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The challenge of delivering bulky products

2021/01/12 8min read

The challenge of delivering bulky products

The rise of e-commerce for heavy and bulky products

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In recent years, new product categories have developed in e-commerce. Household appliances, furniture and DIY are the main growth sectors :

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Household appliances

According to the findings of the annual report of the Group of Home Appliance Brands (Gifam), the household appliances market achieved a total turnover of 8.8 billion euros and saw growth of 3.7% in 2019 in France.

This growth is particularly marked in the small domestic appliance sector (up 4.7%). With 54.2 million devices sold, this sector achieved a turnover of 3.4 billion euros.

The large domestic appliance market amounts to 5.3 billion euros with more than 15 million devices sold. Here, again, recovery is clear to see across all families (+3.7%).

Furniture

According to FNAEM (French Federation for Trade in Furniture and Home Equipment), Ameublement Français and IPEA (the Institute for Furniture Studies and Foresight), in 2019, furniture sales increased by 4.1% in value and the market crossed the 13 billion euros threshold for household furniture sold, stabilising at 11.3 billion euros before VAT.

The kitchen furniture sector has seen the best performance on the market, with real enthusiasm among French people for fitted kitchens (segment growing by more than 6%).

With an increase of 3.4%, furniture also saw strong performances, while sales areas dedicated to it continue to decline in many physical stores.

DIY

In 2019, the DIY market performed well, growing by 3.4% compared to 2018, reaching 28 billion euros, according to the FMB, Federation of DIY Stores and Home Improvement.
Sales in the plumbing, bathroom and kitchen sector, which amounted to 2.4 billion euros, were up by 4.6%.

Bathrooms are up by 4%, kitchens by 5%, while plumbing is also up by 4%.

This performance by the DIY market can be contrasted with that of the maintenance-renovation activity of artisan building companies, which only increased by 1% in 2019. The French therefore seem to be making more progress in "doing it faster" than "getting it done", and are now prepared to undertake technical work, for example electrical, the extent of which is growing by 3%.

The complexity of delivering bulky products

These types of products present several complex delivery factors, in particular related to:

  • Weight
"The complexity is mainly due to the weight of the products because when a package’s unit weight exceeds 100 kg, it’s necessary/obligatory, according to transport legislation, to use more than two people. For example, an American fridge is delivered by 4 people because its weight often exceeds 100kg."
- Mikael Alloun / VIR
  • Handling
"All our service providers are selected and trained according to the type of service they’ll undertake. Each type of product actually has a different method of handling in which expertise is required, so it’s essential that we guarantee quality service in all circumstances."
- Ahmed Chaieb / Box2home

Services are having a direct impact on purchasing behaviour

The delivery of heavy, bulky products presents numerous constraints beyond their handling.
In fact, delivering this type of product most often needs to be done by appointment only and involves additional services.

The carrier's information system must therefore be able to receive the information provided to it by the brand: the customer's phone number, the delivery window if it’s already been agreed, if there’s an upper floor involved, if the packaging needs to be taken away, if the furniture needs assembling or the washing machine put into service, etc.

Here are the different levels of home delivery services for heavy, bulky products:

"Low cost delivery: Kerbside delivery with qualitative and quantitative inspection of the products.
Standard delivery: Delivery to the room indicated by the customer, including upstairs, with qualitative and quantitative inspection of the products.
Unpacking delivery: Delivery to the room indicated by the customer, including upstairs, with qualitative and quantitative inspection of the products before and after unpacking. Taking packaging away for processing.
Installation delivery: Delivery to the room indicated by the customer, including upstairs, with qualitative and quantitative inspection of the products before and after unpacking. Removal of packaging for processing and installation of the product.
Assembly delivery: Delivery to the room indicated by the customer, including upstairs, with qualitative and quantitative inspection of the products before and after unpacking. Removal of packaging for processing and assembly of the furniture-type product in kit form."
- Mikael Alloun / VIR

Much less popular, this type of product can also be delivered to a pick-up point.
Less expensive than home delivery, this solution is a good alternative for the customer and few operators present such an offer on the market.

"Our main job is to manage your parcels at a pick-up centre (in other words, taking receipt, storing for 15 days, and handing over to the customer in the evening or at the weekend with loading assistance), but we’re developing other solutions: long-term storage at a pick-up point, management of consumer returns."
- Cédric Guyot / Agrikolis

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Delivery services have also given rise to other types of services such as the WEEE take-back service (waste electrical and electronic equipment).

WEEE is a legal constraint (R543-172). When a brand sells a household appliance or electronic product, it must offer to take back the old equipment so that it can be processed and recycled by an authorised operator.

