Immediate dispatch

Retail & leisure
The same-day delivery of items ordered online will soon become the standard. Logistics companies and warehouse developers are already preparing for the increase in customer traffic from e-commerce

The online sales market in Poland has been growing rapidly, as the figures show. According to the ‘E-commerce 2015’ report by, in 2016 the value of the Polish online market could rise to as much as even PLN 38 bln – a growth of PLN 9 bln since last year. Polish e-commerce is also becoming much more sophisticated. Online stores have noted the potential of the market and are trying to steal a march on their rivals in terms of attracting customers by offering more and more new services. Additional delivery options are one way to do this. “A few years ago, only a door-to-door delivery option that took several days was available. Later it turned out that delivery times could be shortened. When door-to-door delivery was not enough, personal pick-up locations became available. Online shops and the development of e-commerce are constantly forcing courier and transport companies to adapt to their requirements,” explains Adam Tomczak, the chairman of the management board of X-press Couriers, which offers the same-day delivery of goods. The items are delivered to the recipient on the same day and, importantly, the service is available between cities.

Popularity growing

This service is becoming ever more popular and is attracting many new customers, when it comes to both B2B (business to business) and B2B (business to client) relations. X-press Couriers has been cooperating with on a same-day delivery scheme since December 2014 and by February 2016 the company had carried out 5,000 same-day deliveries. At present, the company estimates that it delivers about 4,000 parcels monthly using the same-day delivery option. “We have been popularising this service for more or less the last two years, but it is only this year that we have seen a surge in interest in online stores. In this quarter many significant players have become very interested in this service. Recently, Rossmann has started doing this, and Komputronik and the LPP clothing retail group are in the middle of implementing it. The biggest players will encourage more companies to follow their example,” emphasises Adam Tomczak. Same-day delivery has been available from Rossmann drugstores since April this year and from Venezia stores since March. Clearly, the popularity of this model of delivery has been growing together with the requirements of customers. “Customers shopping online in the first place expect from us a fast delivery and the option to collect the parcel in a store at a convenient time. Same-day delivery allows consumers to shop quickly, without having to wait all day, and to collect the goods purchased within a selected timeframe. This is the fourth way you can receive the goods, after collection from a bricks-and-mortar store, the traditional courier service and collection at Orlen petrol stations. All of the above make shopping in an online drugstore much more convenient,” says Rossmann spokesperson Agata Nowakowska. “The same-day delivery option for items purchased online has been, up to now, a rarity among Polish online shops. This is why it gives us an edge over our competitors, as our customers become accustomed to regular shopping online,” comments Paweł Antoniak, the sales director at Venezia.

How does it work?

Same-day delivery is available from X-press Couriers if the customer places an order by 4 pm and the parcel is dispatched from the same city. However, if the courier has to deliver items to a different city, the order has to be placed by 1 pm. Orders placed after 1 pm will be delivered the next day. “When placing an online order, the consumer clicks on a timeframe for the parcel delivery. The options are: 10 am – 2 pm, 2 pm – 6 pm and 6 pm – 10 pm. During the day we collect orders from the different shops that have signed agreements with us. The goods are delivered to a common central location in the centre of every city where we operate – Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and soon also Kraków. We sort the parcels and our couriers drive to the recipients. As soon our courier receives the parcel, the system sends an automatic text with information on the time of delivery to the customer. With this system, parcel deliveries have for the first time achieved over 98 pct efficiency,” explains Adam Tomczak. Parcels from online stores have different methods of collection. “Sometimes we come to collect the parcels in the warehouses of particular companies, and sometimes we pick them up them directly from shops,” adds the director of X-press Couriers.

Through the warehouse to the customer

X-press Couriers transports goods to its common locations. These are relatively small premises in city centres. The company usually adapts office space for cross-docking. The company, however, does not use typical warehouses. “There are no such buildings in the city centre,” points out Adam Tomczak. In Warsaw X-press Couriers uses premises with areas of 150–200 sqm, although due to all its recently signed agreements, its needs are set to grow and so the company plans to move to a considerably bigger warehouse in Warsaw in the next quarter, in order to service the growing number of parcels in the cross-dock system. Same-day delivery, however, does not require storage. Deliveries sent to a pick-up spot remain there for one hour maximum. Developers have also noted the demand from logistics and transport companies and businesses related to e-commerce. “The rapidly growing e-commerce services market has generated huge demand for smaller warehouse modules in projects located within cities, as it is hard to build warehouses as such in city centres. [...] Despite the large demand, there are still not many projects like this on the market. This is why we have included the smallest modules, starting from 870 sqm, in the second stage of Diamond Business Park Ursus. We will be able to welcome tenants from the e-commerce sector to Diamond Business Park Ursus and Diamond Business Park Raszyn, the construction of which we soon plan to begin,” emphasises Tomasz Michalczyk, the leasing director of White Star Real Estate, which is developing these projects.

Bane and boon

The willingness to streamline deliveries from online stores, the attention to customers’ needs and the need to have an offer that stands out from rival services are among the advantages of online stores, especially when the response is positive. “The service is new. We introduced it in mid-April, but we are already seeing that customers are showing an increased interest in the service,” claims Agata Nowakowska. The company is now planning to expand. “In the future we are planning to launch this delivery option in the biggest cities in Poland,” adds Jakub Jankowski of Rossmann. Two factors have the biggest impact on the popularity of delivering goods under this system: the way the deliveries are communicated and the price. “It often happens that when placing an order the consumer does not know that such an option is available. This is due to the fact that the shops have only informed them that X-press Couriers will deliver the items, without stating the most important thing – that it is same-day delivery. The popularity of the service grows considerably if an online store has this option – allowing many more orders to be placed. A retailer can be considerably smaller than a rival, but thanks to such a system it can process more orders,” explains Adam Tomczak. The other important factor is the price, which cannot be prohibitive. Same-day delivery cannot be treated as an exclusive service, because this would mean a price that consumers would not accept. Ideally, same-day delivery should be treated as something only slightly more expensive than standard delivery. “Our business customers pay us PLN 10–15 for the service, and if they offer it for more than PLN 15 gross, consumers usually do not go for that option,” explains the chairman of the board of X-press Couriers. He emphasises that delivery companies are constantly on the look-out for the best IT systems for the logistics process and new forms of delivery. “Considering the pricing flexibility of consumers, drone delivery would only be possible if shipping costs fell considerably. For the time being, this approach is too expensive. Self-driving cars, on the other hand, is a technology that is developing in an interesting way. This could lower distribution costs. A car drives to a pick-up location and an employee unpacks and sorts out the parcels. However, this is still a vision of the future that is only just beginning to become clearer. But things that seem unreal these days may soon become a reality,” says Adam Tomczak.