Because deliveries of late have become the ultimate brand leveller.
Remember the days when deliveries were a pain because you were never home to collect them? Or remember when delivery drivers were nervous to leave packages anywhere else but, in your hands, with a signature, fingerprint and robust ID.
It was then easier to order everything to the office. Trying to smuggle things out of the post room alongside the corporate letters. Which was totally fine up until Christmas when facilities were busier than your client teams. Then, if you missed a delivery, your parcel would go back to the Post Office and stay there until you got your driver’s licence and turned up between 12 and 12.30 to pick it up.
How times have changed and let’s be honest people are now seeing more delivery drivers than their own family…
But today, you are pretty much guaranteed to be in. And even if you aren’t, often parcels are left on doorsteps regardless. Even high-cost items like new phones are now slung on doorsteps – oh how laissez-faire we have become!
For brands, if it wasn’t before, e-commerce and targeting homebound consumers is now a priority because it’s now arguably, the most important part of the customer journey.
It’s not just the actual delivery part or the ritual of unwrapping – it’s the experience of optimising customer and brand experiences. Meaning the online channels; apps, notifications and reminders show me when ‘Alex’ the delivery person, will be with me within an hour’s window and I can rate how they do.
And with deliveries becoming the highlight of the day over the past 9 months, I’ve become a connoisseur of the delivery as it really does impact the way you feel. Everything from joy to disappointment is at the hands of a complete stranger.
Not to mention the theatre of the unwrap, or ‘the art of Unboxing’ – there’s probably a chat right now in Clubhouse talking about it. I know what it is, of course I do, I bought it. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be intrigue and yes, you absolutely can secure my brand loyalty that bit more with a bow and spray of perfume in the box.
From how it arrives, to who hands it to you, the pandemic might have unearthed unlikely influencers - delivery drivers. Like influencers, they can wield their impact and be the difference between a mediocre experience and a good one. They can build social trust and increase brand recall value, by in some cases simply showing up on time.
How are the delivery brands matching up with each other?
Over the past nine months a very unforgiving nation has been scoring brands in accordance with how their parcels arrive from Hermes Delivery being described as ‘your guess is as good as mine as to where it is right now’ or Amazon’s ‘making miracles happen in 24 hours’ to At Home food delivery’s being ‘good unless they forget an ingredient.
They all play a vital part in brands having a human understanding towards their customers – how they are feeling and how they are acting (and need to start acting!)
To conclude: from how your packages arrives (slung verses placed) and the delivery person who hands it to you (a smile from anyone makes your day better) to the packaging (yes surprise and delight sampling is a must), it all leaves an emotional impression and has become a critical touchpoint for brands to engage with their customers.
Brands must get it right to further weather the COVID-19 storm because DTC activity will not only increase in 2021, but largely surpass everything form of brand interaction for the foreseeable future. It could also be the point many consumers ‘drop off the cliff’ when it comes to the customer pathway if it’s not a ‘perfect delivery’.
You also never know, you might even see ‘Alex’ becoming the next Kardashian of deliveries…
Sarah Shilling is the Chief Marketing Officer at UNLIMITED