In today’s fast-paced world, consumers expect fast and cost-effective delivery of their online purchases. A customer’s satisfaction is increasingly being influenced by the last mile of delivery, this last step of the delivery process from the warehouse or store to the customer’s doorstep can often be the most problematic for a retailer and it is sometimes out of their control, due to the use of couriers or third-party-logistics providers (3PL’s). A recent consumer research project on home delivery discovered that almost three in four consumers (73%) experienced a problem with deliveries in a 3-month period. Late delivery was the top issue (26%), followed by the item(s) arriving at a time other than when they were expected (22%) and the length of time required for a company to make a delivery (22%). All of these issues lead to consumer frustration and disappointment.
Covid forced many people to start buying goods online that hadn’t previously done so, and the convenience of online shopping ensured that they continued post-pandemic. More recently the rising cost of fuel means that many more consumers are increasing their online purchases in order to save money on fuel and their own travel expenses. The increase in online shopping means that it is more important than ever to ensure that the last mile of a delivery is quick, cost-effective, and on schedule. As we move into 2023, fast delivery is not just a luxury but is becoming the industry standard, however many customers don’t necessarily want a delivery the next day but would rather receive their delivery on a day and time that is convenient for them at a cost they are prepared to pay.Also read: Top 5 Automation Tools to Streamline Workflows for Busy IT Teams
It’s crucial for retailers to obtain a competitive advantage by providing a great last-mile delivery experience, especially as more and more companies are fighting to provide speedier delivery choices. Customers may be prepared to pay extra for faster delivery, but they also want to know that their shipments will arrive on time and undamaged. To match consumer expectations, firms need to make investments in effective logistics and delivery systems.
Providing exceptional customer service is critical for retailers to generate brand loyalty and retain customers. For the e-commerce industry, the last mile of delivery is often the final point of contact between the retailer and the consumer. It is the last chance to create a positive experience and leave them with a lasting impression.
Clear communication about delivery times and real-time tracking information that highlights any delay is an important aspect of exceptional customer service. Customers want to know what the status of their delivery is and when to expect it or if there are any unforeseen circumstances that may affect the planned delivery schedule. By keeping the customer informed with clear and timely communication about delivery times and any potential delays, businesses can manage customer expectations and avoid frustration or disappointment, while also reducing the number of inbound calls asking, “Where’s my delivery?” or “When can I expect my delivery?”.
Customers feel more in control when they know exactly where their package is and when it will arrive, while also creating a sense of transparency and trust between the retailer and the consumer. Proactive customer engagement can be used by businesses to build brand loyalty. This means reaching out to customers before they have a problem or concern, rather than waiting for them to reach out to customer service. By anticipating customer needs and addressing concerns before they become problems, businesses can create a positive customer experience and further build trust in a brand.
However, it’s not all about speed. In today’s eco-conscious world, customers are increasingly looking for eco-friendly companies to buy from. Consumers want to know that the businesses they support are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. Offering sustainable delivery options, such as consolidated deliveries or deliveries when in your area, can be a great way to appeal to environmentally conscious customers and reduce costs.
Businesses should offer multiple delivery options to meet the diverse needs of their customers. Some customers may need their package delivered within a few hours, while others will be willing to wait days for it to be delivered at the same time as a neighbor’s package to be more environmentally friendly. By providing different delivery options, businesses can cater to a wider range of customer needs and preferences and build brand loyalty.
In conclusion, the quality of last-mile delivery service has become a critical factor in determining customer satisfaction. With 71% of consumers facing a poor last-mile delivery service, businesses need to invest further and faster inefficient logistics and delivery operations to meet their customer’s expectations. While fast and efficient delivery is becoming the standard in 2023, businesses can gain a competitive edge by offering an exceptional last-mile delivery service. Additionally, the ability to offer eco-friendly and multiple delivery options will build brand loyalty through proactive customer engagement, helping businesses stand out in what is otherwise a very crowded market.
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