The world of retail and e-commerce is evolving at a breakneck pace.
New innovations and consumer behaviours have forever changed the market and future upheavals will provide both challenges and opportunities in the years to come.
However, one constant for success has remained – good customer service.
Consumers are now more willing to order large and prestige items online but some retailers’ delivery processes are struggling to keep pace with the challenges of this new reality.
A total of 5.6% of UK orders do not arrive at their destination at an average cost to the retailer of £14.35, according to data from PCA Predict.
The retailer’s journey with the customer doesn’t end when they hit the checkout button or leave the store.
Logistics firms must provide a positive delivery experience that enhances the customer’s perception of the retailer by implementing added-value services such as 24-hour delivery cycles and packaging removal.
And the customer now expects their item to be delivered when they want it – not to be told when it will turn up.
As we all know, if a customer is impressed with the delivery it enhances their perception of the retailer and they are more likely to order from the same place in the future.
Essentially, the delivery is an extension of their buying experience with the retailer.
As well as being flexible and punctual with delivery times, staff must be presentable, polite, friendly and leave the property clean and tidy.
Drivers also need to be mindful of the needs of a wide range of clients, particularly people with disabilities and the elderly, and the challenges presented by different properties.
For example, are your staff prepared for a washing machine delivery to a third floor flat with no lift?
They must also be respectful of the property they are working in.
When you go into a person’s house you are seeing them at an intimate level, so manner and appearance are critical to putting them at ease.
Providing a premium experience and meeting the end customer’s needs is paramount, irrespective of what is being delivered.
The hard work of running an attractive and intuitive website that offers great products at good prices counts for little if you frustrate the customer in the final mile.
The online buyer is already savvy about choice and will soon seek out competitors if they are not happy with their delivery or the customer service response.
The issue has become so important that nearly half of online shoppers look at delivery options before they decide where to buy from.
There are other benefits to a positive delivery experience, such as reducing the number of inbound calls, which in turn eases workload and reduces costs.
The market is in a state of flux, but understanding the criticality of delivery experience is a major step towards meeting present and future challenges.
Source: Materials Handling World Magazine, “Final mile experience is doorway to delivering success“. (https://mhwmagazine.co.uk/final-mile-experience-is-doorway-to-delivering-success.html) . MHW Staff, June 2018.
Image:Materials Handling World Magazine