"Box2Home is an operator in the circular economy for the various brands with which we are lucky enough to work. This means we’re able to manage both delivery, and in an environmentally-respectful approach, the collection of defective devices or items that are no longer used. Our partners can either recycle them or repair them to give items a second life. In addition, recovering these allows us to optimise flows by avoiding empty returns."
- Ahmed Chaieb / Box2home

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But other additional services such as reverse logistics in particular.

This has subsequently become a service in its own right, taking into account environmental issues and concerns.

"Products not picked up from pick-up points are managed via our mobile app in order to organise their return journeys. A solution for returning products already delivered to customers is under development."
- Cédric Guyot / Agrikolis

Delivering bulky products in town centres - a real challenge

Delivery people face many difficulties when delivering heavy, bulky products in town.
Access to the end customer's home, lack of lifts, restricted access to city centres, impossible parking, etc.

"When delivering bulky products, what helps operators stand out is contingency management. Our agility and responsiveness mean we can deal with business problems such as narrow access to certain residences, optimising delivery flows during peaks in activity. Some new regulations that may change access to certain cities to reduce noise and air pollution are also a hot topic. Faced with this, it’s up to us to offer the best service with dedicated customer support lines, partners ready to intervene quickly and offer new delivery methods."
- Ahmed Chaieb / Box2home

 

What are the challenges of delivering bulky products?

A challenge of geographical coverage

Indeed, we have to keep in mind that our customers aren't all in dense urban areas, and covered by many players.

It is sometimes difficult for retailers to satisfy their customers and to propose a homogeneous voluminous delivery offer on the territory.

"Consumers have the right to request a 'pick-up' service similar to the one they have when collecting small packages. Solutions exist for the residents of large towns and cities, but when you live in the countryside or near urban centres it’s much more complicated. Agrikolis fills this void, as well as the relationship with your farmer neighbour."
- Cédric Guyot / Agrikolis

An environmental issue

It’s well known that delivering the last mile is the most costly, both financially and environmentally.

In particular, when delivering heavy, bulky products, where there are few environmental solutions that make it possible to maintain a maximum carrying capacity (example of cargo bikes which allow you to transport bulky products but have a weight threshold as well as a limited load capacity)

"The first challenge for the sector is to ensure the sustainability of our business. It’s by taking action to reduce our environmental impact that we can envision a service that meets the expectations we have for our customers.[...] Next, we’re deploying a multi-modal transport project to use modes of transport that emit fewer greenhouse gases as well as eco-friendly transport. This allows us to give our customers a sustainable offer."
- Ahmed Chaieb / Box2home

In short, the heavy logistics market still has a bright future ahead of it. It aims to be more responsible, more specialised with trained delivery people and closer to the customer with installation of their washing machine directly in the room of their choice. The challenge, however, is to square this with the triptych so essential to the success of a delivery: cost, quality and time.

"We believe this market (delivery of bulky products) has not yet reached maturity and that the growth prospects are very significant. The challenge will be to successfully absorb this growth while continuing to meet our commitments relating to the challenges of delivering heavy, bulky products."
- Mikael Alloun / VIR

Woop is an expert in orchestrating the delivery of heavy, bulky products by its long-standing customers specialising in DIY, in particular.

Woop offers service levels and adapted carriers such as two-man delivery, installation and assembly or delivery to the room of choice.

 

WOOP TOUCH

Woop is an expert in orchestrating the delivery of heavy, bulky products by its long-standing customers specialising in DIY, in particular. Woop offers service levels and adapted carriers such as two-man delivery, installation and assembly or delivery to the room of choice.

We now have real experience in this type of product because we’re able to link the entire region with our specialist carriers.

Woop also offers alternative solutions to home delivery for this type of product, such as delivery to a pick-up point.

Then join WOOP !

Contact us

 

Woop offers local services focused on “last-mile” delivery solutions. Our technological platform, unique on the market, aggregates and orchestrates, on a single interface, all the delivery offers of more than 100 partner carriers. Woop identifies different delivery scenarios for its retail customers according to predefined criteria - price, quality of service, carbon impact - allowing them to choose the best offer at the best price, favouring sustainable transport wherever possible.

Together with its customers and network of carriers, Woop forms a connected, efficient value chain offering consumers a committed, seamless and effortless delivery experience that’s good for the planet.

Thank you for your expert words!

Capture d’écran 2022-06-24 à 16.10.59

Partenaires
Agrikolis / Box 2 Home / VIR

Sources
Journal du Net / LeFigaro / Ameublement.com / sdbpro.fr

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