Innovation – the Key to Growth
One key component to achieving growth is innovation. Franchisors and franchisees need to recognise that creativity and change is essential to achieving growth. There must be mutual understanding of the constant requirement to anticipate and respond to changing customer needs through evolution and innovation of the business model.
The couriering and logistics industry is one of those markets that is experiencing organic growth. In today’s world of online shopping, there continues to be more and more goods being shipped by businesses and consumers than ever before. According to the respected market research company IBISWorld, it is forecasted that the $6.9 billion revenue of the courier parcel industry will increase to $8.2 billion in 2018-19. Yet, in a competitive environment some companies in the logistics industry are not growing whilst others are thriving. The difference largely comes down to innovation that responds to changing customer needs.
PACK & SEND is one of those companies in the logistics industry seeing good growth. For example, in the first 3 quarters of the 2013/14 financial year, our company experienced a 39 per cent increase in the number of international shipments. In January alone, the international shipping for PACK & SEND increased 34 per cent year on year. A key contributing factor to this growth was our ability to respond to the growing customer demand for more choice and convenience. Today, we offer our customers the option to book parcel and freight deliveries over the phone, in person at a retail service centre or online. This is offered by no other company, creating a point of difference to competitors, and it is this level of innovation and fresh logistics thinking that has enabled us to experience strong growth.
The rise in e-commerce and online shopping has placed challenges on the logistics industry with regards to the delivery of parcels to homes. Missed deliveries of parcels because no one is at home to receive the goods is a common place occurrence and is essentially a cost in money and time to carriers, retailers and the consumer. Customers want more predictability around their home deliveries and this has resulted in retail locations being innovatively used as alternate delivery locations – providing customers with the convenience of being able to collect their parcels from such locations close to their home at a time that suits their schedules.
PACK & SEND’s established retail network and freight expertise enables us to offer an alternative delivery location better than most – but we also recognise we can further innovate by supplementing our retail network with the opening of satellite kiosk services within other retail locations. Stepping up the levels of service you provide to customers doesn’t necessarily mean more hands on deck at a service centre or a new smartphone app. Innovating cleverly and creatively and keeping your business top of mind in situations where customers most need your services can change the perceptions of your business automatically.
Innovation in online marketplace
On the other hand, technological innovation is still imperative to improving business services in an age where people turn to the internet for answers, advice and ideas. We have an incredibly useful online service channel for PACK & SEND, but the question for us as an innovative business was how to take this offering one step further. As a result, the idea for PowerSender was developed – a solution for businesses that regularly send up to 100 parcels per week, giving them access to time saving features in their booking process to quickly and easily send repeat packages to different recipients. We are now developing an eBay integration option for retailers using eBay as a sales platform, allowing sellers to post their packages with a couple of clicks. This innovation is a significant and new area of opportunity for the couriering and logistics industry, and will allow our franchisees to leverage off this platform.
The future is now
Thinking forwards to what your industry might look like in 20 years’ time is a tactic that has proven effective for PACK & SEND within couriering and logistics. What technologies will we have available to us that will change the way we do business, or make our services quicker and more effective? What are the social and business trends of the future? Companies around the world are working on the next generation of driverless cars and technology that will manage our roads so congestion becomes a thing of the past. The possibilities that this sort of information holds for an industry that relies on road transport like couriering and logistics are exciting and create a plethora of questions about how we might operate our business in the future. Even if new technologies are years away and could take decades in the making, the businesses who are already thinking about how change might be handled will be at the head of their game innovating now for what might come in the future. Being future ready isn’t something that happens in the future.
All businesses face competition, thus customers always have a choice. In order to stay on top of your game, innovation is the key to maintaining success and being the first choice for your customers. Franchisors have a responsibility to innovate for the benefit of their franchisees, and a prerogative to innovate for their new and existing customer bases. When it comes to maintaining and growing market share under increasing business pressures, defining what it is that makes your brand stand out, capitalising on those features and continuing to be innovative in your service delivery can set your brand aside as one of the best.
Michael Paul is the CEO and founder of Australian company Pack & Send . He established the business in 1993 after noticing that businesses and consumers were looking for one-stop-shop solutions for sending anything, anywhere – that also included a convenient packaging service (especially for items that were fragile, large, awkward and valuable). Michael has over 20 years experience in the franchising and retail industries.
PACK & SEND opened its first Service Centre in Parramatta, New South Wales in 1993 and has since grown to a $37.4 million international business with 300 people employed under the brand and a network of more than 130 Retail Service Centres in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
P: 1300 668 000