There are two things that retailers require to provide a customer-centric delivery experience. They are:
- Increasing convenient deliveries at a quicker pace
- Enhancing operational efficiency to cover business costs
A Gap in Fulfilling Delivery Expectations
48% of customers stop purchasing from poor-performing retailers.- Capgemini study, Last-mile delivery 2019.
There is a massive gap between the delivery expectations of customers and the delivery experiences they get. The above study shows that retailers should place more emphasis on optimizing their delivery offerings.
In 2022, retailers will have to ensure seamless deliveries at any customer touchpoint, be it stores, brand websites, or e-commerce marketplaces.
Making the Best use of Retail Locations
Today, customers demand quicker deliveries from retailers. Utilizing retail locations as e-commerce fulfillment centers is a cost-effective way to provide faster deliveries at better rates.
Making use of Technology for the Exceptional Delivery Experience
The biggest challenge for retail businesses is to create a seamless supply chain. Retailers should focus on optimizing and automating delivery processes through their delivery operations.
Utilizing the right technologies helps retailers provide a unique customer experience that strengthens their brand and improves customer retention. The delivery experience that retailers offer depends on two aspects:
- Utilizing automation and optimization software to make retail deliveries cost-effective
- Real-time data to make informed decisions on delivery operations
Hyperlocal Delivery Models on the Rise
Retail outlets will look to widen their market reach through hyperlocal delivery models. More and more retail shops are now building hyperlocal delivery models or partnering with hyperlocal delivery platforms to make their merchandise available to customer doorsteps.
Retail Outlets Functioning as Ghost Store
In a severe case like a disaster, pandemic, or viral flu, shops cannot function, but people would still want a regular flow of essential goods. The ghost store or dark store concept will be more applicable during such extraordinary circumstances.
Even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, retail businesses will be looking to maintain a separate ghost store near their physical stores to fulfill online orders simultaneously. This arrangement of a cloud store setup makes retail outlets flexible enough to manage foot traffic as well as the online customers.
Omnichannel Customer Experience
Today, customers want a seamless shopping experience across all communication channels. They want to shop online, pick them up in the store, and provide feedback through phone calls. Managing this omnichannel retail setup requires the tech support of solutions like parcel sorting software.
This parcel sorting software helps retail outlets manage online and in-store stock effectively and avoids piling up of stocks.
Retail shops should focus on providing delivery experiences that will help in customer retention. Technologies available today help them build efficient and profitable deliveries across all of their fulfillment channels.
Retail businesses in 2022 will start experimenting with innovative tech to optimize their delivery strategies. When the entire logistics industry is grappling with the driver shortage, robots, drones, and autonomous delivery vehicles are attractive options. There are shortcomings like stair climbing, elevator riding, and finding a safe place to leave the package that they need to work out simultaneously to make these options realistic at scale.
Direct Control Over the Last-Mile Operations
The emergence of new modes of delivery like drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, sidewalks, etc. has brought many changes in retail operations. Retailers want more direct control over the last-mile deliveries and they are looking to bring deliveries in-house and work with third-party logistics providers when they really make sense.
Partnerships to Expand their Physical Footprint
In order to appeal to existing and new customers and increase business agility, retail businesses will increase their partnerships. Many retailers will partner with Direct-to-Consumer brands to establish and expand their market presence. This would help them to reduce the store operations and build a rapport with newfound customers.
Seamless Returns: The New Service Differentiator
The recent boom in online shopping has conveyed to businesses that customers fear buying online if there is no smooth returns process. Retail businesses in 2022 will be looking to invest in the quality of returns (refund issuance, internal returns processing, locations, streamlined replacement processes). With seamless returns processes and internal sharing of returns data, retailers can present products to avoid returns in the first place.
With driver shortages, sales peaks, supply chain congestion currently testing retail businesses, 2022 is going to be a year to rebuild themselves. They will be looking to own important touchpoints with their customers and will be eager to take direct control over the final mile delivery.
Elsa is a senior content specialist and editor at Locus. She writes about logistics, supply chain, and SaaS technology. She loves to read books, take long walks and cook in her free time