Ecommerce has experienced explosive growth in recent years particularly in 2020 when it grew by 27% partly fuelled by the pandemic. While slowing slightly, global ecommerce growth was still a huge 14% in 2021 and is predicted to grow a further 10% in 2022 according to Statista 2022. With these statistics in mind, it’s clear shopper habits are showing a permanent bias towards online shopping.
One of the emerging trends in online shopping is for “Quick Commerce.” Customers no longer want to wait multiple days for an item to arrive. Their expectations have gone from two-day shipping to next-day delivery, and now delivery in 30 minutes or less. In fact, over half of consumers will not shop from the same retailer again if they are not satisfied with its delivery service according to a recent Accenture survey. This means that last mile delivery is suddenly the most important part of the supply chain for many businesses.
However, research in 2020 showed the last-mile delivery was the most inefficient part of the entire supply chain. This has not been made any easier by recent supply chain problems and elevated inflation. How can retailers turn it around and make themselves agile, flexible, and efficient in the last mile?
Helped by recent innovations in technology, dynamic, fast, and flexible deliveries, at scale, are now a reality for retailers. But in choosing a solution to manage the last mile, what are the key features retailers should look for to ensure they actually deliver what customers want.
1. Transparency and Communication
It is no longer acceptable to leave customers in the dark when it comes to deliveries, even static tracking codes are no longer enough. Customers want to know what is going on at every stage of the last mile delivery process, in real time. Unpredictable events such as bad weather, traffic congestion, vehicle issues or last-minute customer requests can cause last-mile delivery disruptions when goods are in transit. The ability for retailers to communicate updates, in real time, as well as communicating any delays or issues, is imperative to keeping customers happy.
2. Shipping costs
Research shows that when companies charge extra for shipping, a high number of customers are likely to abandon the order. Therefore, retailers cannot really afford to pass high shipping costs on to consumers, with many expecting free shipping.
Having a solution that dynamically routes deliveries based on the most efficient route helps keep costs to a minimum, enabling these savings to be passed onto customers through small or free shipping fees. In addition, efficient routing coupled with effective customer communication on the status of deliveries, will reduce the number of failed deliveries, eliminating the cost of re-delivery attempts.
3. Managing returns
Complex return policies are not popular with shoppers either, with 80% not making a purchase unless there is a hassle-free returns policy. Having a solution that can manage returns in the same, efficient way as deliveries will ensure retailers can keep the process simple for their customers. Ideally retailers need a routing solution that includes on-demand returns when planning a drivers’ daily route. Doing so will allow for the returned goods to be brought back to the sorting centre quickly and at little to no cost to them.
By implementing a last mile delivery solution that enables a retailer to be transparent, communicate in real-time and efficiently in both delivery and returns, will give them the ability to keep up with changing consumer demands and ensure they stand out from their competitors.
For more information, please visit www.dispatchtrack.com