Stephanie Raven, content marketing strategist at PFS, puts forward three steps to customer satisfaction in last-mile delivery
Market leaders such as Amazon have created a ‘get it here today’ expectation that can be hard to meet for the many retailers that don’t currently have the budget or the right infrastructure to do so. But shoppers are savvy. They are well aware of new services such as same-day delivery, click and collect, free returns or delivery apps that allow real-time changes. And that knowledge will only increase as technology develops. So what are the key actions that retailers can take now to give today’s and tomorrow’s customers that level of convenience they expect?
#1: Consider all options
Customers want to have flexibility and control over how and when their parcel will be delivered. Metapack research in 2016 found that 45% of all consumers had abandoned an ecommerce basket because of unsatisfactory delivery options. Adopting an omnichannel strategy gives customers the convenience they expect from ‘good’ retailers. Omnichannel services, including ship from store and click and collect, can help increase online sales by offering cheaper and more convenient delivery options for shoppers, and help mitigate the last-mile delivery challenges that all retailers and carriers face during peak season.
#2: Plan for peak
The Black Friday period marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping frenzy, with predictions for 2017 already suggesting that UK shoppers will spend £20bn online in November and December. Retailers must be prepared as early as possible to make adjustments or corrections ahead of this surge in orders. Look to last year’s figures to predict traffic and understand where bottlenecks might arise. But since customers never act exactly as expected, also build in a certain amount of flexibility. Retailers need to step back and look at their ecommerce systems and their architecture, and their carrier mix, as well as staffing needs, then plan accordingly. Building the capacity for peak can only happen if it involves the whole business, with technology, people and processes working in harmony for a frictionless delivery experience.
#3: Up close and personal
Open and honest communication helps build a relationship with customers who expect to be kept informed from order to delivery and, if required, into the return and refund process. A recent eDelivery.net survey, in conjunction with Netdespatch, found 51% of retailers cited consumers’ ability to track their order as a high priority for improvement. Providing update notifications along the journey was the highest priority for 27% of retailers and a medium priority for 41%. Close interaction with customers is crucial throughout the whole journey and this extends to product packaging, which is another powerful communication tool for a business. Packaging is not just about safe transport, it’s the brand’s voice. It can have a lasting impact on the consumer, so retailers shouldn’t overlook an investment in this area.
Delivery is much more than just sending parcels, it’s about fulfilling the customer experience. A positive delivery experience means 87% of consumers are more likely to shop again with an online merchant. The stakes are high. As consumers’ demands for convenience and more personalised experiences in the final mile grow, retailers need to react quickly and work towards providing a distinctive delivery service that sets them apart from their competition and inspires repeat customers.
PFS is a global commerce service provider of solutions, including digital strategy consulting, digital agency and marketing services, technology development services, business process outsourcing services and a complete omnichannel technology ecosystem. The company provides these solutions and services to major brand names, as well as to other companies seeking to optimise every customer experience and to enhance their traditional and online business channels.
For more information about PFS, please visit www.pfsweb.com, email marketing-europe @pfsweb.com or telephone 020 3475 4000