As retailers across the U.S. struggle with disrupted supply chains and volatile economic markets, returning a profit has become more challenging. Retail executives are prioritizing investment in technology that can increase supply chain efficiency and their profits. They want technology to deliver last-mile efficiency along with a great customer experience and they want it now.
The growth of e-commerce and its impact on retailers
E-commerce continues to grow yearly and it’s estimated that it will make up 30% of retail purchasing by 2024. With the growth of e-commerce sales comes an uptick in last-mile deliveries and they are the most costly leg of the retailer to consumer journey. Last-mile delivery accounts for 53% of overall shipping costs.
Previously, e-commerce retailers would deliver a package at a consumer’s home and the transaction would be complete. But today, there are more delivery options than ever before, including locker pickups, buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS) and alternate delivery locations. These options help to increase delivery agility for retailers, but also introduces greater complexity and cost.
Supply chain networks are becoming more complex for retailers with both physical stores and digital channels. Utilizing software platforms to increase efficiency in the last mile can help drive profits while also positively impacting consumer experience.
Consumer Expectations for Last-Mile Delivery
Amazon has single-handedly changed consumer expectations about retail deliveries. Amazon ships approximately 1.6 million packages a day, which equates to more than 66 thousand orders per hour, and 18.5 orders per second. Amazon can deliver to consumers within two days, and many times, on the same-day. They have fundamentally changed consumer expectations for all retailers who may not have the same robust logistics network.
How can retailers without such logistics network capabilities fulfill these types of expectations for their customers? They can utilize technology and specifically last-mile delivery platforms to help optimize their routes, improve their efficiency while also providing an exceptional customer experience.
How can a digital last-mile solution help retailers?
Last-mile software solutions can help retailers by enabling enhanced route optimization and delivery orchestration and providing greater visibility of the product status to both the retailer and the consumer. Utilizing more efficient routes through routing data gained from last-mile delivery software platforms, retailers can solve issues related to productivity loss and improve operational costs.
Digital last-mile solutions can also help provide an outstanding consumer experience while also reducing the burden on customer service centers. Providing consumers with detailed information about the location of their purchase between the warehouse and their home reduces calls to customer service centers asking where is my stuff (WISMO)?
How do last-mile technology solutions impact consumer experience?
Today, delivery experience plays a crucial role in shaping customer experience. And, having a seamless delivery experience is important to all stakeholders across the value chain – retailer, carrier, consumer. For e-commerce retailers, usually the only touch point between a brand and its consumers is when the product is delivered. Unsuccessful deliveries have a big impact on consumer loyalty as seven out of 10 consumers won’t buy from a brand again if they have a negative last mile delivery experience. Brands cannot afford to get the delivery experience wrong.
In fact, 93% of consumers want to stay informed throughout the delivery process. Consumers expect prices to be low and delivery to be fast, free and flexible – allowing them to choose delivery locations, times and dates. This requires supply chains to be flexible and efficient, reducing time and costs and passing these on to consumers.
For many companies, the focus on visibility is based on the logistics execution versus the consumer experience. Last-mile delivery technology can help improve first-attempt delivery rates by providing notifications to consumers about where their products are and when they will be delivered. Last-mile solutions allow retailers to easily track and trace an order and communicate via branded SMS to end consumers, providing them with full visibility of their order.
Last-mile technology can also help with exception management by allowing managers to easily identify any errors that will lead to a problem in the delivery experience. Identifying and reducing exceptions before they happen helps reduce calls to service centers while also keeping consumers happy as they receive their goods on time, never knowing there was potential for an exception.
The last word on last-mile delivery solutions and efficiency
Beyond helping retailers create a more efficient last-mile delivery, digital last-mile solutions help manage the consumer journey. Using digital last-mile solutions means retailers can cost-effectively give consumers the Amazon effect within their brands. Last mile delivery solutions help retailers drive efficiency and growth, allowing them to compete successfully in the marketplace.
As the CEO, Kushal Nahata is responsible for driving the vision, strategy, and growth at FarEye. A dynamic leader, Kushal drives the culture of ‘customer-first’ at FarEye which enables the team to deliver value to FarEye’s 150+ clients globally. He is an effervescent thinker who is passionate about enabling digital transformation in the logistics industry and making it customer-centric. He is constantly working towards empowering companies to champion operational efficiency and customer experience.
Under his leadership, FarEye has achieved an impressive growth rate with rapid geographical expansion. Kushal enjoys training budding entrepreneurs and guiding them through their journey. He has been mentioned in the coveted 40under40 list by Business World and The Top 25 Software CEOs of Asia for 2020 by The Software Report.