Of all the stages of the fulfilment chain, last mile delivery is where retailers still experience the greatest number of challenges. In terms of the wider eCommerce ecosystem, it is a crucial component of customer experience, and overall satisfaction with a brand.
The trouble is, in most cases, key aspects of last-mile experience are outside the control of retailers. Providing support to customers in the last mile is still an area fraught with excessive cost, complexity, and lack of efficiency.
Against a backdrop of global supply chain issues, and increasing eCommerce uptake, it’s no exaggeration to say that last mile is fast becoming a key battleground for retailers, logistics providers and consumers alike. Perhaps, that’s why we are witnessing a tide of innovation aimed at solving last mile logistics problems.
So what are the key innovations and technologies making last delivery more effcient? And furthermore, what benefits do they make available?
1. Digital geocoding
Geocoding refines delivery route planning by transforming the description of a location into latitude and longitude coordinates. This creates a specific location on the globe’s surface, giving last mile delivery drivers pinpoint accurate directions. Without accurate delivery address information retailers are subject to operational efficiency, failed deliveries, and poor communication with customers.
Research finds that 68% of businesses state that failed or late delivery is a ‘’significant cost’’ to their operation. The same survey reveals that 99% of eCommerce organisations admit some deliveries go wrong, and 24% say more than 1 in 10 orders aren’t delivered at the first attempt.
To solve this issue, Scurri partners with what3words, a UK-based geocode system company. The integration provides a three word address, to deliver exactly to a customer’s location within three meters squared. Geocoding also allows retailers to map customer information to establish marketing strategies and target clusters of customers.
2. Cross-border data enhancement
With UK eCommerce demand in decline, many retailers are looking further afield to boost sales and create new opportunities. There’s no doubt that Brexit added complexity and cost for retailers that ship goods between the UK and Europe. Many are still struggling with new customs requirements, compliance hurdles, and duty and tax elements.
That said, innovation in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) driven solutions are helping retailers provide complete and accurate data to keep the parcels moving across borders. The same tech helps to show customers the total cost of online purchases in real time, inducing customs charges, to improve doorstep experience.
In partnership with Hurricane Commerce, Scurri helps retailers simplify the complexities of cross-border trade with complete and valid data. In terms of last-mile experience, issues with export and import codes can slow down customs clearance, and leave customers facing long delays in receiving their goods. The technology can also be used to check each country’s legislation to determine any restrictions that apply to goods.
3. Automated carrier selection
Carrier selection is an area where advanced automation capabilities, underpinned by AI and machine learning, offer retailers new possibilities. The ability to automatically allocate the optimal service for each delivery drives efficiency, and helps provide a great customer experience. Using our rules engine, the Scurri platform automates all orders based on a set of fully customisable, pre-defined variables.
This can include up to 35 variables, with countless combinations, including total value, number of items, weight, SKU, the shipping method selected at checkout, and many more. Scurri is designed to be flexible and easy to use and you can change priorities of rules to enable or remove carrier services for particular scenarios. Our ‘find the cheapest rate’ feature Scurri automatically selects the most economical service.
4. Real-time parcel tracking
Real-time tracking utilises big data capabilities to analyse bigger more complex data sets, and determine the status of each package along the fulfilment journey. However, with disparate levels of information and formats coming from carriers, it’s impossible for many retailers to consolidate this information without huge development resources.
The best cloud-based delivery management platforms enhance last-mile support by offering unified tracking data. Comprehensive tracking, that’s owned by you and not the carrier, feeds updated statuses through the platform to the customer. Retailers can manage the customer experience better by offering notifications as soon as an exception has occurred on the tracking journey. Advanced tracking data can also be used to analyse courier performance in real time and make improvements.
With carrier and customer systems connected, recipients can easily access the relevant information to track the parcel themselves. It’s this transparency that is so crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction with last mile delivery.
Taking control of delivery management gives you the power to develop a cohesive experience for your customers. It allows you to optimise carrier selection, and ensure that customer support in the last mile works by tracking orders through the full order journey. It puts you in control of exactly how you want to notify your customers about the status of their orders.