Package delivery services are highly popular in the modern age, prompting the companies involved in this business to consistently develop their efficiency. Numerous enterprises continuously enhance their approaches to shipping opportunities, aiming to increase customer satisfaction and purchase frequency. The on-demand method, which uses non-contact delivery, has recently become a prevalent strategy favored by customers and distribution companies (Hong et al., 2019). Given that this type of shipping is more time-efficient for both the involved parties, as well as less resource-demanding for the distributors. The Kohl’s corporation, which is widely focused on omnichannel retailing, might considerably benefit from the implementation of an Amazon Lockers model, currently considered as a perfect example of on-demand non-contact delivery. This paper will examine the potential of Amazon Locker Hubs, suggesting that its utilization by Kohl’s would largely improve its shipping processes and customer services quality.
Shipping Variety in Modern Retail and at Kohl’s
Kohl’s corporation is one of the prominent department stores stationed in the USA and focused on the distribution of various products, from kitchen appliances to clothes. Currently, Kohl’s is considered one of the major enterprises in the retailing industry upholding continuous expansion and occupying a stable position on the market (Loeb, 2021). The launches of additional retail points and cooperation with Sephora have significantly improved the enterprise’s financial standing, enhancing its yearly performance (Loeb, 2021). However, considering the rapid advancement of the retailing sphere, which becomes more popular every year, it is necessary for the company to introduce changes in the organizational and technological structure, accounting for the customers’ demands.
As such, the quality of delivery services is a major advantage for omnichannel retailers in the modern environment, as it significantly promotes the range and effectiveness of product distribution. Currently, the primary focus of Kohl’s lies in the development of available goods and product categories, securing a broader range of accessible purchase options for the customers (About Kohl’s, n.d.). Nevertheless, the shipping opportunities remain considerably limited, with the Standard Ground, post office box, and freight delivery being the possible methods (Shipping Methods, n.d.). In addition, a customer might order in-store delivery, collecting the purchased item at the store of their choice (Free Ship to Store, n.d.). Considering the recent collaborations and the rising demand for quick and accessible shipping, these strategies might hinder the efficiency of product distribution, forcing customers to refer to companies that provide more flexible options.
The Locker System by Amazon and Its Impact
A prominent shipping solution was introduced by Amazon, another well-recognized omnichannel retailer. In order to improve delivery accessibility and accommodate a more diverse range of populations, Amazon initiated a locker hub campaign, which offers the customer to collect their purchases at local Amazon Locker points (Vincent, 2017). These points are typically present in large-scale cities and can be located at other retail stores (Merchan & Blanco, 2015). In contrast with post office delivery, this strategy is more time-efficient and does not require customer-personnel interaction or extensive personality identification, which diminishes the necessity of queuing and time loss (Vincent, 2017). Amazon Lockers were devised according to the self-service system guidelines, which have been proven to be more productive and technologically advanced. Overall, the introduction of this possibility was remarkably well-accepted by the public, influencing the development of other similar delivery methods (Hong et al., 2019). Considering the positive effect of this strategy on Amazon’s services, its implementation by Kohl’s could significantly advance the company’s quality of delivery.
It is essential to note that the utilization of the locker system necessitates a change in the current shipping structure employed by Kohl’s. This corporation is primarily focused on the provision of high-quality customer service and premium brands’ merchandise, relying on the developments in these areas for future achievements (About Kohl’s, n.d.). Although the shipping standards remain favorable, the overall shopping experience is still centered on local store shopping or online purchasing with the following store collection. Therefore, a slight change of primary goals towards the introduction of a more flexible delivery system will be required.
Creating a Basis for Change: The Importance of Non-Contact Delivery
The overall trend towards purchase collection points is especially evident in the retailing industry, which has begun to rely significantly on online shopping. The process of buying items using the internet has proven to be more efficient and time-consuming, allowing the customers to attribute more time to their personal needs. However, the customers also expect a similarly quick and simple process of item collection, becoming especially interested in investing in on-demand delivery. This approach contrasts with the conventional use of professional or crowdsourced shipping methods, instead offering the clients an opportunity to decide the time and place of their delivery (Hong et al., 2019). Being able to choose the most fitting delivery location is a significant factor for customer satisfaction, which rises dramatically when on-demand service is present.
