Amazon Prime and the guarantee of two-day delivery has completely changed consumer expectations when it comes to home delivery.
Shoppers today expect a level of clarity and transparency into the delivery process never before thought possible. From the moment they click “purchase,” consumers want to know where their package is, who is delivering it, and the exact time they can expect it on their doorstep.
Businesses filling a growing volume of online orders are facing logistics pressure as they scramble to get packages delivered across the country on their customers’ terms and in a tight timeframe. However, this new environment generates opportunities for retailers to win customer loyalty by providing the best delivery experience possible.
To do so, retailers must adapt their approach to logistics by adopting new final-mile mindsets, technology, and logistics partners. Here’s what every modern retailer needs to succeed in today’s delivery economy:
Consumers are accustomed to an integrated and customizable package tracking experience. They expect easy access to this information 24/7, whether it be on their mobile device or desktop computer. Businesses must invest in these tracking capabilities and ensure their accuracy. Without them, they run the risk of eroding customer loyalty and trust.
Personalized and precise delivery is the future, and customers need an easy and effective way to make changes to their delivery preferences and schedules. Final-mile carriers must also have access to this information in real time to meet the customer on their terms. Owning and operating your own fleet can also create delivery challenges when resources are stretched. By leveraging independent contractor and/or crowdsourcing models, businesses can open up access to trucks and drivers across the globe that will in turn enable them to react nimbly to new delivery requests and changes.
Final-mile delivery leaders allow for two-way communication and permit the receiving party to leave detailed instructions on where and how to leave packages. Customers want complete visibility into the delivery progress, whether it be from emails, text alerts, or push notifications from an app on their smartphone. Customers not only expect instant and direct interaction with their delivery carrier, but wish to personalize how they do so.
Amazon raised the bar when it guaranteed two-day delivery on all Prime purchases. Deliveries that are one day, or even one hour, late have become unacceptable in the eyes of consumers. Today, a 100% delivery success rate is the expectation from customers, and retailers must do everything they can to attain it. This dependability has become essential in building customer relationships and trust. Consumers need to know exactly when to expect their package, and have confidence that it will be there as planned.
Modern final-mile delivery engines must come equipped with a fully integrated suite of technology tools that combine information portals, scheduling software, and real-time intelligence data to inform and enhance delivery execution. New delivery technology is also powering business operations with intelligence collected from tracking and monitoring tools. This information can deliver powerful insights into how to orchestrate daily delivery schedules, monitor driver efficiency, optimize route mapping for trucking fleets, and much more. An investment in enterprise resource planning software and warehouse management systems also becomes crucial when managing large volumes of orders during peak order seasons.
With companies now expected to deliver to every corner of the country at a moment’s notice, utilizing a single-warehouse system can limit companies planning a growing number of overnight and next-day delivery orders. Under a multi-warehouse system, businesses can cut down on shipping costs and duration by sending out deliveries from warehouses closest to their final destinations. The most efficient final-mile solutions leverage a hub-and-spoke distribution model to execute deliveries from distribution centers to stores, and from store to front door.
Turning Logistics into a Business Advantage
In today’s age of tightening delivery timelines and growing consumer demands, retailers must ensure that their logistics process leverages the right technology and expertise to succeed. It’s crucial that their logistics partner aligns with their business values, has a proven track record of customer satisfaction and the capacity to keep up as the demand for final-mile home delivery continues to grow. With the right mindset, capabilities, and partners, retailers can transform logistics into a business advantage and grow customer loyalty.
Dan Byrne is Vice President of Business Development at USPack.