To Build Customer Loyalty, Focus on Getting Back to the Basics of Last-Mile Delivery
As last-mile delivery services have expanded, so too have the demands and priorities of consumers. In a recent consumer survey, we found that 76 percent of respondents said that an unacceptable delivery experience would strongly or somewhat affect their decision to order from that company again. Poor experiences can cause shoppers to choose another online business, which is why it’s necessary for retailers to create exceptional last-mile delivery experiences.
It’s tempting for retailers to "think big" and plan to embrace high-concept technologies such as delivery robots or drones. However, focusing on the fundamentals of last-mile delivery should be top of mind for retailers. Here are a few tips to help them:
1. Give customers visibility, control and accountability throughout the delivery process.
Retailers must be meeting basic customer expectations to keep shoppers coming back, and consumer demand for exceptional delivery has steadily been on the rise. Many businesses shifted to e-commerce in 2020, but deliveries are still failing to match customer expectations. For instance, when asked about their experiences with deliveries over the past year, 53 percent of U.S. consumers reported damaged packages, four in 10 had packages lost during shipping, and 15 percent had packages stolen. In addition, more than two-thirds of consumers (68 percent) say they’ve encountered delivery delays.
Businesses must prioritize visibility offered to the customer during the last-mile delivery. Unreliable updates on shipment status are the biggest pet peeve of consumers, with 93 percent of customers looking for a continual flow of information throughout their delivery process. Customers want visibility throughout the delivery, with details such as tracking numbers, accurate delivery dates and times, and real-time notifications.
Customers also demand to be in control of their delivery and want brands to be accountable for the last mile. A lot of times retailers only offer limited delivery options or inconvenient delivery times. Offering dynamic delivery options gives customers more choice, and increases their overall satisfaction and control. Furthermore, customers want companies to own mistakes and make amends when the delivery isn’t up to par. Once retailers exceed customer expectations in terms of visibility, control and accountability, they can then look into furthering the shopper experience through technology.
2. When retailers excel at the basics, level up with last-mile technology.
One way retailers can improve the basics of last-mile delivery is to use mobile scanning technology. This can improve data quality and traceability, making it possible for retailers to provide real-time updates to customers.
To go above and beyond in the last-mile delivery experience, businesses can turn to other technologies that provide the visibility and control consumers crave. Ninety-six percent of respondents in our survey indicated they would find GPS tracking useful when awaiting deliveries. Also, centralized lockers make it possible for customers to have control in choosing where and when their parcel gets delivered.
As previously mentioned, more "eye-catching" technologies can be tempting to explore, but aren’t among the most popular among customers — at least yet. Even though one-third of respondents in our survey considered delivery robots and drones to be hardly useful or not at all useful, this is changing with every new generation. In fact, 45 percent of Gen Z respondents considered autonomous delivery robots very or extremely useful.
3. Deliver peace of mind to customers with excellent last-mile service.
Last-mile delivery is the final stage of the purchase journey, and it’s also where retailers can win or lose their customers. If businesses aren’t getting the basics of last-mile delivery right, they should focus on the fundamentals and dial back their eagerness for investing in futuristic technology like delivery robots or drones. Instead, retailers should focus on what really matters — nailing the basics. Giving consumers visibility, accountability and control strengthens the overall shopper experience by making sure every part of the delivery process is covered.
Lukas Kinigadner is the CEO and co-founder of Anyline, an accurate, secure and integrated mobile data capture tool.
Lukas Kinigadner is co-founder and CEO of Anyline, leading the company since its inception to become one of the leading mobile data capture companies in the market. Before Anyline, Lukas founded several companies, including one of the first app agencies in Austria, and brings additional experience from the banking and consultancy sectors. Besides his role as Anyline CEO, Lukas mentors young businesses and shares his expertise with other entrepreneurs starting innovative digital companies.