3 Strategies for Maximizing the Potential of Last-Mile Retail Technology
Imagine a shopper is getting ready to throw a party to celebrate their child’s college graduation. They may shop around several retailers' stores and websites before ordering new backyard furniture for the event. If the retailer that the shopper chose delivers the furniture after the party, the shopper will likely avoid that retailer in the future due to a lack of trust following the negative experience.
This is why the delivery experience can make or break customer relationships. When it comes to efficiently and effectively delivering products and managing a seamless supply chain, technology is integral to customer satisfaction. Whether it’s online or in-store, retailers should invest in the technology that allows them to engage with customers in innovative ways that streamline operations.
Let’s discuss three ways retailers can enhance the last-mile experience by better integrating technology into the strategy:
1. Connecting Technology and Business
During the vetting process for last-mile fulfillment technology providers, retailers should be looking for true partners. These partners must be willing to invest time in learning the retailer’s business and they must be responsive to feedback for how their solutions can be most effective.
In addition, when a partnership is formed, both parties must establish shared ownership over goals and responsibilities. This stage often involves key leadership buy-in, which is critical to technology partnerships.
For example, a retailer may form a partnership with a customer-facing solution that allows shoppers to track their order fulfillment. These partners may set a goal of increasing accuracy of delivery updates by 30 percent. If the partners hit a roadblock during this project, they must continuously re-evaluate their strategy and be flexible enough to ensure they reach their desired key performance indicators in time.
2. Focusing on Longer-Term Outcomes
Sometimes new technology is implemented as a quick fix to an issue a business is facing. While it’s important to solve company challenges efficiently, it’s also important to consider the longer-term value of the solution.
Imagine a retailer signed a two-week agreement with a new fulfillment visibility software provider during peak shopping season. Before considering the project complete at the end of the two weeks, the retailer should fully evaluate the impact the new tool had on productivity and customer experiences. If these longer-term KPIs are looking strong, the retailer should consider adding the solution to its wider partner portfolio to increase flexibility in the wake of similar issues in the future. By treating every partnership like a long-term trial, retailers can form a network of partners to call upon to avoid lapses in the customer experience.
3. Allocating Time for Tracking and Measurement
Retailers should focus on the entire business value when measuring and analyzing the impact of a last-mile solution. For example, if a retailer begins offering home delivery and installment that can be scheduled on an online dashboard, the retailer must consider every aspect of the experience during evaluation periods. This includes timeliness, ease of use for consumers, ease of use for employees, cost efficiency and more.
It's easy for retailers to introduce a new solution, set it up and let it run. But the smartest retailers will continue to review the success of every solution to ensure value and positive outcomes are maximized.
Choosing the Right Technology
Incorporating technology goes beyond picking the latest and greatest solutions. A successful technology integration comes with strategic oversight and collaborative partnerships that focus on achieving an end goal that strengthens the customer experience. By following these best practices, retailers can ensure their shoppers have their orders in time so their important plans can go off without a hitch.
Brian Kava is the CEO of PICKUP, a provider of same-day and scheduled deliveries.
Related story: 3 Delivery Challenges and How Retailers Can Overcome Them
Brian is recognized as a savvy, innovative C-level executive with a proven record of achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives by providing expert business process, outsourcing, and cutting-edge technology solutions for blue chip clients. He has more than 20 years of experience in generating consumer and brand awareness, maximizing product visibility and developing sales and marketing strategies for some of the world’s most renowned brands including Walmart, Google, Amazon, Home Depot, Whirlpool, Nike and Microsoft. He is recognized in the marketing services industry as one of the leading experts in the strategic development and execution of retail and commercial execution solutions. Brian maintains an uncompromising focus on high quality standards, employee centric culture and bottom-line profit improvements. Brian received his bachelor degree in Business Administration from Longwood University in Virginia.