Retail

Major shoe retailer begins rolling out same-day delivery as speed trumps price for online retail

Eloise Keating /

Australian retailers offering same-day delivery is becoming an everyday reality for shoppers across the country, as speed and convenience become increasingly important in the race to win a share of the country’s online retail spend.

The latest retailer to add same-day delivery to its arsenal is Athletes Foot’s parent company Accent Group, which is in the process of rolling out the service across its entire shoe retailer network.

Accent Group, previously known as RCG Corp, operates 350 stores across the country under nine brands, including Athletes Foot, Hype DC, Sketchers, Platypus and Vans.

The group commenced the same-day delivery service from 12 Platypus stores last week, according to Fairfax, and will extend the offering to all its stores over the next two months.

Customers will have the option to pay $14 to have their shoes delivered on the same day, with orders to be dispatched from the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores, instead of a centralised distribution point.

According to Accent Group chief digital officer Mark Teperson, approximately 3% of the company’s online shoppers chose to take up the option in its first week and he expects this to reach close to 5% within 12 months.

The move to offer same-day delivery is reportedly part of a broader strategy from Accent Group to play in the ‘omnichannel’ retail space, which also includes a ‘click-and-collect’ offering that Teperson says is accounting for 10-20% of online sales, depending on the brand, and a decision to make in-store stock available for online shoppers to order.

Together, the strategies helped Accent Group double its online sales conversion “overnight”, according to Fairfax.

This is putting the group in a strong position against all competitors, including Amazon, said Teperson.

“As new competitors, be it Amazon or anyone else that enters the market, comes to play, we feel like we’ve got a competitive advantage in our space,” he told Fairfax.

“A smart move”

“What we’re seeing is that speed if becoming the currency of business today,” says Dr Gary Mortimer, a retail expert and associate professor in the business school at the Queensland University of Technology.

Mortimer describes Accent Group’s strategy as a “smart move”, given that in today’s e-commerce environment, “it’s not longer about being the cheapest, but being the fastest”.

“We’re seeing retailers looking at innovative ways in which to get products out faster than competitors … [and] we know shoppers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery,” he tells SmartCompany

Globally, retailers are increasingly looking at innovative ways to overcome the “barriers” presented by delivery windows, says Mortimer.

In the US, for example, Walmart has trialled having employees deliver parcels to shoppers on their way home from work, says Mortimer. Closer to home, delivery startup Passel is in effect crowdsourcing same-day deliveries by allowing individuals to complete parcel deliveries for retailers in their local area.

Similarly, Mortimer says Coles and Woolworths have been experimenting and looking at ways to provide same-day delivery on groceries.

“Companies are really looking at how we facilitate same-day delivery,” says Mortimer, who believes Accent Group may have found a way to remove one of the key “pain points” in the online shopping experience.

“It is challenging in Australia because we have such large geographic distances to facilitate same-day delivery, but if you decentralise it, it’s faster,” he says.

SmartCompany contacted Accent Group but did not receive a response prior to publication.

NOW READ: Why Australian shoppers won’t see same-day delivery from Amazon for years to come

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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