How can we boost out-of-home deliveries?

How can we boost out-of-home deliveries? This could be a promising question for those who still believe out-of-home deliveries (click-and-collect) are more sustainable. The ‘last mile’ of delivery is the journey from the depot to our front door. Most last-mile journeys are taken by delivery vans, meaning each delivery contributes to air pollution and congestion.

The ‘active last mile’ is when the customer collects their parcel from a collection point on foot or by bike. A collection point might be a parcel locker or a high street shop. Only a very small percentage of parcels are delivered to collection points.

A new report by Centre of London looks at how to help enable people to walk or cycle to pick up their packages and how this would help the city of London. It recommends:

  • More and better collection points – at least one within 250 meters of 90 percent of Londoners’ homes. Most (82 percent) Londoners surveyed who chose to Click & Collect stated that they would walk or cycle to collect their parcel.
  • Online retailers should ‘nudge’ shoppers at the checkout to choose out-of-home delivery. In our trial, Londoners who received a ‘nudge’ at the checkout about the environmental impact of home deliveries chose Click & Collect 71 percent of the time.

People aren’t aware of the options available to them or the environmental impact of home deliveries. Telling people about the environmental and convenience benefits at online checkout can encourage people to choose out-of-home deliveries more. The researchers partnered with the Behavioural Insights Team to test how customers might be ‘nudged’ to choose to Click & Collect. Londoners who received a ‘nudge’ at the checkout about the environmental impact of home deliveries chose Click & Collect 71% of the time.

To support this behavioral change, the parcel collection and returns infrastructure in London needs to improve, according to Centre for London. Parcel lockers should be seen as essential pieces of street furniture like bike racks, bus stops, and post boxes. Councils need support to make possible attractive and safe pick-up locations in residential areas in the current planning system. And online retailers need to work together to share pick-up locations.

This interesting report also presents how to make parcel lockers work. Unfortunately, the research did not look at the (extra) cost consequences of parcel locker systems/the PUDO network and potential cost savings. Dutch TNO did this study for the Netherlands. Only when many parcels are delivered through pickup points, there is a substantial cost saving for parcel delivery companies.

Source: Centre of London

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