Customer demands are ever changing but one thing that remains consistent is their increasing expectations associated with deliveries.
With online shopping soaring in recent years (73% of customers admit to ordering more since the onset of Covid19), more and more consumers are opting for home delivery. Consumer’s high expectations are often based on the outcome of the final leg of delivery - the last mile. Everything from how they are notified of their delivery - to receiving their order, all of this is considered in evaluating the delivery experience.
But how can you ensure you create a great delivery experience? Keep reading as we put together some of our top tips!
What is important to the consumer?
Consumers expect the following when it comes to their products to be delivered;
Deliveries should be;
- On time, everytime
- Sent to the correct address
- Left in a safe place given delivery instructions
- Communicated well to the recipient
Consumers will happily pay more for a decent delivery service, especially for a faster delivery time with 75% of consumers desiring same-day shipping.
With these expectations becoming the norm, it is imperative for businesses to get the delivery experience right. Otherwise you could face losing customers to businesses that do!
What challenges do companies face in creating a great Delivery Experience?
The rise of on-demand deliveries has changed the whole ecommerce environment. Previously, shoppers may have been willing to wait for their packages to arrive but now a study shows that only 21% of online shoppers are willing to forgive retailers for disruptions to their delivery due to supply chain issues. With shorter time frames, drivers are finding themselves under pressure to get out deliveries faster in the same time period.
Failure to harness automation
With many consumers now expecting same day and next day delivery, planning needs to be incredibly efficient and accurate in order to get it right. From ensuring there is enough stock, to packing & sending the orders and then finally getting it into the hands of the customer. There is so much room for error when manually planning everything. Issues caused from poor planning can have a knock on effect and ultimately give your customers a poor delivery experience. There are many automated systems that can help you here from order management software, delivery management systems and last mile delivery apps.
Poor communication with customers
Customers expect to be kept in the loop at all times of the delivery process. From orders being accepted, packed, sent out and delivered. Without these updates, customers are left with uncertainty around their order. Around 80% of shoppers feel regular order communication is needed. If customers are not informed about their deliveries they may not be home to receive their order. This can make the handover process difficult particularly if it is required to hand the order over to someone in person. Few companies are set up with the technologies needed to help with this level of communication.
What does a great delivery experience look like?
There are many important elements to creating a great delivery experience and it’s crucial to get these right to ensure repeat business!
Delivery should be quick and on time
Ensuring customers get their products without having to follow up with your business is one of the most fundamental parts of a great delivery experience. Make sure you give your drivers the right tools to help them get their deliveries completed in good time. With only 15% of shoppers in the US being happy with the delivery speed they currently receive their items in, there is a lot of room for improvement. Improving your delivery operations as a whole can help here!
Automation should be used to make deliveries more accurate
The whole delivery process is hinged on proper planning and execution. Why not make life easier by using automated tools that not only take some of the heavy lifting but can also drive efficiencies for your business?
One such automated tool is a delivery management system. This type of system will make sure your routes are fully planned, optimized and sent automatically to your drivers. Delivery management platforms can also help with planning in your warehouse by splitting delivery areas into zones so you know exactly what orders should be placed in each delivery vehicle. Overall these kinds of systems can be hugely beneficial and make sure you get more orders out per day without needing to increase the amount of drivers and/or vans that you use.
SmartRoutes helps you create a great delivery experience
Deliver on time, everytime. Take control of your delivery operations. Impress your customers with superb communication tools.
Proper communication with customers
A great delivery experience will always need to include proper communication with customers. This can be through email, phone or SMS notifications. Automating this process also has its advantages as customers feel more at ease when they are updated in real time. Keeping your customer in the loop of the status of their order means they do not need to worry about when to be in to receive their package. They can receive live updates as to the whereabouts of their order and can then plan their day accordingly. This kind of personalized experience can be what makes customers stay with you rather than going to your competition. Tracking links can also be sent in these notifications so customers can view the status of their order in realtime (more about that later).
Offer contactless delivery options
Offering contactless delivery as an option for your customers can be a great way to enhance the delivery experience. Customers don’t need to feel like they should be on the lookout for the delivery driver. It also means that delivery drivers don’t need to spend as much time per delivery drop as they do not need to wait for the recipient to handover the order. As long as you keep your customers totally informed, contactless delivery can be great. Things like sending electronic proof of delivery can really help here!
Include free delivery and premium delivery options
82% of consumers in the U.S. are willing to purchase more items in order to take advantage of a minimum spending ‘free delivery’ option. If you’re not offering free delivery, this could result in you losing customers to those who do. By handling deliveries in house, you can better manage your costs and then pass on those savings to your customers by offering free delivery. However, not every customer wants standard delivery. Many customers are willing to pay extra in order to receive their packages faster. It might be beneficial to offer both options for both kinds of customers!
So, why is delivering a great delivery experience important?
With 80% of the population of the US now shopping online, the delivery experience is so important to get right. Consumers know what they want when it comes to a delivery experience, and they may decide to look elsewhere if you cannot meet those expectations. Business owners need to be aware of what their customers are looking for in a delivery service and ensure they are satisfied with the process from beginning to end. By delivering orders on time you have a better chance of converting them to repeat customers. Your business may suffer if you can’t deliver within the expected delivery window as customers may decide to go with other options in the market.
How using SmartRoutes can help create a great delivery experience for your customers
Automated Route Planning and Optimization
Automating route planning and optimization can help you save up a lot of time allowing you to focus on other tasks that need immediate attention. You can upload order information to SmartRoutes via a spreadsheet or ecommerce software integration. Routes are then automatically planned and assigned and sent to your drivers via the mobile app. This smart technology automates your delivery operations making it more efficient and accurate. You can get more orders delivered without needing to scale your operations. Planning routes in advance means that you can give your customers plenty of notice for their delivery ETA’s.
Deliver on time
With improved route planning, SmartRoutes ensures that your deliveries are all sent out on time. The platform takes into account driver wait times and time windows meaning the time the customer is given for expected time of arrival will be very accurate. The ETA’s are sent out automatically to customers via email or SMS.
Better customer communication
SmartRoutes is set up to send automated notifications to customers at various points in the delivery process. From before, during and end - you can choose what level of information should be sent to your customer and when. The more you keep your customers in the loop the happier they will be with the delivery experience. Giving your customers realtime updates and accurate ETA’s makes the whole process much easier and relaxed for the end consumer.
As part of the email or SMS notification, a live tracking link can be sent to the customer whereby they can check for up to the minute information regarding their orders status. This level of visibility in the delivery process can be a great addition to the customer's delivery experience.
Electronic Proof of Delivery
Delivery drivers can open the driver mobile app on their phone and quickly snap a picture and upload to the order for POD. This helps in case customers can’t find their package and it can be easily shown where the package was placed. POD can also be captured through e-signatures for products that must be handed over to the recipient in person. This tool is incredibly useful for reporting purposes. Also if customers need to check anything once the delivery is made, all of the information is there as to who received the order and where it was placed.
Looking to create a great delivery experience for your customers?
If you're looking to create a great delivery experience for your customers then look no further than SmartRoutes. You can try it out with our 7-day free trial or speak to one of our team today. We can get you up and running in minutes and help you to make the most of it from the outset.
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