As the world settles in the wake of the pandemic and the wave of change it induced in the global economy, understanding the benefits of convenient delivery is essential for doing business. Nowhere is this more true than in last mile delivery, where a flexible, seamless process is essential in helping each customer receive the service they expect.
It’s clear that convenience is central to many consumers’ considerations, with 80% saying convenience is a top priority for a positive customer experience. But what exactly constitutes convenient delivery in the first place?
To answer that, it’s important to understand that convenience is a fluid concept, often dependent on a range of factors.
What convenience means for the customer
Ultimately, something is deemed to be a convenient option for delivery when it best meets a person’s needs. That means being able to choose what you want, when and where you want it.
For some, that means the ability to provide immediate delivery or same day delivery, but sometimes it doesn’t. Instant gratification in the delivery experience is only one in a list of considerations customers may have when placing an order.
Imagine this: It’s Sunday, and you spot something online. You go ahead and begin placing your order. You work from home three days a week. Should you send the order to your home or office? And just to complicate things, and on those days at home you might run errands in between Zoom meetings, pick up the kids from schools, or nip out for any number of reasons.
That’s the dilemma regularly faced by many millions of consumers around the globe.
Flexibility is crucial
With the increase in on demand delivery apps and services, retailers will find themselves using resources in different, and new, ways. For example, stores are emerging as the center of retail operations, with brick-and-mortar retail activity going up and retailers continuing to re-invent the role of the store. Stores are central to fulfillment, acting as a hub for different methods to deliver and fulfill orders, and retailers need flexibility to manage stores accordingly.
Similarly, a more holistic view will enable companies to check if orders being sent out for immediate delivery can be batched with other orders going out in the same time window to the same area, thus saving time and money in the process.
Numerous primary options have grown significantly in recent years with the aim of providing shoppers with greater convenience.
Online retail customers love BOPIS and other in-store pickup and options because they reduce the time it takes to acquire goods. Although the practice exploded during the pandemic, BOPIS isn’t just a trend. Adoption rates in 2016 were already above 40%, and are expected to rise to 90% by 2024.
Pick-up and drop-off areas are designated locations where customers can leave or take delivery of parcels. Boxit lockers and local convenience stores close to home are frequently more useful options than heading to the retailer itself. And if you happen to be away for some time, having the option of re-routing your package to a local pick-up point is incredibly helpful.
On demand delivery
On demand delivery is the process of delivering orders as quickly as possible after they come in, and with no advanced scheduling. Goods are delivered to a customer within a few hours or even minutes from the moment of purchase. In order to succeed in meeting on demand delivery goals, retailers and logistics companies must adopt technological solutions to meet expectations and keep customers satisfied.
Same day delivery
In today’s world, there’s no reason to wait two days for a grocery delivery.
99% of retailers plan to offer same day delivery within the next three years – with many aiming to offer 30-minute delivery times, too.Source: 2022 Bringg Barometer
Enabling same day and on demand service requires the right set-up. Equipment is a vital aspect in this effort. Whereas traditional deliveries required filling up vans and trucks, and then taking wares across a lengthy route, these deliveries need greater agility. Specially adapted e-cargo bicycles, for instance, harness new technologies and can carry relatively light loads quickly, with the added advantage of supporting green logistics operations.
How to create a more convenient option for delivery
It’s one thing knowing about these methods. It’s another entirely to actively enable the delivery processes that lead to truly convenient customer experience.
On demand fleets
Retailers need to bring on fleets with vehicles suited for swift delivery, instead of focusing on traditional services using large trucks designed for multi-day fulfillment. Crowdsourced delivery services, and fleets with smaller vehicles suited for urban on demand delivery, can fill the gap.
Supporting ship from store
Retailers are increasingly structuring store operations around shipping from store to meet customer convenience requirements for fast delivery. Fulfillment will become even more localized as retailers continue to leverage multiple locations to fulfill orders and reduce time to delivery. Already in the 2021 peak season, 40% of retailers shipped from store.
Whatever method is used, It’s increasingly important for businesses to ensure efficient order fulfillment processes so that delivery flows are seamless and not interrupted at any stage. For example, giving drivers, cyclists, and delivery professionals access to an on demand delivery app enables them to shift gear immediately and get products from A to B without added delays.
The same applies for in-store workers who pick and pack products, and dedicated in-store workers who oversee BOPIS and PUDO collections; shoppers expect a swift in-store service. Employees need tools and technology in-store to control fulfillment processes in store to address the needs of BOPIS and driver collections.
As buyers place shop online more than ever before, it’s important to manage delivery expectations. That means knowing that deliveries will arrive on time, estimations of delivery windows are accurate, and collection and drop-off service points have an easy, clear process so that valuable time isn’t wasted waiting. That means retailers have to know how long each phase is taking, and manage a range of inventories. And in extreme cases, when a delivery exception occurs, it’s important to be able to clearly communicate with the recipient, and allay their fears.
Consistent communication keeps shoppers informed and happy with their delivery.
The bottom line
Just a few years ago, any article about convenience and deliveries would have focused on the issue of when. As the world has rapidly shifted to accommodate the pandemic, however, when has been joined by considerations of where, and how, consumers wish to receive their orders.
The timeliness of deliveries remains unquestionably of immense significance. If anything. it’s clear that consumers want their orders faster than ever. But not always. In order to keep in touch in 2022, retailers need to bear in mind that sometimes convenience is about more than speed, but judged also by ease of process and location.