Are you ready for the post-Covid retail boom? These three ways will help you to ensure delivery success.
After a challenging year for retail in 2020, experts are predicting a post-Covid boom. With retail expected to return to prosperity, companies need to contend with changing consumer expectations and ever-increasing customer demands.
It is already clear that some retailers may not have been prepared for the rapid return of retail after the easing of the latest lockdown, with shortages of bikes to garden furniture, it’s evident that the desire to shop is still there. But while the health of UK retail has been given a boost following the return of the high street, what are ecommerce retailers, delivery services and businesses, that are looking to bolster their online offerings, doing to cope with this unprecedented increase in demand?
Online retail sales have of course increased rapidly due to the pandemic, with internet sales expected to rise a further 10% by 2025. With the seemingly permanent shift to online shopping, Andrew Tavener, Head of Marketing at Descartes Systems UK outlines three ways for companies to prepare for the post-Covid retail boom and improve their ecommerce services for the long-term.
1. Consider the Full Customer Journey
Retailers need to consider the full customer journey – from the initial purchase down to the last mile. Investing in loyalty programs and improving the online experience is vital, but what about the actual delivery experience? The reality is, customers will blame the selling brand or retailer whenever there is a problem with the delivery, even if it is the courier’s mistake. The full journey of the item purchased and overall customer experience should be taken into consideration – right up until the parcel is received by the customer.
With advances in technology and changing attitudes, the requirements of a successful retailer have grown exponentially in recent years. A recent whitepaper outlined that, ‘Companies now need to be good at not just buying and selling products, but also at things like online fulfillment, home delivery, data analytics, AI, machine learning and process automation’. This is true – organisations need to consider investing in the right solution that not only enhances their complete offering, but also crucially improves the full customer journey.
2. Enable Convenient Deliveries
Convenience is king today. Delivery tracking and routing software can improve the overall delivery experience for a customer by ensuring visibility and timeliness of the delivery – especially important as people start to get busier with the return to work and reopening of hospitality.
At every stage of the supply chain, delivery tracking solutions provide customers with up-to-date, real time information for the arrival time of their delivery. With a user-friendly and easily accessible app, parcels can be tracked conveniently, so the customer will be aware of any issues or delays that arise as soon as possible. Additionally, customers will be able to see exactly when their parcel is expected to arrive at their door and with a streamlined routing solution, fleet operators will be able to adhere to their delivery times. Integrating telematics and mobile data communications provides full visibility of a vehicle’s location for both the fleet manager and end customer. Should there be any delays in delivery times, the system will automatically warn the end customer in advance, while simultaneously providing transport operators with the ability to reroute a vehicle to avoid congestion or accidents causing these delays. This not only makes deliveries more convenient, but helps customers to build trust in a brand because there is full transparency, reassuring them to continue shopping online while getting back to busy post-Covid schedules.
3. Improve Reliability
Consumers are not only looking for a convenient service, but importantly a reliable service from their delivery services. Four in five (79%) of UK consumers say that the reliability of a retailer’s delivery partner is important. Increasing reliability is a no-brainer for organisations in order to enhance trust and encourage repeat purchases. Proof of Delivery (PoD) and route optimisation solutions can support this.
With digital PoD solutions, images of parcels left in a safe place can be shared with the recipient, reassuring customers of a successful and safe delivery. The whole delivery process is verified and secure giving consumers and providers correct information in real-time. This means that the customer will gain greater visibility and satisfaction when it comes to their deliveries, with a solution that improves service quality and productivity through increasing delivery efficiency – resulting in contented customers who feel in control and confident their delivery service is dependable and their purchase will be looked after. ePoD is also essential for maintaining best practice for COVID safe delivery.
Moreover, with route optimisation combined with telematics and mobile data communications, fleet operators can ensure that the parcel will always end up with the consumer in the most efficient way. Delivery drivers will be able to use fewer vehicles to deliver more goods in fewer miles and collect more returns within the fastest time possible – providing end customers with a fast and reliable service while at the same time fleet capacity is maximised. Improving reliability for consumers through increasing fleet efficiencies and PoD services will help online retailers offer a great customer experience and stand-out amid the post-Covid retail boom.
Prepare for the post-Covid retail boom now:
To find out more about Proof of Delivery and Parcel Tracking solutions: https://routinguk.descartes.com/our-solutions/mobile-applications-for-delivery-routing/proof-of-delivery
Andrew is Head of Marketing at Descartes Systems UK Ltd and has over twenty years’ business-to-business senior marketing management experience with high technology solutions (hardware, software and services) in complex business-to-business markets that includes logistics and transport with organisations such as Intel, Securicor, Unipart Technology Logistics and Orange.