Thomas Slide
Thomas Slide is Category Director for Media and Technology at Mintel.

Zalando is trialing a flexible delivery option in Belgium in partnership with Parcify that enables products to be delivered to wherever a customer is when the delivery takes place.

Customers in the trial cities of Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp can join the pilot project by entering a special Parcify address into the delivery box for their order, instead of their home or work address. Once it has received the package, Parcify will then utilise geo-location technology on the customer’s smartphone to bring the delivery to wherever they are.

This means the customer doesn’t need to wait in for delivery and there is also no chance of a missed delivery. Delivery through Parcify is available seven days a week and shouldn’t take any longer than having the items delivered to a home address.

What delivery options do consumers use?

Research for Mintel’s Attitudes Towards Retail Home Delivery and Collection Services UK 2016 report found that home delivery remains the most popular option when ordering items online with 78% saying they use the delivery option most regularly, compared to 11% that use click-and-collect. However, the use of alternative delivery options is particularly high when it comes to purchases of clothing, footwear or accessories, suggesting that companies such as Zalando are most likely to benefit from innovation in this area.

The most common reason for using home delivery is that it is seen as the most convenient option. By contrast, those choosing to use click-and-collect do so because it negates the risk of missing a delivery.

The new service offered by Parcify attempts to solve both of these problems: for those looking for the most convenient option, having an item delivered wherever they are means it fits around their lives. Those worried about missing a delivery may well be very interested in a service that enables them to never miss a delivery while also not needing to take time out of their day to visit a collection point.

Overcoming cost and privacy issues

Zalando has always strived to offer market leading delivery options across its major markets and this new development offers an interesting alternative to home delivery or collection points. Nonetheless, there will be drawbacks, the most important of which is likely to be price, as research in the UK found that eight in 10 consumers agree that higher delivery costs are off-putting.

Secondly, there may be lingering concerns about giving access to your personal location to an unknown delivery driver.

Thirdly, the new option risks adding another layer of complexity to the ordering process that could act to confuse shoppers looking for a fast and seamless shopping experience. The added complexity to the purchase process will therefore have to be carefully and adequately justified by its benefits.

These are all problems that the trial is likely to uncover – the question is whether they will all be adequately dealt with to make this a delivery option that can be rolled out across Zalando’s other markets.

Thomas Slide is Retail Analyst at Mintel working as part of Mintel’s dedicated retail team, writing a range of European retail reports. Prior to joining Mintel Thomas previously worked for Lightspeed GMI, Rainmaker Consulting, John Lewis and Debenhams.