Retail in Asia

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Taking Stock: Making a difference in last mile delivery

Most retailers can now deliver goods on time, but this last leg of the goods’ journey from the store to the customer still has room for improvement.

What happens when gets delivered on the dot but he the customer not there to receive the package? In retail parlance, it gets ‘carded.’ The options are not very pretty, both for the retailer and the customer. Delivery gets scheduled for another day, or the customer may have to pick up the goods himself.

Many online stores also do not deliver if there is no one in the residence to receive the package and sign the delivery receipt.

Recently, Australia Post partnered with tech firm NetSuite to make a difference in last mile delivery for omnichannel businesses. It’s first customer: Kitchenware Direct, the country’s premiere online kitchenware retailer.

Peter Macaulay, Managing Director, Kitchenware Direct, said by using Australia Post’s Parcel Locker service, it enables the customer to receive the delivery at a time and location that suits them.

“Our goal is to provide customers with exceptionally high levels of service. Australia Post lockers enable this by giving the customer more options with regards to delivery method for the last mile,” he said.

The company also recently set up a second distribution center in Sydney (in addition to its existing Perth DC) to enable even faster delivery timeframes.

Macaulay said Kitchenware Direct is a pure play online retailer, but its sister company – Kitchen Warehouse – is a bricks and mortar brand with seven large format kitchenware stores with a brand new website just also launched on NetSuite.

“We also have another e-commerce site, The power of NetSuite enables to run all of these sites off one instance of the platform, and share inventory across all sites,” he said.

From bricks to clicks and vice versa

One of the largest specialty retailers of cookware and kitchenware, the retailer stocks the best brands in this category.

The company website said “it takes a lot of shelving to accommodate your (the customers’) choices. Your mouse clicks become our stock picks. And you thought getting the containers from your pantry’s top shelf was a stretch.”

Macaulay said the strategy is to have 99 percent of the products they sell in-store also available online. It should be a seamless experience for the customer across channels. Staff throughout the organization should have visibility into the customers history no matter where they have shopped.

“Having a world class website enables us to deliver the highest levels of service to our customer base,” he added.

Macaulay disclosed that the company will also be rolling out a true multi-channel experience across Kitchen Warehouse.

“We believe that by giving customers a seamless shopping experience, we build incredible brand loyalty. After a couple of flat years, we are primed for growth and are already seeing results of some of this hard work. With regards to Kitchenware Direct, we see strong growth opportunities in Southeast Asian markets,” he shared.

Beyond parcel lockers and delivery

Australia Post’s partnership with NetSuite goes beyond parcel delivery and collection processes. It also offers e-commerce, point-of-sale (POS), order management, merchandizing, marketing, inventory, financials and customer service solutions – all in the cloud.

The Australia Post Parcel Locker Widget is only the first service integration point for Kitchenware Direct.

The retailer has been a NetSuite customer since 2008, leveraging NetSuite SuiteCommerce to power 10 business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce storefronts, with back-end support for financials, inventory management, order management, distribution, marketing, customer relationship management and other core processes.

Mark Troselj, managing director of APAC and Japan for NetSuite, said inventory-based businesses have pressing challenges, such as determining how to lower the costs of inventory management and order fulfillment, while also meeting the increasing demands of customers.

Taking Stock is Retail in Asia’s fortnightly column dedicated to showcasing opinions from experts in the retail industry.