Would customers be willing to use an alternative (chargeable) delivery concept for the last mile?
Our research examines customer acceptance and willingness-to-pay for a eco-friendly last mile micro depot in which goods from different freight carriers are consolidated before the final delivery by cargo-bikes. We designed a (still) hypothetical micro depot concept called "DeinDepot" and carried out a representative survey in major German cities. An essential difference to previous micro depot concepts is that in our case, consumers trigger the delivery of the online ordered goods to the micro depot. In the following this concept is called “customer-driven” central last mile micro depot (CMD). Research on CMDs in terms of acceptance and willingness to pay from an online-customer point of view does not exist so far. Our research closes this research gap by posing the following research questions: “Would online customers be willing to use a customer-driven CMD?” and “Would online customers be willing to pay for a customer-driven CMD?”
B2C e-commerce is still one of the fastest growing marketing channels in almost all product categories yielding to less bundled direct-to-consumer deliveries. Last mile deliveries cause costs and emissions especially in urban areas with a high density of e-customers. Therefore, stakeholders in the context of last mile parcel deliveries are interested in implementing efficient, innovative and ecological last mile concepts. Additionally, such concepts must fulfill the requirements and expectations of online customers as parcel recipients because last mile delivery is the critical link between an online purchase and the delivery to the address stated by the customer. In our customer-driven central last mile micro depot (CMD) project a potential analysis was carried out for the implementation of a CMD with the aim of environmentally-friendly and bundled last mile delivery.
Our empirical results based on a survey among German major city residents indicate that city residential areas are potentially more suitable for the realization of a CMD-project than other areas. Furthermore, younger and employed inhabitants are most willing to use the CMD. Based on our statistical model we are able to predict values for the willingness to pay per parcel for a specific population of urban inhabitants. A high proportion of the population in cities (60%) would be interested in participating. However, only 36% are willing to pay in addition to the usual parcel delivery charges. 26% are willing to pay €1.00 or more.
E-consumers in cities are quite willing to contribute a certain amount to the last mile costs. This implies that a successful implementation of a CMD requires a target group specific approach. Our research insight can help stakeholder groups to develop innovative and eco-friendly last mile delivery concepts.
Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Research Lab for Urban Transport: Senior Researcher