In today’s world, good customer experience matters, and integrated logistics has the potential to deliver.
Positive customer experiences are key to driving customer retention, satisfaction, and brand loyalty. This is true for all businesses – whether they specialise in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). PWC research found 73% of customers globally consider customer experience to be an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Almost one in three customers (32%) would leave a brand they love after one bad experience, while 44% would completely abandon that business after two or three negative experiences. In other words, delivering a great customer experience is just as important – and sometimes more important – than the products or services on offer.
Much of delivering good customer services relies on logistics operations, including speed, quality, cost and fulfilment. And that’s where integrated logistics often steps in. It connects all stages of the supply chain - from production, storage, transport, and delivery – to optimise the flow of goods. The result is more streamlined, accurate, reliable deliveries and the potential for improved customer experience.
The benefits of integrated logistics for customer experience
The essential elements for good customer experience include:
- Reliability and consistency
- Convenience with seamless processes to minimise customer effort
- Simplicity of interactions at all stages of the customer journey, including resolution
Integrated logistics is helping businesses deliver on all of these, which helps explain the strong interest in this model of supply chain organisation. In recent years, the global integrated logistics market has recorded an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.54% and is expected to reach a value of USD 77.52 billion by 2030, according to Strategic Market Research. More and more businesses are seeking to tap into the benefits integrated logistics, which can support improved customer experience in five key ways:
- Faster, more reliable and accurate delivery – in recent years, customer expectations around delivery times have changed and reliability, consistency and speed matter to customers more than ever. Statista reports that 41% of online shoppers now hope to receive their purchase within 24 hours, while and 24% want their order in less than two hours. A 2022 Marketing Profs survey found 53% of end-customers abandoned a purchase because they perceived the delivery option to be too slow. Integrated logistics can collate accurate, real-time data, which offers more visibility and more accuracy around delivery times. It can also offer more transparency and allow businesses and end-customers to track shipments in real-time.
- Improved flexibility – business have experienced unprecedented supply chain disruptions in recent years. Being prepared for ‘anything’ rather than ‘everything’ is crucial. Integrated logistics offers unprecedented visibility, so businesses are supported to identify and anticipate disruptions and respond quickly. A logistics provider can share quality information and data in almost real time, and present a business with options to respond, keeping delivery fast and reliable. In addition, when logistics are integrated, the business’ ability to anticipate and respond to disruptions increases. This can include by varying transport modes, splitting production loads or varying warehousing options.
- Peace of mind and convenience – a trusted integrated logistics partner can oversee the entire process for a business - from transportation, customs management, warehousing, fulfilment and more. The logistics partner can identify areas for improvement and work with the business on appropriate solutions. It can flag any disruptions or challenges and help implement fast, effective resolutions to minimise the impact on end-customers. This frees up a business to focus on their core business and delivering the best possible customer experience.
- More mobility and agility – with integrated logistics businesses have more ability to speed up and slow down as needed. They can choose same-day or next-day delivery for end-customers who need it. Or they can adapt their offering for customers who prioritise sustainability or want more cost-effective delivery. Behind the scenes, businesses can work with their integrated logistics partner to optimise inventory management, ensuring the right stock is in the right place, ready to reach the end-customer when they need it.
- Cost effectiveness – integrated logistics gives businesses end to end visibility of their processes and systems, creating opportunities to optimise operations. This in turn can streamline costs and minimise waste. Transitioning to integrated logistics requires an upfront financial investment, but, over the long term it can allow businesses to offer end-customers more competitive pricing. In the current environment where 46% of consumers told PWC they favour businesses offering better value, giving end-customers the best price possible matters.
Building trust and customer satisfaction with integrated logistics
The importance of customer experience is widely recognised by businesses. A 2021 IBM survey of global CEOs showed 60% consider customer experiences and customer relationships their highest priority. A study for KPMG found that, across multiple sectors, the top 25 leaders in customer services achieved five times the earning growth and seven times the revenue growth as the bottom 25. Even logistics and transport companies are taking note - 80% of them told KPMG they were focussed on making improvements to customer experience.
Integrated logistics can support a business focussed on enhancing its customers’ experience. To achieve this, choosing the right integrated logistics partner matters, and that trust is vital. This partner should work with the business to understand its unique needs and priorities. It will have what it takes to ensure consistent, fast, reliable delivery, and to support the business in offering the personalisation, convenience and simplicity required for the outstanding customer experience they are no longer willing to compromise on.