Like many other couriers, DPD is forging a deeper connection with the end consumer via the likes of mobile apps – but the company’s UK marketing director Tim Jones says in an exclusive interview that this is not intended to replace or challenge the retailer-customer relationship.
“It’s the e-shippers or retailer that are our customers and the e-shoppers that we deliver to,” he tells eDelivery. “That’s two audiences to keep happy.”
As Metapack CEO Patrick Wall pointed out in an interview with eDelivery earlier this year, a courier forging a closer connection with customers could raise questions over who owns the customer relationship.
However, Jones drew a distinction between bringing additional convenience to consumers through initiatives such as the app and the ownership of the customer experience, which belongs to the retailer.
“We’re never in any doubt about who our customers are. It’s all about winning the retailer customer, that’s who decides and that’s who we’ve got to impress in the first instance.
“Having impressed them, we then have a duty as their brand on the doorstep.”
He says building a user base for its app and using that to inform customers is no major change from the past, where people would go to the retailer’s site for tracking information and this would hyperlink from one site to the other.
What about in the future, where retailers may wish to host tracking information on their own sites with their branding or even within their own mobile app? Jones says he “would expect retailers to take advantage of new technology” but says he can’t comment on the strategies of other companies or how that might work.
In B2C terms, says Jones, the company focuses on building awareness, so that when a consumer receives a notification “they understand DPD and what we do.”
It is from consumers that increasing demand for sustainability initiatives, such as DPD’s goal of making 10% of its fleet electric by 2021, is coming.
But it is, however, rare to see a retailer directly marketing such services to shoppers. Do retailers need to do more to publicise the innovations of DPD and others?
“I don’t think it’s on the retailers to do that at all,” says Jones. He says it’s impossible for retailers to be able to communicate when electric vehicles are being used due to not having enough data. Customers hear that their delivery is coming via electric vehicle through a delivery notification from DPD rather than from the retailer.
However it’s done, maintaining this “dual audience”, as Jones calls it, of retailers and end consumers will be key for couriers going forward.