Delivery is central to modern retail and the statistics prove it. A revealing 2015 study put the delivery experience firmly into focus for retailers when it found that 66% of shoppers bought goods from one retailer in preference to another because the delivery services on offer were more appealing. The same study also found that 96% of shoppers said a positive delivery experience would encourage them to shop with a retailer again.
Technology, increased customer expectations, delivery logistics, and the problem of gaining a competitive edge all profoundly impact the latest delivery trends. Let's discuss...
1. Rural Drone Delivery
Amazon is one of several large retailers considering offering drone delivery via its Prime Air service, with the promise to get parcels to customers within 30 minutes. In addition, Uber recently announced its intention to trial the delivery of food using drones to serve customers faster. Speed, however, is just one perk of drone delivery.
Arguably just as important is how drone delivery could be used to meet your logistical concerns of delivering goods to isolated rural areas with low population densities. While the Internet provides a convenient means for rural customers to order goods online, the inherent profitability to serve these customers using traditional modes of transport is quite low. Such customers are just as likely as city-dwellers to place orders with low basket values, which further erodes your potential profitability when delivering these goods.
Poor transportation infrastructure, high fuel costs, and greater labor costs are all significant barriers for you to get your parcels to rural customers in a profitable way. But using drones to deliver to rural areas overcomes all three of these barriers in one fell swoop, with the bonus of being a fast method of delivery.
2. Delivery Day Choice
Conventional wisdom suggests that retailers that emphasize speed of delivery and lower-priced products will attract more customers. This is, of course, true to a large extent, however, it’s also evident that the modern retail customer holds personalization and greater convenience in high regard.
It is of little use to a customer to order something for delivery to their home, only for it to arrive when nobody is there. In fact, such instances cause greater inconvenience because they necessitate a trip to the local mailing center to collect the missed parcel.
To provide the greater convenience and personalization desired by customers, some retailers now offer nominated day delivery, wherein a choice of delivery day is given to the customer during the checkout process. From your perspective, providing such an option doesn’t prohibitively add to your logistics costs - all you have to do is push back the dispatch time based on the customer’s choice and perhaps charge extra to accommodate this level of personalization.
3. Emphasis on the Last Mile
The last mile is a metaphor for the last leg of the delivery of a product to its final destination. The term typically refers to the journey from the nearest distribution center to the customer’s doorstep.
In a competitive digital retail world that thrives on providing the best customer experience at all stages of the buying process, last mile delivery becomes paramount to your success.
Customers want complete visibility into last mile logistics, with the ability to track parcels, communicate with drivers, and receive important alerts. Perfecting last mile delivery is not as straightforward as it sounds, and retailers are increasingly turning to dedicated last mile delivery logistics platforms to assist them.
Bearing in mind that an exceptional delivery experience is a deal breaker for many customers in terms of their willingness to become repeat customers, you can’t afford to neglect your last mile logistics.
4. Delivery Subscription Services
An important trend is that customers increasingly demand free delivery of goods. However, the problem with this growing demand is that there ends up being a shortfall in carrier compensation, which inevitably slows down delivery times due to a lack of available human resources.
Retailers are attempting to overcome this dilemma by offering delivery subscription services. Amazon Prime is one very successful example of this model, wherein customers pay a fee and receive unlimited free delivery, among a host of other benefits. Other retailers have followed suit with this model, including fashion retailers Boohoo.com and ASOS.
According to 2018 data from the Royal Mail Group, 28 percent of British people now use a delivery subscription scheme. Expect this trend to grow as more of you look to capitalize on the opportunity to adequately compensate carriers while increasing customer loyalty.
5. In-Home Delivery Services
The convenience of ordering goods online without leaving the house presents some dilemmas for retailers. How can you engage with customers face-to-face? What can you incorporate into the delivery experience to provide that extra competitive edge and retain more customers?
Some companies have answered these questions by starting to think about in-home delivery services.
Ikea’s TaskRabbit is a pertinent example. Available to U.S. customers, TaskRabbit connects you with service providers, so that when you order products from Ikea, a handyman will arrive with the product and assemble it for you in your home.
If your products warrant help with assembly, this is certainly one service you can charge a premium for while ensuring you become the next go-to retailer for that item.
Much of the discussion in modern delivery trends revolves around the ability to provide the best possible customer experience to increase brand loyalty and ensure future orders in a highly competitive landscape.
You must leverage technology, such as drones, last mile delivery software and automated carrier management, in addition to providing more choice and services while balancing your costs and carrier compensation to cope with high demand.
This guest post was kindly contributed by Agile SEO.