How DFDS’ new online booking service increased sales and made life easier for their customers
DFDS is one of the busiest shipping companies in Europe, and the logistics division consists of an extensive transport portfolio. This accounts for around 35% of total DFDS revenue and delivers integrated shipping and logistics solutions from 30 international offices.
Today, DFDS and other logistics providers are facing three emerging market trends: New market players, eroding margins and changing expectations. Customers want to be able to place orders in no time, track orders and have full transparency.
Historically, the Logistics division in DFDS has handled transactions with many small and medium customers manually, both freight forwarders and industrial spot customers. This is a costly and time-consuming process that does not support DFDS’s ambition of delivering efficiency, reliability, transparency and a seamless digital customer experience.
To address this, DFDS launched a strategic initiative to develop a business case and PoC (UX/UI) to test the idea of a digital platform that saves time for both customers and DFDS and improves the overall customer experience.
DFDS wanted us to help out with strategic sparring to the top management and to be a part of the venture board for this initiative, which later was named “DFDS Direct” and to guide the product development. The initiative was treated as an internal start-up, and the team adopted both Design Thinking and Lean Start-up principles in its way of working.
Process and Approach
To begin with DFDS had internally focused on the most important part of DFDS’ business, namely their customers. DFDS had looked at their most important customer segments and what they experienced along the customer journey. What problems did they have when placing an order, and how could we solve them and make the ordering process as smooth as possible.
In close collaboration with the DFDS team, we started developing DFDS Direct, a web-based solution that integrated with core systems and addressed the key pain points identified in the customer journey. All built in an agile manner.
Based on user research and testing, the DFDS Product Owner prioritized features for the solution starting with instant quotation and online booking plus tracking and overall improved transparency. Direct also gives customers more at-a-glance control through user-friendly dashboards.
Charlie Tango led the technical development of these features in close collaboration with the internal DFDS team
As opposed to the old solution that was built on AngularJS, DFDS Direct uses React. This makes perfect sense, since other divisions in the DFDS organisation are already unifying their frontend architecture around React. Charlie Tango was able to provide React expertise and best practices that both shortened the development cycle and helped to upskill the internal DFDS team through knowledge transfer
Now that DFDS Direct has been launched, both the Direct value proposition and specific features will continue to be developed, using the Lean Start-up methodology to grow this part of the business based on customer feedback and other analytics.
Now, logistics customers can easily get a quote, book, track transport and manage freight documents directly from their computer or mobile device.
This reduces time spent on the platform, and it also reduces cost-to-serve for DFDS’s Logistics division, because they spend less time handling each order. This is expected to increase profitability and boost sales to both new and existing customers.
The preliminary results are promising. Within a couple of weeks, DFDS Direct had 10 times as many weekly customers compared to before, and is already handling thousands of bookings from hundreds of customers online with continued steady growth – things are going very well!
With DFDS Direct, Charlie Tango has helped DFDS introduce a new sales channel and new value-adding opportunities within their customer relationships and digital communication. All done in a very short time.
DFDS Direct is one part of an extensive digital transformation within DFDS which has the goal of handling a substantial majority of bookings from medium and small customers digitally.
Please visit the solution, DFDS Direct:
Director, Head of DFDS Direct
+45 9137 4192, firstname.lastname@example.org
Valdemar Warburg, VP, Head BU Nordic