Note: Today’s post is part of our “Editor’s Choice” series where we highlight recent posts published by our sponsors that provide supply chain insights and advice. This article is from FarEye and examines the challenges around big and bulky deliveries in 2022.
As online retail continues its impressive growth, consumers and retailers alike are realizing the importance of delivery and its impact on purchase decisions. Retailers with faster, cheaper, more flexible and more sustainable shipping have a competitive advantage.
Getting this competitive advantage is a challenge for retailers of both small and large items. With larger items like furniture and appliances, however, things get a bit trickier. Special equipment like larger trucks, lift gates and dollies may be required. Two-man delivery crews may be needed and oftentimes may need to enter the home to deliver and install purchased items. Because of these additional resources required, providing fast, cheap, flexible and sustainable delivery of Big & Bulky items can be difficult but crucial, as over 35% of furniture sales worldwide are expected to be made online by 2025.
At the risk of losing delivery competitive advantages and a consumer or two, here are a few of the top challenges retailers of Big & Bulky items must overcome in 2022:
Long Delivery Windows
Delivery windows for larger, heavier items are typically longer than delivery windows for smaller items. Upon checkout, consumers may be faced with estimated delivery dates ranging from days to weeks in length. Many furniture and appliance retailers do not show consumers a delivery window before checking out, giving them only a deliver-by date. Making matters worse, if the delivery requires delivery personnel to enter a consumer’s home, long delivery windows can be tremendously inconvenient as consumers may need to spend an entire day at home waiting for the delivery to arrive. With top retailers such as Amazon offering 2-hour delivery on smaller items from the point of sale, consumer expectations for deliveries (regardless of size) have been reset. Recent supply chain bottlenecks have only compounded this issue, putting pressure on available inventory levels and creating further difficulties for retailers’ abilities to accurately estimate delivery windows and give consumers confidence in when their orders will arrive. Retailers can solve this dilemma and provide shorter, more accurate delivery windows through greater adoption of end-to-end visibility solutions that can allow them to be predictive and proactive in their supply chain operations, and communicate status updates with consumers. This is important for consumer satisfaction as 93% of consumers want to stay informed throughout the delivery process and 47% will not order again from a brand with poor delivery visibility. Automated, accurate and transparent communications between retailers and consumers isn’t just beneficial to consumers, it can reduce retailer headaches by alleviating pressures on customer service call centers from consumers wondering where their orders are, saving time and money – a win-win.
Once a delivery window is set, estimating the exact time within that window that the order will arrive can be as equally challenging as setting the delivery window. Estimating delivery times for Big & Bulky items can be tricky. When consumers place an order, retailers may not have the large item in stock at a nearby store due to the high inventory costs of large items. Delivery orders may originate from retailer warehouses or even manufacturer factories, far away from the consumer.
To read the full article, click HERE.