In the past years, every e-Commerce retailer used to stretch their supply chain thousands of miles. But today, this seems to have evolved to where the customer experience has become highly crucial from the point of product manufacturing to customer service.
E-commerce merchants and the associated service providers are implementing various strategies to leverage the advantage of last-mile increase consumer base and ROI.
The retail industry, in recent years, has accounted for nearly 2.8 trillion dollars worldwide where the default demand of consumers is to be served immediately. Customers want to be served faster with cheaper delivery charges and better control over their experience.
They expect the products to be delivered faster at affordable rates. This induces pressure on e-Commerce merchants and delivery service providers to meet customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition.
With that said, the most challenging part of the delivery process is the final phase when the parcel is delivered to the end customer.
It is not only the most expensive but time-consuming process of the entire product fulfillment cycle.
This is the prime reason why e-Commerce retailers today are exploring ways to enhance their retail operations leveraging emerging technologies and processes to smartly improve process efficiencies and cut down on the delivery costs.
The aim is to make the consumer experience more pleasant, provide relevant information, offer customized services, and perhaps entice customers in a way that they would want to keep coming back for more.
Consumer merchandise and retail companies, particularly within the food and grocery phase, have to be compelled to catch up with shopper demand for higher and quicker last-mile solutions whereas at an equivalent time mitigating associated gain risks.
Our analysis reveals that nearly three-fourths of end customers prefer rewarding the e-Commerce merchants who get the last-mile experience accurate with increased expenditure and loyalty whereas 40 percent of them think of delivery service as a necessary feature for food and grocery merchandise. But, last-mile delivery is that the costliest a part of the availability chain.
The new report by the Capgemini analysis Institute, The last-mile delivery challenge: Giving retail and shopper product customers superior delivery expertise while not impacting profitableness highlights recommendations for the way shopper product and retail companies within the food and grocery section will hone in on the house stretch once it involves last-mile delivery:
- Augment delivery locations to reduce delivery value – retail merchants ought to equip stores for delivery, increase the employment of dark stores for the fulfillment, and encourage the employment of last-mile storage and assortment points.
- Outsource fulfillment and target what shopper wants – merchants with a lower store footprint have to be compelled to commence by collaborating with grocery delivery services at first and additionally focus on what the consumers want.
- Automate delivery operations to spice up profitableness – automatic warehouse operations, facility automation for delivery and click-and-collect orders, and autonomous delivery vehicles give some automation.
- Support various roads for fulfillment assets – retailers must work together with shoppers for publicly supported conveyance stages, urge representatives to deliver products for extra incentives, and utilize the gig economy for fulfillment during peak times.
- Empower shopper driven products – urge consumers to visit the store for returns, adjust their brand strategies with buyer demands, and spend resources for customer-driven initiatives.
The Last-Mile Delivery
The last mile is experiencing turbulence due to new plans of action that address consumer interest for even quicker fulfillment, just as new advancements, for example, drones and autonomous vehicles.
With the ascent of the retail business, shopper inclinations have become progressively significant in the business-centric product fulfillment market.
The successful retail players, along with different newly minted companies, have recognized last-mile delivery app as a key differentiator.
Indeed, the variety of delivery management software and the apparent nature of delivery services are core criteria for merchants and therefore, directly impact the success of retail players in the e-Commerce sector. Because of this, merchants are striving to offer the most ideal customer experience, particularly by enhancing delivery times.
The speed at which the laid out last-mile delivery is fulfilled can differ significantly based on customer sentiments, standard, and labor costs.
Adopting new autonomous-delivery models early on in your business specifically in the developed countries, where labor costs are relatively high to acquire expected return on investment, has become the need of the hour.
In the developing world, the labor costs are deemed to be relatively low to avoid any major technological evolution from impacting the last mile in the coming decade at the minimum.
Keys to Improving Customer Experience Through Last-Mile Delivery
1 – Customer-Centric Delivery
Customer-centric delivery is essentially transforming the way e-Commerce merchants manage their supply chain processes. This paramount shift is aimed towards larger localization.
The retail merchants are now maintaining relatively smaller yet local distribution centers proximal to where the consumers are, rather than managing massive volumes of product inventory in a centralized distribution hub.
As a result, many retail businesses have remodeled their native stores into factual distribution centers. For instance, Argos regularly uses a network of delivery vehicles to transfer products among its stores.
This means, if your local store requires a laptop, Argos will transfer it from a store close by that very same day.
2 – Technological Innovation
Innovation in tech for the last mile delivery has just begun. Amazon’s drone-delivery, Starship Technologies’ automated delivery robots, and self-driven delivery lockers are all revolutionizing the last-mile delivery where leveraging and implementing automation will be easier than ever for e-commerce merchants to for delivering goods to customers at a lightning speed.
The last-mile of delivery has become more complicated than ever. But those retailers who do last-mile delivery right will likely be able to boost brand loyalty by offering customers exactly what they require and expect before and after the buying experience.
3 – New Partnerships
New business partnerships are deemed essential in aiding retail merchants to adapt to dynamic customer expectations.
While they explore ways to deliver goods to customers quicker than ever, a couple of them are associating with their counterparts as well as digitized courier service providers.
4 – Branded Customer Experiences
Providing branded experience to consumers through the entire delivery cycle – from delivery route planning to notify customers about their product dispatch, progress and delivery, and timely communication of the changes in delivery schedules, to expressing gratitude for their association with you. Keeping connected with the customer at every stage of the delivery process not only proves that merchants care, but also boosts customer engagement, eventually driving more sales and revenue to the business.
As the e-Commerce merchants look to evolve their supply chains to ensure customer satisfaction, it also important for them to manage the customer journey throughout. This affirms that the retailer can deliver a persuasive and consistent customer experience across channels and processes. This is only because the last mile of the delivery cycle also happens to be the last mile of customer experience.
Thus, leaving an impact on the minds of your consumers is highly crucial if the retail merchants seek their customers coming back for more over and over again. How crucial is the last mile for improved customer experience in your opinion? What are the ways it can impact and boost the brand value of an e-Commerce retail business? Share your views with us using the comments area below.