Creating a 360° delivery experience
We’re living in the middle of an ecommerce boom. Online sales of non-food products grew by 14.3% in 2021 according to the latest BRC/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
High demand is great news, but with increasing competition and shrinking customer retention rates, it's not quite that simple. Factor in the production delays customers are facing and the rising costs of goods, it's no wonder retailers are looking at the delivery experience as an important differentiator. A recent benchmark report by Metapack found 64% of retailers state the post-purchase experience as a high priority for them in 2021. This year I believe positive shipping and delivery experiences will become an even higher priority for retailers and could be the largest deciding factor as to whether a brand survives.
With recent innovation and advances in technology there is a huge opportunity for brands to differentiate through a great delivery experience. Customers can now get more accurate delivery windows, often within just 2 hours, rather than whole or half day estimations. Plus, it is now possible for customers to reschedule, track and communicate regarding their order deliveries. As a result, customer expectations are increasing in this area.
Many customers do not separate their purchase experience from their delivery experience. More often than not poor experiences are shared online, therefore retailers risk damaging trust by not focusing on the delivery as well as purchase experience.
There is huge scope for retailers and brands to amaze and delight customers by providing a 360o delivery experience. Here are the key components:
- Implement “outside of the box” customer experience
Often when larger items are purchased such as furniture or appliances, they are typically scheduled for delivery on a specific day. What is so often overlooked is information regarding accessibility which can result in a less than satisfactory experience, for the customer, driver, and retailer, if the item has to be returned. Undoubtedly, any unexpected issues and delays will have a knock-on impact on all the scheduled deliveries for the rest of the day too.
Retailers need to think ‘outside of the box’ to deliver better experiences for their customers. Using a solution that can capture intelligence surrounding more complicated deliveries and putting the optimum combination of load, vehicle and team into the route using intelligence and all factors involved.
- Allow a two-way communication with customers
Opening a two-way communication for customers to not only schedule their delivery but track where, in real time, the driver is, avoids the frustration of sitting in all day waiting for a delivery. Giving customers the option to change the time or day of their delivery to better suit them, as well as report any issues will truly improve the experience for them. Conversely, a two-way communication enables brands to quickly and easily disseminate any issues or hold ups for proactive customer service.
- Proof of delivery
Proof of delivery is of as much benefit to the customer as it is the retailer. As many as 10% of shipments are either misdelivered, damaged, or lost each year. The right approach to proof of delivery allows companies to address any problems in the delivery process for improved customer satisfaction. Accurate proof of delivery including pictures, video, notes, and more all from a drivers’ mobile device, ensures that the goods delivered are in great condition and are consistent with the consignee's expectations. Providing customers with delivery receipts via SMS or email improves communication and transparency while also protecting against false dispute claims.
- Think of the planet
The environment is an area that concerns us all and it is increasingly important for retailers and brands to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Customers demand it and will make purchase choices based on it. Cutting waste out of the last mile is one of the areas that can have the most impact for retailers. Optimising routes to be as efficient as possible will reduce emissions and have the added benefit of saving time and fuel costs. If customers know their order is being delivered in the most efficient way this will certainly go one step further to delight them.
- 3PL software solutions
3PL software solutions have the ability to deliver intelligent, dynamic routing for ever-changing delivery parameters; real-time communication with drivers, customers, and clients; provide end-to-end proof of delivery; all while reducing carbon footprint and bolstering the bottom line.
One thing is clear, communicating throughout the entire delivery experience is critical and those that do will be the winners here.
Alex Buckley is general manager of EMEA and Asia Pacific operations at DispatchTrack. Alex is a CX industry expert with more than 25 years of e-commerce, SaaS, and software experience. Prior to DispatchTrack, he served as the Chief Customer Officer and Strategic Advisor for Customer Service Action. He has held a variety of executive roles at...