retail delivery
September 6, 2023

As Consumer Expectations Grow, Shippers Demand Fast and Reliable Retail Delivery

Jim Waters

The last mile customer experience is key to growing your business in the hyper-competitive retail space. In fact, 79% of supply chain professionals agree that a seamless delivery experience is “very or extremely important to providing a competitive edge.”

This need for an outstanding last mile delivery experience will only increase as consumers make more purchases online in the coming years. As retail purchases shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online experiences and direct-to-consumer sellers, fast fulfillment and exceptional customer experiences will separate the winners from the losers.

The need to meet consumer expectations is reshaping delivery strategies across the retail landscape. There are huge opportunities associated with perfecting retail delivery services, but there are also obstacles to overcome along the way.

Consumers Have High Expectations for Retail Delivery

Last mile delivery is the last portion of a shipment’s journey when it moves from a distribution or fulfillment center to its final destination. The last mile in shipping is the most expensive, accounting for 53% of a shipment’s overall cost, and it’s also become the most important due to the last mile’s ability to align with consumer expectations.

Modern retail customers are looking for three specific things from the shipping experience:

  1. Speed: More than 90% of consumers see 2- and 3-day delivery windows as the maximum, with 30% expecting same-day retail delivery service.
  2. Transparency: Consumers also want status updates, including certainty on when their retail deliveries will arrive.
  3. Convenience: Options for retail store delivery service matter to consumers like never before. Some want the convenience of in-store pickup, some want curbside, while others want at-home delivery. Allow your customers to choose the most convenient option for them. 

Without an effective last mile delivery program, providing the speed, transparency, and convenience that customers expect is nearly impossible.

Significant Challenges Stand Between Shippers and Reliable Retail Delivery

If effective last mile delivery were easy, all retailers would have perfected it by now. But that’s not the case. Significant challenges exist in building last mile delivery programs, including:

  • Balancing costs: It can be expensive to create a best-in-class last mile delivery system. Retailers must balance speed and reliability with budget limitations.
  • Overcoming delays: Poor weather conditions, unexpected traffic, and unforeseen supply chain issues can all cause delivery delays. These delays lead to poor customer experiences and undermine even the most well-crafted last mile delivery programs.
  • Choosing the right technologies: Technology makes possible modern last mile delivery that delights customers. Choose the right technology for your business, one that replaces manual processes with automation, plans routes for efficiency, and allows your retail business to remain agile with last mile delivery.

When your business finds a way to balance costs, overcome delays, and implement the right technologies, it naturally begins to meet the retail customer expectations that are increasing over time.

Exceeding Expectations: Three Steps to Reliable Retail Delivery

Whether you’re building a new last mile delivery program or optimizing an existing one, follow these three steps to meet customer expectations and gain a competitive advantage.

1. Focus on Real-Time Visibility

Respond to consumer demand for transparency by providing real-time visibility. Create an easy-to-navigate portal that allows customers to check the status of their shipments, and use status update emails, texts, and alerts to proactively communicate when disruptions occur.

2. Scalable Capacity is Key

The ability to ramp retail delivery capacity up and down as needed is essential to meeting your customers' expectations. Most retailers partner with last mile delivery providers so they can scale capacity as needed without the cost of building and maintaining an in-house fleet of vehicles and a team of drivers.

3. Optimized Routing for Optimized Performance

Last mile drivers can waste a lot of time criss-crossing delivery areas to make stops. Thankfully, modern technology empowers route optimization that eliminates inefficiencies.

Some third-party delivery services for retailers offer multiple stops and bundled deliveries that help shippers save money through increased efficiency. Optimized routes are better for a retailer’s operations while helping to match today’s consumer expectations.

Find a Partner That Exceeds Your Customers’ Expectations

Retail delivery is tough in modern times, particularly the costly and time-consuming last mile. Rather than building your own last mile delivery system, find a partner that offers real-time visibility to your customers, allows you to ramp capacity up and down as needed, and uses route optimization to save you time and money.

At FRAYT, we offer a simplified on-demand delivery platform that connects your retail business with real-time tracking, fast delivery (including same-day services), plus drivers who care. The result is a last mile program that scales as you need it to and service that delights your retail customers.

Ship with us to improve your last mile delivery and create better customer experiences.

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