Hermes’ head of marketing Joanne Morley speaks to Petplanet.co.uk to understand the etailers’ delivery strategy.
Regardless of what industry you work in, there are a number of golden rules you would be wise to follow when it comes to marketing your portfolio of services and solutions.
Firstly, you must understand your customer’s objectives and the reason why they have selected your product. Secondly, you must ascertain exactly how they utilise it day to day. By arming yourself with this knowledge you’ll be in a favourable position when it comes to refining your products, promoting them and ultimately driving more sales.
At Hermes, we achieve this by being in constant communication with our clients – one of which is Petplanet.co.uk, long recognised as one of the online market leaders in the pet sector. We recently spoke with Scott Torrens, finance director of M8 Group, the owner of Petplanet.co.uk, to understand the emphasis the company places on delivery and customer service, as well as the secret behind its success.
What is your delivery strategy?
We pride ourselves on offering our customers a broad range of delivery options so they can receive their purchases at a time and place that suits them. Some customers need things quickly and so we offer an express next-day service, whereas others are happy with a standard delivery. What everyone wants to know is when their goods are coming so we regularly communicate this with our customers and insist our courier partners to do the same.
We hold more than 5,000 different products in stock and have in the group circa 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space. We invest to ensure we have high levels of in-stock availability so our customers should never have to wait for what they want.
We pride ourselves on offering our customers a broad range of delivery options so they can receive their purchases at a time and place that suits them
How important is your choice of delivery partner?
Selecting the right courier partners is extremely important for our business, as they are the personal touch – the point of contact for our customers. If we do everything else right but get the delivery wrong then we end up with an unhappy customer.
The costs that we incur when a delivery fails are more than just sending out replacement items and additional customer care costs – a failed delivery damages our relationship with our customer and can impact our wider online reputation. This is why we continually monitor and review our couriers’ performance.
How long have you worked with Hermes?
M8 Group contacted Hermes as we had heard good things about the services they provide. They became one of our courier partners around two years ago, providing a standard 48-hour delivery service for our customers. We have been delighted with the service they have provided and, as a result, we have entered into a three-year agreement with them.
Can you tell us about the team that makes it happen behind the scenes?
We have been in business for 17 years and have grown every single year. Based in Livingston, West Lothian, we have a team of around 100 people who really know their stuff. Most of us are pet lovers and we know what our customers and their pets want. Our buying team is always up to date on the latest pet products and the fact that our dedicated customer service team is located on-site in Livingston means that we can be very responsive to any issues.
What is the secret behind the company’s success?
As a dedicated online retailer everything we do, from buying and ranging through to pricing, merchandising and marketing, is optimised for the unique challenges of online retail. The end result is that we believe we offer our customers a unique value proposition.
Beyond that it’s about ensuring our websites keep up-to-date with technology trends. For example, we are seeing a much greater number of orders being placed using mobile devices so we have adapted to facilitate this. Finally, we ensure that our costs are well controlled so that we can offer exceptional value to customers.
Joanne Morley is head of marketing at Hermes