Tom Allason, Shutl: Customer expectations only ever move forwards

Natalie Steers
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Shutl isn’t the first company to spring to mind when looking for an example of customer experience in practice. But the three year-old same-day delivery firm is one of Europe’s fastest growing tech businesses and focused on one thing: giving shoppers what they want, when they want it.

CEO Tom Allason explains that shoppers are demonstrating an insatiable appetite for ecommerce. Figures showed that online shopping excessed 12% of retail sales at the end of 2012 and is set to reach 17% in the next five years.

But, he says, despite this inevitable trend, delivery sucks! The final point at which the brand touches the customer has become the greatest challenge presented to retailers. Determined by the courier company and not the retailer, it is the single greatest influence as to whether or not consumers are going to shop more or less with that retailer in the future, depending on the experience they have.

Speaking at the European Customer Experience World event this week, he says: “Delivery also has to be the greatest weapon multichannel retailers have against the greatest threat their industry faces: Amazon. Multichannel retailers are being disadvantaged by the very virtue of being multichannel and losing out on price and range, which doesn’t limit Amazon. And with acquisitions like Kiva Systems [the robot-coordinated order fulfilment company], it’s only going to get more efficient.”

Allason believes that its’ the Smart multi retailers have realised that and trying to beat it on experience, service. It’s no surprise that fastest growing trend in ecommerce is multichannel with many stores such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer moving to offer click and collect. “It’s a way for multichannel retailers to use the one thing that Amazon will never have – their stores,” he says,

Using local hub and spoke delivery companies that are agile and can easily deliver to customers located within 10 miles, Shutl can offer customers a range of couriers with as quick a delivery as 90 minutes at the same cost as standard delivery, and GPS details of the driver in real-time. Customers are then asked to rate the service and those couriers that perform best receive a higher rating and are more likely to be recommended by Shutl in future.

“What we’re doing is not about delivery, it’s about that customer’s’ experience,” he says. “It’s about delighting our retail partner’s customers. Our NPS score is higher than any retailer in the world, including Apple!”

The same day delivery space is heating up, he explains, with more and more high street retailers now moving to offer the service. But whilst this has led to some questioning whether customers actually want and need same day delivery, Allason takes the view that once offered the service, there’s no going back.

“Customer expectations are going to change because of what the world’s largest etailers and retailers are doing. Customer expectations only ever move forwards,” he concludes.

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