The last mile delivery space has seen significant innovations and advancements in recent years, driven largely by the growth of e-commerce and the increasing demand for faster and more convenient delivery options.
In this exclusive interview done in collaboration with IRX, we spoke with Bobbie Ttooulis, Group Marketing Director at Global Freight Solutions Ltd (GFS), to give us an insider's perspective on reimagining delivery experiences in the 21st century.
Note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
1) Please introduce yourself and your role to our community without using the words "delivery".
Bobbie: I'm Bobbie Ttooulis, Group Marketing Director at Global Freight Solutions Ltd (GFS). My journey with GFS started in 2017, and I am the first female Executive Director to be on the Board.
I lead the marketing strategy for the company; our team is the muscle behind business development and positioning GFS' brand footprint and core service mix out to the eCommerce industry.
My focus is on steering strong relationships with eCommerce retailers so they have access to GFS' multi-carrier service mix and are empowered with the choice to offer end consumers a highly personalized and convenient parcel journey.
2) What according to you makes GFS' offering different from others in the delivery space?
Bobbie: Established over 20 years ago, GFS was the first and is now the largest provider of managed multi-carrier eCommerce delivery & returns, offering single access to 1000+ services across 220+ destinations worldwide. What makes the GFS proposition unique and second to none is our very own Enterprise Carrier Management (ECM) technology that automates and simplifies multi-carrier, multi-channel, multi-market shipping from checkout to doorstep through one straightforward integration. This is what makes us different, and absolutely unique in the industry.
3) What are some emerging trends that retailers should be paying attention to in order to enhance their delivery experiences?
Bobbie: A lot is evolving in the delivery sphere and customer expectations. According to the Ipsos-Octopia study in 2022, 85% of online shoppers say that a poor delivery experience would prevent them from ordering with that online retailer again.
Based on this, I'd put down these three as the most important - Contingency, Clarity and Choice.
I cannot emphasize enough on the need for contingency planning. The ongoing macroeconomic climate in the United Kingdom, Europe and worldwide does make it seem impossible to forecast. Reliance on one single delivery service in this atmosphere can have a paralyzing impact on businesses; not to forget, leave a sour taste in a consumer's purchase experience.
Clarity at the final mile is what makes the delivery experience positive – Attention to simple detail like giving the buyer visibility of where their parcel is and the ability to track it all along. Retailers, I urge you to proactively offer shoppers the trackability and constant visibility of their parcels.
Lastly, offer choice. Offering a wide set of delivery options means you can satisfy the diverse preferences and profiles of your customers, giving them a “personalized” delivery experience. And if well executed, this can offset rising costs as well. For instance, when our customer Hampers.com found their operational costs rising, they worked with GFS to switch from a premium carrier to an economic carrier for their free delivery service. At the same time, they introduced a pricing model that still offers premium delivery service at a cost.
4) How has technology played a role in transforming the delivery experience for consumers?
Bobbie: “Automation” is the keyword that every eCommerce and operations manager must bring to the table to increase operational efficiency and scalability.
Ever-increasing shipping complexities means the way forward for retailers is not spreading thin juggling multiple technology integrations, and administrative overheads, and impacting overall operational efficiency. Switching to a single, multi-carrier partner who can offer choice, buying power, and personalize final mile delivery for consumers through a wide breadth of choice – all with a single technology, single invoice – is the way forward.
5) In what ways can retailers balance the demand for fast and efficient delivery with sustainability and environmentally friendly practices?
Bobbie: While parcel delivery has been associated with the “need for speed”, there seems to be a growing pull for consumers to take up more eco-conscious purchase decisions. Studies show that a thumping 70% of consumers are willing to delay their deliveries by up to five days if there is an environmental incentive attached to it. An increasing number of customers now expect visibility on sustainable initiatives from retailers, with 67% of customers checking a brand's sustainability before making a purchase.
Retailers can start simple by offering sustainable shipping options at checkout – click and collect, parcel lockers, and carrier partners with electric vans for final-mile delivery. These are easily accessible solutions that ‘won't cost the earth'.
6) What challenges do you see retailers facing in the future with regard to consumer delivery experiences, and how can they prepare for them?
Bobbie: If the past three years have taught us anything it's that 1. eCommerce delivery can no longer rely on a single-carrier approach. Working with a single multi-carrier partner brings to the table agility and contingency that is the need of the hour (and for a long time to come) to offer flexibility, visibility, and choice that protects the customer's delivery experience without putting a big dent in bottom lines, 2. There's no escaping automation technology. It is imperative that manual processes be automated by leveraging eCommerce technology to reduce reliance on labor and contain operational costs.
Ultimately, keeping the dialogue open to approach delivery differently is what will protect the customer experience and drive delivery despite disruption.
Delivery is a big part of a positive buyer experience – addressing the need for automation and a reliable single multi-carrier partner, and introducing sustainability will drive delivery excellence for e-tailers in the near future.About Bobbie Ttooulis
Bobbie Ttooulis is the Group Marketing Director and a member of the executive board at Global Freight Solutions (GFS). She also sits on the leadership board for many noteworthy eCommerce summits, including the Delivery & Logistics Leaders' Summit. With 20+ years of B2B experience in marketing strategy leadership, she has driven brand engagement and targeted demand gen for a cross-section of organizations, from global market leaders to tech start-ups. She has strong international experience driving marketing strategy across EMEA, North America and Asia-Pacific regions.About GFS
Global Freight Solutions (GFS) is the UK's first and largest provider of managed multi-carrier services, technology, and expertise for the eCommerce industry with 1000+ services across 220+ destinations worldwide. GFS is the chosen global delivery partner of some of the largest and fastest-growing eCommerce brands, such as Mamas & Papas, Dune, LK Bennett, etc.About IRX
Whether you're looking for new suppliers, new technology or just needing inspiration from retailers and brands, a day at IRX will provide you with everything you need — and more.
With a 2-day packed conference, practical workshop sessions, 100+ world-class solutions providers and a unique opportunity to network with the eCommerce community, IRX is a must-attend event for all retail and eCommerce professionals looking to stay ahead of the game. Join your peers on the 24-25 May 2023 at the NEC Birmingham.
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