drop2shop and the greening of Irish e-commerce delivery

drop2shop - the greening of Irish e-commerce delivery

Online shopping brings with it immense convenience, allowing consumers to avail themselves of a world of retail at the click of a button.

E-commerce has been enthusiastically embraced by Irish e-shoppers, who are expected to place orders worth more than €7.1 billion this year, up 11.6 per cent on the figure for 2023.

It is a total which is on course to rise by as much as 46 per cent more before the decade is out.

Yet the brands they choose to buy, their logistics partners and consumers are all very aware that the process is not entirely consequence-free.

Given that delivering purchases and dealing with returns generates a significant carbon footprint, intense time and effort has been expended in trying to create ever more environmentally-friendly methods.

That is particularly true in the critical final mile of deliveries which, experts suggest, accounts for up to 40 per cent of all e-commerce emissions.

Such concerns were central to the creation of drop2shop and our determination to establish Ireland’s most speedy, secure and green e-commerce parcel network.

That resolve has been justified by a new report which underlines the advantages of the kind of Pick-Up, Drop-Off (PUDO) platforms like ours.

Compiled by leading independent specialists in e-commerce delivery, Last Mile Experts, the study identifies how PUDO systems outstrip home deliveries in environmental and commercial terms.

First-time delivery failure rates – one of the key metrics in determining the viability of any mode of logistics – can be as high as 25 per cent when goods are dispatched to consumers’ homes, while the average PUDO delivery success figure is above 99 per cent.

Routing orders through a PUDO network saves both the costs incurred by carriers in trying to make repeat delivery attempts and the environmental impact involved in doing so.

The Last Mile Experts’ report concluded that home deliveries produce nearly five times the carbon emissions of an average PUDO shipment.

Whilst the use of electric vehicles will be vital in reducing CO2 emissions, Last Mile Experts argue that their mass adoption by express couriers is not likely for some time, making PUDO locations and automated locker boxes “the most important short term weapon in the carbon beating armoury”.

Furthermore, having established the critical role played by PUDO systems, the report notes that use of them is greatest when they are close to e-consumers’ homes and where people can “carry out other errands, thus saving more journeys (and emissions)”.

The findings bear out the research undertaken before drop2shop commenced and almost echo how the platform operates.

We understood how environmental issues influenced the thinking of shoppers about how their purchases were delivered, something now demonstrated by a number of surveys.

drop2shop allows customers of several hundred online brands to collect and return goods bought online.

It was launched in collaboration with BWG Foods, which owns Ireland’s largest network of convenience stores, including familiar brands such as Eurospar, Spar, Mace, XL and Londis – the same premises which are visited by an estimated one million people a day across the country.

One of drop2shop’s stand-out features, though, is that it doesn’t rely on its own dedicated vans or trucks, using instead BWG’s vehicles which also bring stock to participating stores.

The BWG fleet includes the largest contingent of CNG (compressed natural gas) powered trucks in operation in Ireland.

It means that drop2shop has been able to reduce the expected carbon footprint for our services by more than one million road miles and 150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the last year.

Having proven its merits, the service is even now more widely available thanks to a partnership with Boots, which offers drop2shop to consumers in 81 of its Irish stores.

The platform is environmental in more than miles too as it is paperless and operates via QR codes sent to shoppers’ mobile ‘phones rather than print-outs and labels.

That sense of innovation together with our nationwide coverage and environmental responsibility is why Last Mile Experts last year placed drop2shop at the very top of a separate list of Out of Home (OOH) providers.

We believe that it’s right individuals in Ireland and elsewhere have the right to shop when, how and where they want but we are also convinced that it’s important for us to take a lead in facilitating e-commerce while tackling its environmental impact at the same time.