Emily just spent the last 3 hours on the latest fashion apparel app and selected the most unique red gown for her prom night. She was searching for it for the last 3 weeks and finally with 5 days to go now, she found what she was looking for and cannot wait to receive the delivery. The fashion apparel brand has promised delivery in the next 4 days. Full of excitement, Emily goes to a blissful sleep that night. However, 2 days later her excitement has turned into worry as she has no idea where her dress is and will it even arrive before the prom night. The brand’s customer care department has informed her that her package is with the courier partner but she has no way to track it. She is unable to leave the house in case the package arrives while she is still out. She cannot afford to miss the delivery but also has no option to have it delivered as per her convenience. Anguished and irritated she swears never to buy or let her friends buy from the brand again!
In today’s age where there is a new eCommerce brand launching every day, the market is getting more competitive than ever and marketing budgets are maxing out to acquire new customers, would you want to lose customers like Emily? That too not because your products are not good enough, or you don’t offer the latest variety in the market but because the finished products are unable to reach the customers in time and as per their convenience. It's time for the logistics department to sit up and listen.
The eCommerce revolution has disrupted the ‘conventional’ supply chain methods. From shorter delivery times to increased expectations for personalized deliveries, the change is majorly driven by the empowered consumer of today. The end customer does not differentiate between who is making the delivery, for them, it all forms a part of the brand they are purchasing from. A recent survey suggests, that 66% of shoppers buy goods from one retailer in preference to another because of more appealing delivery services offered. So good or bad, retailers have to own up the delivery experience.
As a matter of fact, the most complicated challenges in improving this experience lie in the last-mile. When it comes to
Real-time Visibility Into Orders
The need for instant gratification has further fuelled the need of customers to exactly know the status of their deliveries. From the moment they place the order until the moment it arrives they want to be informed in real-time with the estimated time of arrival alerts.
Personalization lies at the heart of the superior delivery experience. With so many options available, customers want their orders to be delivered when they want it and where they want it. They want to be able to communicate with the courier directly and have the opportunity to pass on additional instructions for deliveries. Changing the delivery time on the fly, options like locker deliveries or parcel pick up points are expected to become a norm in the coming future.
With customers being asked to share so much personal information while making the purchase, there is an apprehension about whether brands will be able to maintain the privacy of the data.
The delivery experience does not end at just making the product reach the customer. It is also important for the consumers to be able to return the unsatisfactory orders with as much ease as they received it with. A seamless process becomes so much more important during returns because the customer is already frustrated, and a cumbersome or costly return would agitate him even further.
The challenges in the last mile are not just limited to the end customers. By definition, the last mile refers to the final transportation of goods from the hub/warehouse to its final destination.
Putting this into the context of B2B deliveries, a lot does change from delivering to an end consumer to delivering to industrial buyers, however, the final leg still remains lined with multiple challenges. Take for instance delivery of spare parts to auto dealers, medical equipment to hospitals, construction machinery to manufacturing sites and more. Many a time, these deliveries are high value and time sensitive. However, due to the lack of visibility into freight movement, it becomes difficult for the consignee to know and plan for the arrival of these goods.
Delayed deliveries not only increase costs but also affect production planning. The late arrival of auto parts could stop the assembly line and further disrupt the entire value chain from dealers to end-consumers.
Lack of predictability of the time of arrival, the condition and quality of goods adversely affects inventory planning, go-to-market timelines and ultimately the customer satisfaction. Siloed data results in an information black box that stops stakeholders from taking the necessary action to prevent damages. In the big picture, the impact of inefficient Last Mile Delivery leads to slow response rate, low customer satisfaction, inefficient service, low retention levels and therefore affects the overall profitability.
It is safe to say that a superior delivery experience in the last mile irrespective of B2B or B2C deliveries is non-negotiable.
Efficient and predictive logistics operations have a huge part to play in delivering to these expectations. With last mile delivery playing an ever important role in directly impacting productivity, revenues and customer experience companies need to focus on using intelligent delivery management
With automation of logistics processes and real-time information on where the goods are once they have left the warehouse/
Ingenious innovation and rapidly-evolving technology are paving the way for companies to digitalize and optimize their supply chains. Optimization and agility in the supply chain make businesses cost-effective and customers happy. Moving into the future, technology solutions will be the answer to industry disruption.