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  • While common thinking is that all consumers want their goods delivered as quickly as possible, the reality is much more nuanced.
  • Brands can maximize top- and bottom-line performance by creating delivery personas in the same way that they segment customers based on buying habits.
  • By understanding the distinct delivery personas and their motivational drivers and expectations, brands can provide self-select delivery options for their customers, promoting a seamless purchase experience and building brand loyalty.

by Chris Jones

The average consumer is anything but average — and when it comes to home delivery, one size does not fit all. In the past, retailers could get by offering scant delivery choices, but today’s sophisticated customers come to the table with a variety of delivery expectations that can heavily influence their purchase decisions.

While common thinking is that all consumers want their goods delivered as quickly as possible, the reality is much more nuanced. Whether they are influenced by sustainability, convenience, speed, or the desire for precise delivery windows, customers want options, and they will spend their money with those retailers who can meet their need for delivery choice.


Delivery Segmentation Optimizes Performance

Given that last mile delivery is one of the most complex and expensive aspects of the supply chain — and extremely important for creating a seamless customer experience to build brand loyalty — successful retailers are focusing on delivery segmentation as a differentiation strategy.

Brands can maximize top- and bottom-line performance by creating delivery personas in the same way that they segment customers based on buying habits. For example, retailers should consider millennials’ concerns about the environment while catering to the over 55s’ desire for convenience, building different delivery personas that reflect the motivations and expectations of their diverse customer base.


Building Customer Delivery Personas

Last mile delivery benchmark studies have identified five basic customer delivery personas. While no individual persona is better than another, or applicable in all cases, some combination will provide the right balance of speed, precision, and cost — plus the potential for an incremental revenue stream to significantly reduce, or even offset, the high cost of home delivery.

1. Cost Conscious

For these customers, their wallet is top of mind. They are extremely cost-sensitive and will select the slowest delivery option if it saves them money. These shoppers are willing to wait days to receive their purchase and are less concerned with what time the delivery arrives during the day.

2. Parcel Mentality

Typical parcel deliveries (e.g., apparel, books, household wares) are fast, but not necessarily “time definite” at the point of purchase. These customers are happy with the fast delivery cycle and do not mind if the package is left at the doorstep at any point during the day.

3. Convenience Is Everything

These customers do not value a speedy delivery as much as they value a precise time window; they often need their goods on a particular date and time and do not want to wait all day for their delivery. Delivery of large format items characterizes this category. For example, during a kitchen renovation, these customers want their new dishwasher delivered during the specific time window when the plumber is available to install the appliance.

4. Time Is Money

This shopper delivery persona is cash-rich and time-poor. They want their delivery ASAP and will not sit around all day waiting for their item. Most importantly, they are willing to pay for the privilege of having goods delivered quickly in a tight time frame. These deliveries may be high-value impulse purchases, replacement items, or building materials, for example.

5. Focus on Sustainability

This emerging delivery persona describes consumers who want eco-friendly delivery options. In a recent consumer sentiment study of ecommerce home delivery, 65 percent of shoppers considered the environment when placing an order. For younger customers, environmental considerations were even more important, with 85 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 75 percent of those 25 to 34 years of age assessing the environmental impact of potential purchases. This persona can be combined with any of the other delivery personas.


Optimizing the Customer Delivery Experience

Retailers should be leveraging home delivery as a competitive differentiator and revenue generator, especially as peak holiday season approaches — and delivery personas are a critical piece of the customer delivery strategy. By understanding the distinct delivery personas and their motivational drivers and expectations, brands can provide self-select delivery options for their customers, promoting a seamless purchase experience and building brand loyalty.

From a profitability perspective, mapping delivery options to the different delivery personas helps retailers both minimize delivery costs and capture incremental revenue, maximizing top- and bottom-line performance to boost margins.

Chris Jones is the EVP of Industry and Services at Descartes.


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