Online Retail and Parcel Delivery; a symbiotic relationship

DPD, the international logistics company, wanted to understand how their service performed in the eyes of their customers; namely the people sending and receiving parcels.

To understand the process of sending parcels, we performed a series of Summative Usability Tests where we asked participants to send parcels to a second group of research participants. This test included more than just booking a delivery online, it also involved liaising with the courier when they came to collect said parcels.

To understand the recipients perspective, we opted for a more ethnographic approach. Instead of interviewing people about their past experiences, we chose to conduct a Diary Study which allowed participants to report events and experiences from their natural environment. It was these diary study participants that formed the second research group to whom parcels would be sent.

Before the study began, each diary study participant was briefed so they fully understood what they needed to report, how they should report it and when they needed to submit their report.

For this exercise, we followed an event-contingent protocol, which means that participants were required to report each time a related event occurred, namely communication from DPD.

To complete their diary, entries were submitted either via email or via an online form. The form allowed them to enter a description of their experience and rate it on a likert scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (Fantastic).

Once all parcels were delivered, a final de-brief was held with each participant. This provided an opportunity for us to clarify any ambiguities in their diary entries and for them to rate their overall DPD experience.

Due to the amount of data collected, the first step was to ensure we had a record of each participants unique experience as they often become blurred when you get engrossed in data modelling.

The next step was to consolidate the entries and model the data. It was these consolidated entries that formed the basis of our Experience Map.

This mapping exercise allowed us to gain a holistic view of DPD through the eyes of their customers, which in-turn allowed us to isolate pain points and identify a number of areas that were open to possible improvement.


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