There’s a big opportunity to differentiate your retail business through shipping and delivery right now. This is largely because the industry’s “top performers” aren’t performing well at all in the delivery sphere at the moment. Case in point? Amazon. The eCommerce megalith had Prime customers waiting 6–7 days for “overnight delivery” products to arrive over the 2019 holiday season. In a world where eCommerce sales are predicted to double to surpass 6.5 trillion before 2023, 7-day shipping lags are unacceptable.
But that’s not the only arena where retail deliveries are falling short.
The delivery sector is the bad seed of the retail industry. It’s rife with couriers who just don’t care—delivering products to the wrong address and refusing to take accountability, throwing products over fences, leaving customer orders in areas that they will assuredly be stolen, and more. It’s all very metal. You can really see the impact of poor last-mile delivery service by taking a look at the net promoter score of the delivery industry in the US and Europe.
Net promoter scores range from -100 to 100. For a net promoter score to be considered positive, it needs to fall between 7–8 or above. Welp, a recent Capgemini study found that in the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, the delivery sector had respective net promoter scores of 0, -29, -13, and -1. This is not exactly an acceptable score for companies handling one of the most important sectors of the modern retail industry.
We’re living in a time when 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. But no matter how tight of a ship you run, or how good your products are, you will lose customers if your supply chain falls short in the last mile. Consider that 79% of companies with high-functioning supply chains have higher than average revenue growth, and a whopping 69% of supply chain leaders have a profit margin that’s also higher than the industry norm.
Despite the fact that it’s much cheaper to retain an existing customer than to recruit a new one, however, most managers still opt to spend more on promotions rather than invest in the necessary tools to make their organizations function more effectively. One of these tools is a single-platform UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solution.
Communication is the driving actor in any effective supply chain. The challenge is to bridge the gap between the corporate office, warehouse managers, customer service specialists, and the couriers fulfilling last-mile delivery functions. To do this, you have to be able to access all of your business communications on one single platform that hosts delivery, fulfillment, and CRM data. Cloud-based UCaaS solutions can be used to help customer service reps track and monitor orders.
But that’s not all: Certain UCaaS solutions offer open platforms with flexible APIs and third-party app integrations, turning it into a powerful hub for multiple forms of delivery-related communications (e.g., messages, images, alerts, etc.). This means warehouse or fleet managers can request and review photos of completed orders with a timestamp that ensures they were delivered right to the customer’s doorstep within the specified time window—adding another level of courier accountability and ensuring that your last-mile delivery processes maintain the high standard of customer service your retail business upholds.