Same-day ecommerce draws new player into fray, Purolator QuickShip

0



Purolator Canada CEO John Ferguson at the company’s Richmond hub.


Jason Payne / PNG

The sight of courier vans under different corporate banners parked nose-to-nose in Vancouver’s neighbourhoods is an increasingly common sign of e-commerce’s modern times.

Purolator courier vans will be a growing part of that landscape on a seven-day-a-week schedule as the firm expands into more same-day delivery in the city, starting here and expanding to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

“Knowing that’s what the customer wants, (this is) a strategic decision that this is where the market is going,” said Purolator CEO John Ferguson.

So Purolator has hired 150 new employees, mostly in the Lower Mainland, to work with a handful of retailers, including online eyewear merchant Clearly, to start offering same-day delivery service it will sell under the name QuickShip.

“Now we’ve opened up, we expect more retailers will want this particular service as the market says to them, ‘We want this convenience and we want you to use Purolator. We want this experience,’” Ferguson said.

The launch is part of a five-year, $1-billion program for the courier company, which will see construction of a national “super hub” in Toronto, vehicle-fleet upgrades and setting up more customer access locations.

Purolator made its announcement less than a week before online-commerce behemoth Amazon’s so called “Prime Day,” the staged sales event held to hype its rapid delivery options, which takes place July 15-16.

And it is all part of the seismic shift of e-commerce that is shaping everything from Metro Vancouver’s industrial landscape, with requirements for more warehouses and so-called “fulfilment centres”, to courier networks with demands for quicker deliveries.

“Our customers demand more convenience and speed,” said Ferguson.

The e-commerce shift comes with a cost, however, which isn’t necessarily being fully borne by consumers at the moment, said Spud.ca CEO Peter Van Stolt, who is a close observer of as an early pioneer in the online grocery business.

“Consumers’ expectations on same-day (delivery) is changing, but it always will come back to cost,” said Van Stolt.

Van Stolt said experience has taught Spud.ca that consolidating a lot of customers’ orders into one delivery van creates a lot of efficiency over customers driving to a store, but much of that efficiency gets lost when more customers ask for express delivery options.

“Our drivers say it is getting busier out there,” said Van Stolt, which is becoming “just part of the (delivery) game.”

Spud.ca’s strategies to handle efficiency include co-mingling customer orders to make sure it is filling its trucks the best it can and offering free next-day shipping to nudge customers into the more-efficient option.

Ferguson said sustainability is one of Purolator’s key considerations. It is exploring the use of electric cargo bikes in dense urban locations, such as university campuses, and find ways they might deliver parcels by subway.

Then there is the option of using its trucks as mobile parcel lockers where customers at large condo developments can come to pick up packages.

“It’s all designed to create a better customer experience, but not necessarily have all the trucks on the road to do that,” Ferguson said.

depenner@postmedia.com

twitter.com/derrickpenner





Source link

You might also like

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!