Customer expectations have skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Same-day deliveries are becoming the new normal. A UPS study highlighted that 45% of US consumers expect that orders placed by 1 PM to 4 PM are eligible for next-day delivery. Another study highlighted that today, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more to ensure a great customer experience. Also, a Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
This increasing need to deliver exceptional customer experiences is putting tremendous pressure on last-mile delivery operations. There is little or no room for error when it comes to executing last-mile operations, hence giving rise to new trends.
From a growing demand for eco-friendly deliveries to leveraging self-service delivery models, customer expectations from the last-mile are evolving even faster. Here is a quick look at some of the key trends that will impact last-mile delivery operations in 2020.
The Growing Importance of Eco-Friendly Deliveries
Modern consumers, especially Millennials, are becoming increasingly conscious about the impact of rising carbon levels in the environment. Soon they will be favoring businesses that use eco-friendly methods of executing deliveries. Sounds too futuristic? But, it’s not.
A study highlighted that consumers would continue to reward brands that uphold public commitments to sustainability, with 31 percent of Americans listing sustainability among the top two attributes most helpful in building brand trust. As much as three in five adults (61%) say they would be willing to pay more for food products packaged in sustainable materials.
It might so happen that along with ETA, price and other related delivery information, a customer would want a brand to also inform her about the carbon footprint generated by her delivery.
A great way to reduce carbon footprint is by digitalizing core last-mile operations. Online delivery management software can drastically shrink miles traveled per delivery, reduce dependency on paperwork, eliminate unnecessary fuel consumption and do much more to ensure eco-friendly logistics.
Increasing Demand for Hyperlocal Deliveries
In simple terms, hyperlocal deliveries can be categorized as deliveries that are executed within a neighborhood, a particular city block or even a small city, from a local store. Food deliveries are a common example of hyperlocal deliveries. But with customer expectations evolving things like grocery, medicines, household products, and even machinery are being delivered at a hyperlocal scale. What makes hyperlocal deliveries challenging is the pace at which the orders need to be delivered and scaling operations.
An advanced online delivery platform allows delivery executives to execute multiple pickups and deliveries based on a route and his convenience. Such a platform also enhances the accuracy of a customer’s address. These factors increase the number of deliveries that can be completed in a single trip and shrinks delivery turn-around-time. A platform like this can quickly outsource delivery jobs to independent or 3rd party logistics providers to scale operations when internal resources reach full capacity.
Omnichannel over Multi-channel
It was not long when retailers identified that it was important to cater to customers through different channels, be it instore, online and through applications. In other words, a multi-channel approach. But in the case of multi-channel selling, each channel operated in silos and was an end in itself. As customers got savvy and internet and mobile penetration rapidly increased, the multi-channel approach started losing ground.
In 2020, retailers who are focusing on providing a seamless omnichannel buying experience will be the ones making more sales. Modern customers lookup for products online. Compare prices across brands and then buy from a nearby store. The opposite is also true. Every channel that caters to a customer must complement each other. A customer’s in-store shopping experience must be in sync with his online buying behavior and vice versa. That is what omnichannel selling is all about.
To design and develop a cost-effective omnichannel supply chain, companies must focus on two key areas - enhanced speed and convenience, high performing cost-effective network.
Orchestrating flexible fulfillment options across the channels requires much greater flexibility in the supply chain networks. Leading retailers are now using converged inventories to optimize enterprise-wide stock levels while maximizing availability across channels. Retailers must be able to dynamically allocate and fulfill the deliveries.
100% Transparency and High Levels of Flexibility
Modern customers are unforgiving when it comes to deliveries. Armed with social media, it just takes one bad delivery experience to damage a brand’s reputation. An important part of ensuring delightful delivery experiences is transparency. Things like when exactly was an order shipped, its current location, when will it arrive, its ETA, insights on delays and more play a crucial role when it comes to driving great customer experiences.
Modern logistics tools empower enterprises to provide real-time insights on delivery proceedings and development to customers. Powered by real-time route optimization and machine learning technologies, these tools can accurately predict ETAs and quickly inform customers about delays through automated notifications.
Delivery flexibility is also closely knit with providing delightful experiences. Modern customers are mobile. Hence, customers expect to receive deliveries on their terms and advanced delivery management software allows businesses to do exactly that. It provides customers with a self-service model where they can change delivery location and time on the fly based on their convenience.
These four trends will introduce new levels of last-mile operation efficiencies and businesses that will be on top of these trends will definitely have a great 2020.
FarEye has been empowering 150+ enterprises across the globe to deliver delightful delivery experiences. We are also helping businesses build sustainable logistics processes by reducing their fuel consumption. To know how we can help you achieve these objectives signup for a quick demo here.