Fast delivery: How fast can retailing get?

How fast can retailing get and how important is fast delivery? 

speed to marketLet’s talk Ecommerce Delivery times

One of the things we have noticed over the past year more so than in any other year, is the battle for retailers to be the fastest to get their product to the consumer.

For years, consumers were very happy knowing that their product would come within 5 to 7 days delivery (known as standard delivery) and planned ahead to make sure they got their products in time for the event that they needed it.

Competing with other retailers

As Ecommerce grew, retailers began to realise that they needed to offer new ways to compete with fellow retailers and speed to market became more important.

Of course, prices can be reviewed and product quality and designs can also be improved. Google Analytics can offer insights into shopping habits and how to help your consumer to spend more. However, everyone is consistently reviewing all of this as part of their everyday offer so it didn’t enable anyone to differentiate.

So what could they do next? Improve how quickly they got products to their consumer so that they would turn to them instead of competitors.

speed to market

We first saw the speed to market really change things when Asos introduced their Premier online delivery service back in 2014. For a charge of £9.95 you could opt to have next day delivery. By 2015 there had been an uptake of 70% globally of this service.

According to the 2013 Online Retail Delivery Report from Micros:

  • 68% of online retailers offered next day delivery
  • 20% of the retailers offered free standard delivery to any UK address
  • 6% of retailers offered same day delivery in London
  • 21% of the retailers could not deliver outside the UK
  • 69% of retailers showed delivery information on the product page
  • 89% of retailers allowed the customer to track their order online


What does 2017 look like?

Ecommerce sales aren’t slowing down. They still represent the fastest growth trends in new and established retail businesses, according to the following figures from the Centre for Retail Research:

speed to market

Next now offer next day delivery for a paid one off fee for £20 (Next Unlimited), which was trialed last year and is now part of the delivery charging offers.

Amazon Prime

speed to market

We certainly know that Amazon has really changed the face of delivery times with the introduction of their Prime service. Currently at no extra cost (from the subscription service) you can get next day delivery. And when I mean next day, I have ordered something at 10pm the night before and got it the next morning!

So that’s fast, right?

Well, hold on to your seats as it’s going to get a lot faster than that….

Prime Now, which is still in select areas, offers you Ultra fast delivery – a 2-hour delivery on 1000s of products. So you have run out of coffee at breakfast but you really want some by lunchtime and don’t want to leave the house – this is for you!

Supermarkets catching on

speed to marketBack in June, Tesco successfully trialed a robot, which could deliver stock in one hour within a one-hour radius, with 20 items or less.


In August, Sainsbury’s began offering a 30-minute click and collect service at their Pimlico store for 25 products or less!

Why is fast delivery  so important?

According to PWC, 29% of UK shoppers say that fast and reliable delivery (same day, collect from store or designated place) and a 28% good returns policy (free or return to store) are reasons for shopping with their favourite retailer.

So where does it go from here?

With Asos’ recent announcement offering same day delivery, we believe that this will continue to change, and at a fast pace. We wonder how fast it can really get, and whether that will end up benefiting the consumer more than the retailer….


Come and hear us speak at the Manchester Stationery Show

Faika Khurram will be conducting two seminars at the Manchester Stationery show which is happening on 31st October and 1st November 2017. She will be talking through some of the findings from the 2017 Back to School Report, with the focus being on  changes Bright Disposition have seen in the market in terms of consumer buying patterns for the Back to School stationery offer. We will also be giving some tips on what we think would make a good Back to School offer for 2018.

Find out more about the 2017 Back to School report here.

About the Author: Faika Khurram

Faika Khurram has a background in retail merchandising, having worked for John Lewis, BHS and most recently Paperchase as a Merchandise Manager. She now works for Bright Disposition as a Retail Analyst and Consultant.

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