the day focused around sustainability. The retail industry is often considered by many to be one of the least sustainable, with fast fashion acting as a poster boy for this view as its very nature demands copious journeys and vast amounts of sometimes difficult to recycle materials. 

With The Climate Group, Deutsche Post AG, Garcon Wines, and Transport for London leading the discussion, the panel touched on the ways in which the industry is becoming more eco-friendly and highlighted the need for continued enthusiasm from the retail’s biggest players. Garcon Wines introduced their more sustainable wine bottles, which are 100% recyclable and reduces CO2 emissions through being spatially smaller and lighter.  

Another great company targeting this sustainability issue was Lil Packaging. Whether the overuse of plastics was brought to your attention through Sir David Attenborough or whilst struggling to open plastic vacuum-packed scissors with your non-functioning pair, plastics are a monumental concern for the planet. Lil Packaging is the largest independent ecom packaging producer that’s eradicating the use of plastics in eCommerce.

Are the first and last mile still the hardest?

There has been more innovation in the retail sector over the last 10 years than all the years prior right up to the invention of the delivery truck by Karl Benz in 1895. With much of the agenda dedicated to discussing last and first mile networks, in addition to the many companies operating in that space, the conference emphasised we have just scratched the surface of innovation in this area. 

Giles Rhys Jones and Matthew Furneaux of what3words and Loqate (GBG) respectively participated in a lively conversation on using technology to eliminate failed deliveries; improving customer satisfaction and reducing a retailer’s carbon footprint in the process. what3words uses a unique 3 word address for every 3mx3m area in the world, giving precise locations for those difficult to spot delivery entrances or remote properties; Loqate validates customer data to improve on-time delivery rates and improve the customer experience. 

Here’s just some of the interesting companies present at the event that are shaking up the industry:

  • SwipBox – who are reducing the carbon footprint in first and last mile areas through a vast parcel locker network.
  • Paack – a last-mile logistics company fulfilling eCommerce deliveries with time-slots, chosen entirely by the customer.
  • HelloDone – an automated messaging platform for Smart Cities that manages the customer relationship for the final mile delivery via messaging and voice assistants.

Not to forget ZigZag…

We will be showcasing how we are shaking up the industry at both The World Mail & Express Americas Conference and EuroShop. Our award-winning solution allows consumers to return unwanted items via Post Office, home collection or locker, sending them back to the retailer or directly to a new customer in the most energy-efficient way possible. With millions of returns processed through our online platform last year, we are continuing to make the returns experience hassle-free, fast and more sustainable.