What shoppers expect of last mile logistics is evolving so fast that a new term, ‘pre-parcel anxiety,’ has entered the lexicon. This state of nervous impatience when waiting for a delivery is made much worse by poor last-mile experience.
Given its importance to overall brand perception, and the likelihood of customers coming back, there is little margin for error. Perfecting the last mile, with accuracy, speed, and convenience is the foundation of eCommerce success. If you can’t deliver on your promises, your customers go elsewhere.
So what are the biggest last mile logistics challenges, and how are they overcome?
1. Meeting new expectations
The growing need for seamless, more immediate delivery is influenced by slick, on-demand user experiences that are the norm elsewhere. With access to so much innovation, always-on, tech-savvy customers expect much more of last mile logistics. This includes personalised features that put them in control of the delivery experience.
Consumers want to choose from a range of delivery services and speeds, and track the progress of orders in real time. The key to satisfying evolving customer needs lies in giving them exactly what they want – fast, flexible, and low cost delivery.
2. Failed and late deliveries
When delivery fails it can cost retailers dearly. A survey by loqate reveals that failed or late deliveries are a significant cost for 65% of retailers, with the average being £200,000 a year. It only takes one negative delivery experience for many customers to avoid using a retailer again. With inaccurate or incomplete shipping information the biggest culprit in delivery delays, and failures, getting it right the first time isn’t optional.
3. Rising logistics costs
Speed and accuracy in last mile logistics improves customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, but it puts pressure on margins. Protecting them by creating a streamlined delivery management process, removes errors and waste.
Last mile is the most taxing part of the eCommerce logistics chain, comprising up to 53% of total shipping expense. A recent PwC survey found that managing or reducing costs (59%) and increased efficiency (63%) are currently both top priorities for supply chain professionals.
The challenge of providing a stand out delivery experience, and doing it affordably, is significant for retailers. Against the backdrop of a volatile macro trading, logistics, and labour environment, every cost should be controlled.
Tracking and reporting on packages beyond the warehouse has never been more important. Customers now demand to be kept informed about the progress of deliveries in real time. By offering order tracking throughout the entire customer journey, the Scurri platform gives retailers the tools to proactively manage customer shipping updates.
The capacity to monitor and track each order through a single platform gives your customer support team visibility when challenges do arise. Having all order tracking notifications sent directly by you, rather than the carrier, puts you back in full control of delivery experience.
To respond to unforeseen events, retailers need a flexible and adaptive approach to managing their carriers. Delays caused by traffic, poor weather, break down, and accidents, are relatively common. When issues arise that demand you act fast, retailers need to be nimble to resolve them. If carriers are unavailable, or service is disrupted, it usually means fulfilling orders with an alternative carrier, at speed.
Having an approach to delivery that isn’t reliant on one or two carriers, allows you to manage situations better. You can switch between services if and when you need to, and offer customers more delivery options at checkout.
When you use a delivery management platform, you can spot any delivery disruptions and easily switch between carriers when needed.
6. Reverse logistics
Returns are a massive issue for retailers and the broader eCommerce industry. Charging for returns is now widespread, with a quarter of the UK’s leading brands now charging to return online purchases, an y-o-y increase of 14%, according to a new parcelab report.
Despite that, customer appetite for free returns is strong, with an Ivesp survey indicating that 79% of consumers want free return shipping. Outsourcing returns to logistics providers, or managing them with advanced automation, is practically the only option. Especially, if you want to operate at scale.
7. Cross-border expansion
The added hassle of cross-border eCommerce shouldn’t be a reason to shy away from growth opportunities. The customs and compliance burden can be dealt with easily by delivery management automation. You will, however, need to integrate with a network of new last-mile shippers to satisfy local demand.
Adding local carriers can offer retailers the most competitive shipping rates. Familiarity with the carrier also reassures customers who may be shopping with you for the first time. Shoppers outside your home market usually exhibit different preferences and behaviours when it comes to delivery. Having the optimal mix of carrier services, gives you more ability to respond.
8. Inadequate infrastructure
Warehouse systems are soon outmoded if they can’t deal with the sheer volume of data in present day eCommerce. Managing and taking insight from data is at the heart of creating a seamless last mile logistics process. Automation offers slicker order processing and faster shipment creation, if utilised properly.
Moreover, by connecting warehouse and carrier systems, it’s possible to manage all order, customer, and delivery data, in one place. This has advantages right across the lifetime of your orders, and helps optimise all aspects of last mile operations. Speed, cost, and reliability metrics through the full order journey, give the control to make improvements.
As economic headwinds accelerate, delivery control is the key to a superior last-mile experience, and integral to growth.
Control isn’t an option, it’s an essential. A superpower to take your business wherever you need it to go. That’s what Scurri really delivers. It’s what we were built around. Take control of your delivery management and take your business to the next level today.