Yamato Group Solutions

Enhancing Mail Order Provider Profitability through Improved Consumer Convenience  
Mail Order Solutions

Same-Day Delivery and Electronic Payments

Mail order is one of the few business segments in Japan that have performed strongly despite sluggish growth in consumer spending. The Yamato Group provides a wide range of services to mail order providers aspiring to boost earnings on the back of the growing popularity of Internet shopping. The basic strategy of these services is to further enhance the convenience for the buyer, under the ultimate goal to grow the bottom line of mail order businesses by improving customer satisfaction. To address consumer demand to receive an order as quickly as possible, Yamato Transport began offering to mail order providers the Today Shopping Service (TSS), which can deliver a customer's order as quickly as the same day it was ordered. Yamato Transport also addressed consumer demand for a broad mix of payment options by having its sales drivers (SD) use a handy terminal that can process most types of electronic money (e-money) developed and used in Japan today. Both of these approaches demonstrate that the Yamato Group is committed to improving consumer convenience from a variety of angles. 
(Reporting and editing by Nikkei BP Consulting Inc.)


Providing a Wide Range of Services to Mail Order Providers that Enhance Consumer Convenience 
Boosting the Bottom Line through Improved Customer Satisfaction

Hayatoshi Yoshida
General Manager
"Today Shopping Service" Promotion
Division of Business Development

Despite the prolonged downturn in consumer spending in Japan, the mail order segment has seen consistent sales growth. According to statistics from the Japan Direct Marketing Association (JADMA), mail order sales for fiscal 2009 totalled approximately 4.31 trillion yen, which marked a 4.1% increase over fiscal 2008. The mail-order industry is expected to grow still further in fiscal 2010 underpinned by the rising use of Internet shopping by females and other factors.

Home delivery services play the key role in the "last mile" when it comes to delivering the products of mail order providers. Yamato Transport's TA-Q-BIN delivery service retains a top share in Japan's home delivery segment and ranks second in Japan in terms of deliveries for products purchased from mail order providers. What are some of the strategies the Yamato Group is planning in order to overtake its competitors?

"Our basic strategy is to provide solutions that help enhance the convenience for buyers of mail order products," asserts General Manager Hayatoshi Yoshida who is in charge of mail order provider sales and marketing for Yamato Transport's "Today Shopping Service" Business Promotion and Development Division. "Enhancing the convenience of the buyer helps improve customer satisfaction, which in turn contributes directly to the bottom line of our mail order clients."

Under this basic strategy, the Yamato Group leverages its nationwide TA-Q-BIN infrastructure to provide a wide range of services to mail order businesses, including the Driver Direct Service where SD can be contacted directly, a service that allows the appointment of a precise designated time delivery service, and the recipient designation service.

If the buyer is a member of the Yamato Transport members club, Kuroneko Members, they can use the recipient designation service to schedule a day and time of delivery and even change the recipient address. The package can be received at home, a convenience store, a Yamato Transport sales office and sometimes even the buyer's place of work. This service, only made possible through the expertise and infrastructure of Yamato Transport, aims to exceed the conventional "home delivery service" to become a "personal delivery service" that delivers packages to the most ideal location for the consumer. As of October 2010, Kuroneko Members had 5.8 million members.

Yoshida points out that by using this service to enhance buyer convenience, "in the end, it contributes to improving the return rate of mail order products."

Many mail order providers face the same challenge of addressing the large volume of returned merchandise. This is because many Japanese consumers are finicky and often return a product after it arrives because they change their mind during the time in which it takes it to be delivered, even if they really wanted the product when placing the order. Using the Yamato Group service, however, consumers can receive the product promptly without worry, which serves to reduce the motivation to return it.

One mail order provider cut its product return rate by 0.5% after switching its delivery provider to Yamato Transport. Most mail order providers focus on a "small-profits-and-quick-returns" approach, so even a mere 0.5% improvement holds a great significance for the business.

Improving customer satisfaction also boosts the number of repeat buyers. This also greatly contributes to generating higher earnings for mail order businesses.

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<Mail Order Solutions> 
Enhancing Mail Order Provider Profitability through Improved Consumer Convenience

  • Chapter-01. 
Providing a Wide Range of Services to Mail Order Providers that Enhance Consumer Convenience
  • Chapter-02. 
TSS – Making Same-Day Delivery a Reality
  • Chapter-03. 
Auto-Pick Factory – Key Factor in Expedited Deliveries
  • Chapter-04. 
One of the First to Process E-Money Payments
  • Chapter-05. 
Use of E-Money on the Rise with the Advent of Loyalty Reward Point Programs

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About the Yamato Group

The Yamato Group includes the following companies: Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., which has developed an express delivery network nationwide; Yamato System Development Co., Ltd., which develops and operates diverse IT solutions including data centers; Yamato Home Convenience Co., Ltd., which transports and sets up consumer electronics, household goods, and machinery that cannot be transported via express delivery; Yamato Logistics Co., Ltd., which specializes in domestic and overseas logistics outsourcing; Yamato Financial Co., Ltd., which provides settlement services; and others. These companies pool their talents, which encompass "information, logistics, and settlement", to provide optimal solutions from a comprehensive perspective to the problems of client companies.