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Differentiating delivery: How to win the eCommerce battle

New trends from Accenture eTailers research report shares key strategies for making eCommerce the engine of growth for delivery organisations.


While safe, secure, timely delivery has always been a priority for post and parcel organisations, delivery has never been as essential to the bottom line as it is today. This increasing importance means it now affects pre-purchase decisions just as much as repeat sales. Selecting the right delivery partner has become a critical business decision for eTailers.

Our research, based on a survey of more than 1,000 eTailers across 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States) reveals how digital is dramatically blurring the boundaries between eTailers, marketplaces and delivery providers. It highlights both the new opportunities and the new threats emerging as ecommerce evolves, and why adapting to both—urgently—is critical to successful transformation.

Find out more about this research and download the report
Access Accenture eTailer Research report on Slideshare: Differentiating Delivery: How to win the eCommerce Battle


ETailers are chasing a rapidly expanding market, in which delivery is becoming a critical differentiator and a strategic priority. Seven out of 10 eTailers (70 percent) use more than one parcel provider. For 73 percent the main reason is to ensure they get the best price and for 68 percent the objective is to mitigate the risk of relying on a single provider. One-half of eTailers using only one provider had less than 50 employees-suggesting that organisations that win customers in the small business segment have a greater chance of an exclusive relationship. This is a missed opportunity for many post and parcel organisations, with only a few leading this segment.

46 percent of eTailers are seeing their online sales growing above 11 percent.

86 percent of eTailers are investing in expanding their eCommerce activities over the next 12 months.

70 percent of eTailers use more than one parcel provider.

73 percent of eTailers use more than one parcel provider to ensure they get the best price.


The aim should be to become an eTailer's primary provider. Our survey indicates that making the jump from the second to top spot would increase parcel volume by 64 percent. Overall, a high proportion (81 percent) of eTailers are happy with the delivery provider they use the most, perhaps because switching providers has become so easy. In many markets that primary provider is likely to be one of the big three parcel integrators: DHL, UPS and FedEx.

Overall level of satisfaction with primary delivery provider (sum of extremely satisfied and satisfied)


ETailers are also increasingly using marketplaces to reach more customers and grow their revenue. Only two per cent are not using a marketplace, while 81 per cent get more than 41 per cent of their eCommerce revenue via an online marketplace. However, marketplaces are no longer satisfied with intermediary sales and are increasingly building delivery capabilities. Some 36 per cent of eTailers are already using marketplaces to manage order fulfillment. This puts delivery companies in competition with the likes of Amazon—a daunting challenge for any business.

Competitors Graph

Provider primarily responsible for managing each of the following fulfillment steps


Clearly this is a critical time for post and parcel organisations. They need to prioritise the competitive edge offered by delivery options to increase market share or, at the very least, investigate innovative solutions that will put the brakes on further parcel and package erosion.

Here are five areas of focus:

eTailers want happy customers, and the way to do that is through offering greater control and predictability.

Innovative returns services are now key differentiators for delivery organisations.

Price is both the biggest reason for remaining loyal and for shopping around.

As eTailers grow bigger, the complexity and diversity of services they require increases rapidly.

Post and parcel companies need to localise and improve the efficiency of cross-border services

Find out more about this research and download the report