Delivery Status for 2022: Chaotic. What Will 2023 Be?
Delivery expectations have surged since the beginning of the pandemic, requiring innovative solutions to make shopping easier for the customer, regardless of what they’re buying. Delivery also plays a major role in customer purchasing decisions, especially during the holiday season.
According to Oracle, 47 percent of global shoppers say the time it takes to get a delivery influences their decision to order online. Once the order is placed, 40 percent say they expect the delivery to arrive in one day or two days. Online retailers should be ready to deliver on fast shipping and real-time status updates, particularly during the last mile. According to Shopify, a successful last-mile experience can make up 53 percent of total supply chain costs.
An easy retail delivery process isn’t just a nice to have — it’s an expectation of every customer’s online shopping experience. Let’s dig into some of the current delivery issues retailers face and what changes could be on the horizon in this demanding industry.
Defining the ‘Marketplace Problem’
Marketplaces that specialize in retail delivery and pickup services — like Uber Freight, Shipt, DoorDash — are inherently bad for retailers.
When you place your shipments in the hands of drivers who you can’t verify yourself, you allow them to own the customer relationship, from every step of the delivery to the data behind tracking the shipment. Retailers should own all of that so they can manage the entirety of the ordering equation and reduce friction for the customer, who often gets frustrated over having to communicate with multiple parties.
These delivery services also place retailers in direct competition with one another. Uber, Shipt and others partner with several different businesses, enticing customers to potentially order from other stores — perhaps even your competitors. Don’t forget that pickup services charge extra fees to deliver your products. Those fees only continue to increase to meet the demands of inflation, causing you to potentially lose money on the transaction.
Owning the Customer Experience
When trusting your product with a third-party pickup service, you lose all control over the delivery. If something goes wrong, the retailer is blamed and has no visibility or ability to fix the problem. According to Anyline, 76 percent of consumers said an unacceptable delivery experience would affect their decision to order from that company again.
Customers want ownership over the delivery experience, too. DispatchTrack found that 90 percent of customers want the ability to track their order, yet only 28 percent could see the delivery truck’s location. By handing off the delivery to someone else, you lose the chance to connect with your customer base over their order, and the chance to enhance their overall experience.
Retailers can own the customer experience by configuring personalized messages to build loyalty and trust, setting up role-based access control to customize who gets access to specific areas of the platform, and running specific reports to gain insight into customer preferences to better serve customer needs. Retailers need a delivery partner that will consistently execute their vision, while also respecting their relationship with the customer. It shouldn’t be the job of the Shipt driver to develop that relationship or come up with an execution plan.
Implementing Delivery Orchestration
Half of consumers blame a poor delivery experience on lack of communication. Technology orchestration platforms provide a top-notch experience for both the retailer and the customer. They improve communication while giving retailers a host of other tools to improve the delivery experience.
It can connect shippers to vetted couriers in real time across the country, and help determine the best courier for each specific delivery based on cube, queue, weight and delivery timing. Retailers stay informed with up-to-the-minute visibility on where a certain package is, enabling them to give customers the most accurate delivery times. It also can alert them immediately if problems arise, allowing retailers to get ahead of any weather- or traffic-based delays and effectively communicate that with their customer base.
Oracle found 56 percent of customers prefer home delivery of their purchases vs.16 percent that like to pick up their items in the store itself. In today’s world, an easy delivery experience is a necessity that can make or break your business. Deliveries were chaotic in 2022, in part because of multiparty delivery processes.
In 2023, businesses will seek full control over customers’ deliveries to meet seamless shipping expectations and improve the overall shopping experience. Technology is the key component that will allow them to do so.
The benefits are clear: Not only does technology strengthen customer relationships, it allows retailers to keep valuable purchase data and gives them better, more accurate package visibility to improve customer experience.
Matt Schultz is Vice President of Logistic Partnerships at OneRail. OneRail is an Orlando-based last mile transportation visibility solution providing shippers with Amazon-level dependability and speed. With a real-time connected network of drivers, OneRail finds the right vehicle for suitable delivery, so shippers gain low prices and greater capacity to rapidly scale their businesses. Matt has played an instrumental role in growing OneRail’s logistic partnership network to more than 10 million drivers, from national delivery companies to small local couriers. His expertise includes start-ups, franchising, business planning & development, operations management, and talent acquisition.