After that, the self-service aspect of the suggested strategy is especially vital, as it decreases delivery time consumption for the enterprises and enables the clients to utilize the desired option. Numerous individuals prefer to choose a shipping option that might decrease their waiting time and allow them to collect the goods at a local place, such as a convenience or a department store (Hong et al., 2019). Furthermore, this choice is typically cheaper than standard home or post office delivery, which requires extra resources and effort to be spent. In addition, the post office delivery system might be unnecessarily complicated, creating frustration and a negative attitude towards this shipping method. In this regard, switching to a more productive and technologically advanced system is crucial for Kohl’s.
Of special consideration is the modern pandemic-induced environment, which tremendously impacts the operations of retail enterprises. Store shopping and social interaction have declined significantly during the previous year, resulting in substantial financial losses. Although Kohl’s has not been as remarkably affected by these circumstances, remaining highly successful in its performance, a decrease in potential productivity can still be noted (Loeb, 2021). Thus, to address the contemporary non-contact purchasing tendencies and improve its standing on the market, it is crucial to update the existing shipping methods. On-demand delivery could successfully resolve these issues by providing a safe, contactless option of receiving necessary products at a convenient location.
Another benefit of the suggested delivery options is its technological attribute, which is crucial for the modern environment. Currently, companies are expected to perform according to scientific and technological developments, incorporating advanced strategies to accommodate the customers’ needs (Fisher et al., 2016). As such, non-contact locker shipping necessitates an appropriate level of electronic expertise, which improves the enterprise’s technological standing and allows it to advance further in the implementation of various technological resolutions.
Finally, it is vital to note the strategic advantages of on-demand delivery to specific locations. Shipping to local delivery points, lockers, or convenience stores is especially beneficial for the distributor, as it decreases the shipping time and minimizes the expenses that would be employed in delivering the purchases directly. For instance, it becomes possible to create a fixed contract with the local distribution company, which is crucial for business relationship development (Bovee, & Thill, 2017). Findings indicate that upholding a higher number of active delivery points through fixed contracts is highly beneficial for the distributor, as it increases shipping flexibility and covers a larger population area (Hong et al., 2019). Thus, the costs associated with maintaining partnerships are smaller in comparison with performing independent deliveries or shipping directly to post officers or customer homes. Rather than elevating shipping fees or launching a new Kohl’s store to promote area influence, it is possible to enter into a business agreement with a local distribution or convenience store company, promoting regional growth.
Customer Satisfaction as a Necessary Consideration for the Retail Industry
Maintaining exemplary customer services and offering the clients prominent shopping opportunities is a crucial task for omnichannel retailers. However, a vital part of contemporary shopping processes is occupied by the delivery standards, where shipping is excepted to be quick and accessible. On-demand delivery directly addresses this problem, prompting the customer to choose a convenient location and time according to their schedule (Hong et al., 2019). As a result, service satisfaction often tends to increase when multiple shipping methods are introduced, covering a broader area of client requests (Zurel et al., 2018).
Individuals who reside in places remote from the distributor’s stores might benefit from the possibility of receiving the necessary goods at a local delivery point while avoiding the need to pay extra for home shipping. In addition, home shipping is frequently reported to be inconvenient for particular populations who wish to remain flexible and prevent waiting for the package at home. Altogether, adding on-demand delivery options can be especially beneficial for large-scale companies, whose products are demanded in numerous locations.
Considering these details, Kohl’s might exceptionally increase their profitability and customer service quality by introducing this strategy. The overall costs for shipping and supplementary charges can be overwhelming both for the retailer and the customer, meaning that relevant changes are needed. As such, current shipping costs, as well as 1-day and 2-day shipping availability, are prominent issues for the clients aiming to order products online (Zurel et al., 2018). Changing the adopted strategy and including on-demand delivery could efficiently alleviate these complications, improving customer satisfaction and providing the clients with additional options to use.
To conclude, the potential benefits of altering the current shipping possibilities available at Kohl’s were discussed in detail in this paper, proposing that a system of on-demand non-contact delivery could yield significant positive outcomes. The example of Amazon Lockers and other similar delivery strategies aimed at reducing customer waiting time demonstrates that it is essential for modern retail companies to adjust to the contemporary shopping environment. As online purchasing continues to grow, clients expect that distributors will offer corresponding quick and efficient shipping options that are available even if the enterprise’s store is not present in the vicinity. Furthermore, on-demand delivery promotes business collaboration between various organizations and furthers technological growth, which are vital factors for an enterprise’s success.
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