As the world settles after the pandemic and a new wave of change ripples through the global economy, understanding the benefits of convenient delivery is more essential for businesses in the retail industry than ever. Especially for last mile delivery, a flexible and seamless process is essential in helping customers receive the services they expect.
A recent study published by MIT Sloan Management Review found that retailers providing customers with the options of delivery on a specific day and time, were more valued than deliveries made in shorter time periods. The study also concluded that consumers are even willing to wait longer for a delivery, as long as they can receive the product when and where they choose. Clearly, consumers now value convenience over speed, a trend that is becoming more prevalent today.
In a recent interview with Guy Bloch, CEO of Bringg – the market leading delivery management platform provider, we discussed the importance of last mile delivery in uncertain times, and how, due to evolving consumer behavior, flexibility is key to ensuring a positive experience.
Gary Drenik: Consumers are in a “recession state-of-mind” — how does this affect retailers? And what should they be doing to become more competitive?
Guy Bloch: The pandemic affected both retailers and consumers. Because of the supply chain crisis, consumer expectations continued to evolve and placed a lot of pressure on retail delivery operations. Now in 2023, we’re witnessing how the deepening recession is pushing both retailers and consumers to concentrate on cost efficiency, posing a major challenge for businesses to stay profitable, while still meeting consumer demands.
According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, nearly 65% of consumers over the age of 18 in the US reported that the recession had a negative impact on their view of the economy, causing them to become increasingly more careful with how they spend their money. At the same time, they also expect more convenience and control of how their orders will be delivered.
In order to remain competitive, retailers need to understand that convenience, for consumers, means offering the ability to choose what they want, when and where they want it. During recent years, this was to appease the instant gratification of shoppers to provide immediate or same day delivery, a commodity that 27% of respondents, from a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, stated as not a priority anymore. But now, on the contrary, according to Bringg’s latest report, in 2023 retailers will need to offer multiple flexible and convenient delivery options, which are immensely impacting consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Drenik: What should retailers be doing to meet the evolving expectations of customers?
Bloch: Consumers are demanding more visibility into their delivery options before they even arrive at checkout. Retailers should present delivery estimates throughout the shopping journey, offer scheduled delivery options already from the home page, and provide multiple delivery options to meet consumers where and when they choose.
Another area last mile delivery must address is customer returns. 92% of consumers say that they would purchase from a retailer again if the product return process was easy. Retailers must invest in an efficient returns strategy and provide clear communication with the customer throughout the journey to ensure loyalty and retention.
Drenik: Delivery is part of the shopping experience and has an impact on revenue — hence its importance. How does a delivery management platform help with standardizing the last mile delivery to better support retailers?
Bloch: Every new delivery need brings about unique logistical considerations that can overwhelm even the most experienced retailer. Rather than trying to address each new challenge with yet another point solution, a delivery management platform (DMP) is the best way to manage and orchestrate last mile delivery, fulfillment and returns, all from one place.
Drenik: How does Bringg differentiate itself from its competitors to appeal to retailers struggling in such a competitive market?
Bloch: At Bringg, we expanded the definition of last mile to begin when a consumer places an online order and schedules the delivery, through fulfillment, tracking and communications, and ending with the consumer receiving the package, rating the delivery experience, and also managing the return process.
While there are many point solutions for point problems in the last mile, our holistic platform
is open and data led, built to plan, scale, and optimize the last mile delivery operations of any business, no matter the size. Our DMP requires a one-time integration into a retailer’s existing IT stack, enabling retailers to drive value quickly with clear ROI.
Drenik: What role will data analytics and automation play in helping retailers adapt to evolving consumer demands?
Bloch: Consumer data is critical for gaining insights and optimizing operations, performance, and costs. Enabling effective data collection requires full visibility into all processes and systems across the last mile. Today this is fragmented and not streamlined because many retailers are still managing the last mile via multiple, disparate point solutions that don’t communicate with other parts of the tech stack.
A DMP provides full visibility across the last mile and gathers data to turn it into actionable information for making smart business decisions while promoting transparent communication with dispatchers, drivers, and the consumer to optimize the delivery experience.
Drenik: Thank you Guy for your insights on how brands and retailers can improve their last mile delivery experience through a Delivery Management Platform. With consumer expectations constantly evolving, I’m sure that more brands will be focusing on how they can better cater to their evolving demands and create an affordable and customer centric experience for all.