The expectations of today’s consumer are higher than ever, according to Customer Experience Insight (customers want more), and not everyone wants the same thing. The remarkable speed and dexterity of technology-driven logistics and customer communications have fostered a new world of customer demand, they say.
Last mile delivery: customers expect options
This idea definitely applies to last mile delivery services. To succeed, it’s useful to throw any “one-size-fits-all” delivery models out the window and consider this:
Even for the same product, different customers may want different delivery service levels. On top of that, not every product you sell is the same. Your range of product offerings may dictate a range of last mile delivery service options, too.
Misalignment of last mile delivery options with customers’ expectations can lead to poor delivery experiences that give your customers a megaphone—leading to negative online reviews, not to mention erosion of your customer base.
It’s all about choice. Choice puts your customers in control—and makes them happy, loyal shoppers. Choice elevates your brand. That’s why it’s critical to offer multiple service levels for last mile delivery.
Understanding last mile delivery options
Customer preference and the demands of the product can influence a choice of home delivery options, which include:
- Curbside Delivery - Delivering the product to the first dry area outside of the delivery location
- Threshold Delivery - Delivering the product over the threshold and inside the delivery location
- Room of Choice Delivery - Delivering the product inside the delivery location and placing it in the customer's room of choice
- White Glove Delivery - Room of choice home delivery, including unpacking, set-up or assembly and trash removal
- White Glove Premium Delivery - White glove, including product prep and blanket wrapping for furniture
White glove delivery on the rise
At FIDELITONE, we see rising numbers of consumers seeking white glove delivery for big and bulky items they purchase. It’s a complete home delivery experience. Cerasis says that “systems and platforms used to manage last mile delivery must include add-ons and features for specialized delivery, or white glove service,” noting that 17% of the ecommerce market for furniture and appliances now involves white glove service and home delivery.
Home delivery service: How is the delivery experience?
No surprise—customer loyalty is all about the home delivery experience. Data from eDelivery tell us that 38% of consumers will cease to purchase from you following a negative delivery experience. So ask yourself these questions up front:
- Are you currently offering a broad menu of delivery service levels to your customers?
- Are your customers consistently receiving the delivery experience you promised, across every service level?
To survive and thrive in today's retail environment, the mantra is: Every last mile delivery experience should be nothing short of exceptional at every service level.
Think about predictability and transparency. In every segment of the last mile delivery service model, you should know exactly what experience your customers will have when their items are being delivered. You want to ensure that you are delivering on the promise. This means that two different customers who order the same item should enjoy an identical delivery experience.
Last mile delivery options + exceptional experiences - a competitive advantage
Does your last mile delivery model leverage the two silver bullets? If you can hit both marks, you’ve now earned a competitive advantage. There are more ways to gain a competitive advantage in last mile home delivery, too. For insights into tweaking the customer experience, visit the blog on Customer Expectations for Home Delivery Service and How to Exceed Them.
Is your business ready to expand delivery service level options?
Delivery options sound great, and no one will argue that options and service represent the cornerstones of business performance and growth. But many retail executives wonder about how to build the systems to support them, while balancing cost and service. Here's one tip:
Avoid having to manage too many last mile delivery partners
You might be tempted to limp through delivery challenges by using multiple delivery partners - each with a unique specialty. The problems come in when you realize you are:
- Juggling differing and/or conflicting operational processes that fracture the customer experience
- Managing multiple contracts or account teams
- Investing in multiple and costly systems integrations and reporting portals
- Discovering you have inconsistent (or non-existent) KPIs
Home delivery: Put up the top batter who can do it all
Have you considered partnering with an experienced last mile delivery provider who can deliver a robust, single-source solution? The right-fit partner who can seamlessly support multiple delivery service levels wins the game for you with:
- Predictable, consistent customer experiences, leading to customer retention, customer loyalty, positive customer reviews, and rising sales.
- The versatility to offer a wide variety of products (SKUs). Keep in mind that a customer who purchases dining room chairs may simply need the chairs brought into the home, while a customer who purchases a new bedroom set may need delivery to the bedroom and assemble and set-up. If you can't satisfy the growing demand for white glove delivery service, your product line may be limited.
- The ability to offer customers choice. Remember, everything begins with the customers' expectations. You're simply staying ahead of your competitors.
- A foundation for growth. Nimble is the name of the game. Thus, even if you don't immediately tap into the full range of options your last mile delivery partner can offer, now you have the ability to respond to market changes on the fly, offering additional service levels if you choose to. You don't have to worry about finding additional delivery providers just because you need to fold in white glove delivery, for example.
- Savings in time and money. Look to your last mile delivery partner to apply technologies, hone best practices, and achieve efficiencies throughout the system.
Last mile delivery may bring more challenges, but there are also solutions to these challenges. Want more insights? See the blog post, Last Mile Logistics Problems and How to Solve Them Once and for All.
What's your last mile delivery solution?
If your customers aren't giving you high-fives on every delivery, or your systems are suffering with a piecemeal last mile delivery roster, or you're not offering your customers a full range of delivery service levels, perhaps now is the time to regroup.
Your business and brand could depend on it. For more information on last mile delivery check out our last mile delivery services or give us a call at 866.787.6356.