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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 organizations.


While safe, secure, timely delivery has always been a priority for post and parcel organizations, 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

Delivery is Strategic

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% the main reason is to ensure they get the best price and for 68% 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 organizations 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 organizations, with only a few leading this segment.

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

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

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

70% of eTailers use more than one parcel provider.

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

From Exclusive to Primary

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%. Overall, a high proportion (81%) 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)

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

Customers are Competitors

ETailers are also increasingly using marketplaces to reach more customers and grow their revenue. Only two percent are not using a marketplace, while 81 percent get more than 41 percent 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 percent 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

Five Strategies

Clearly this is a critical time for post and parcel organizations. They need to prioritize 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 organizations.

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 localize and improve the efficiency of cross-border services.

Find out more about this research and download the report


Brody Buhler
Brody Buhler
Global Managing Director
Accenture Post and Parcel
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