According to a 2022 report on last-mile delivery from DispatchTrack, 90% of consumers are now looking for “immediate updates and real-time visibility” on their orders. Rather than prioritising speed of delivery, consumers are seeking accuracy and assurances on exactly when their products will arrive.
Given the importance of the last mile in determining brand loyalty and customer satisfaction, this figure is unsurprising. The final leg of the logistics journey is critical. Your customer may have had a positive online shopping experience with you – from browsing to basket to checkout – but any missteps in the delivery service can impact their likelihood to shop with you again. It’s crucial, therefore, that brands put plans in place now to ensure that they can deliver to, and delight their consumers through the busiest periods in the 2023 retail calendar.
Against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty, fuelled by the ongoing energy and cost-of-living crises, consumers are limiting their spending and becoming less loyal to brands. They’re shopping around for the best deals on products, but they’re also looking for the best deals on delivery, in terms of accuracy and reliability.
The race is certainly on for brands operating in the retail, lifestyle and FMCG spaces, but it isn’t just about speed, which is only one small part of the logistics puzzle. Finding a partner that can go the distance is key to delivering a positive last-mile experience for customers. From having the right geographical coverage to the right strategic focus, brands have an opportunity to invest now and reap the rewards in the peak season.
Delivering in the moment of truth
It’s easy to think that once a customer has made a purchase, the hard work is over, and the customer journey is complete. You’ve drawn them in with your product offering, given them an enjoyable shopping experience and converted them into a paying customer. But a lot can happen in the time between a customer purchasing and receiving an item.
According to a 2022 feature in Retail Sector the last mile of the delivery journey is “the most memorable point” in the transaction and the “doorstop moment provides a significant opportunity for retailers to invest in extending their brand experience to the customer”.
The last mile should be thought of as an extension of the customer's shopping experience. This is the leg of the journey that they’ll remember most and which will determine the likelihood of them returning to shop with you again.
Make a lasting impression on your customer, delighting them at the final hurdle through a high-quality experience, accurate delivery timeline and low cost, and the chances of them sharing positive word of mouth, and shopping direct with you again, increases.
Having the right last-mile carrier, delivering the goods in the right quality at the right cost and with the right accuracy is key to enabling brands to deliver on their customer promises – and this is also crucial to developing and operating a successful e-commerce sales strategy.
Balancing speed with social responsibility
While it’s certainly true that consumers are reducing their overall spending in response to the ongoing economic challenges in Europe and around the world, they’re also continuing to demand more from brands in terms of social responsibility.
According to a retail sustainability report from Descartes, only 38% of consumers think that brands are doing a good job of using sustainable delivery practices. Interestingly, though, the same report finds that 54% of consumers would be willing to accept longer lead times for an environmentally friendly delivery service.
Clearly, we're looking at a balancing act. Your last-mile setup needs to provide a cost-effective solution which improves your bottom line. But to attract and retain customers, attention also needs to be paid to the environmental impact of delivery services.
While some big players in the market are focused on a need for speed, you need to ask yourself the question: Is the expectation of speed necessary?
For the environmentally conscious consumer, pick-up and drop-off services are becoming a much more attractive proposition, allowing them to reduce their carbon footprint and still receive their goods on time.
Instead of prioritising speed, your last-mile strategy should instead focus on the quality of the delivery service and how this can maximise customer satisfaction. Delivering with the right accuracy, through the most sustainable methods possible, and allowing for visibility over the product’s journey will help ensure customer retention through the peak season and beyond.
Finding the right partner to help you scale and grow
Through the support of Maersk’s logistics expertise, you can begin to prepare your supply chain for the upcoming peak seasons, ensuring that your global fulfilment and delivery solutions support and enable your e-commerce sales strategies.
By ensuring the supply chain is as seamless, cost-effective and agile as possible, brands stand a better chance of weathering the ongoing storm.
While the storm of economic uncertainty isn’t likely to lift in the short term, you now have the chance to scale and grow your e-commerce capabilities and bring greater agility and resilience to your supply chain with the support of the right partner.
A partnership with Maersk can enable you to harness this agility. With a network of trusted last-mile carriers, your brand can tap into the right inventory management and omnichannel fulfilment solutions, unlocking a robust sales solution that works in tandem with your last-mile logistics strategy.
The economic challenges on the horizon may seem daunting, but they also present an opportunity to get ahead of the competition, prepare for Europe’s upcoming peak retail seasons, delight and retain your customer base, and increase overall customer satisfaction.
To learn more, visit E-Commerce Logistics & Order Fulfilment Services | Maersk
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