Today’s consumer doing business with retailers wants it all—snappy speed and transparent touch-points from the moment of placing an order to the joy of receiving it. Think with Google explains this trend in its CES Report, saying, “Today’s consumer can get whatever she wants, whenever she wants it.” And the good news is: turnkey last mile technology is up to the task.
Technology essential to last mile success
Technology is playing an essential role in two arenas:
- Externally - providing a seamless and wholly satisfying customer experience
- Internally - improving the overall delivery operation
Does the 3PL Technology Gap Affect You
JOC.com recently reported that there is a definite technology gap appearing in the logistics industry. Traditional 3PLs who lack leading-edge technology tools and platforms, they say, are falling behind.
Keeping ahead of the curve is not just about stronger performance; it's about survival. Here's advice from American businessman Mark Cuban: "Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you."
Technology impacts last mile delivery in many ways, even shortening the last mile cycle time.
Technology in last mile customer communications
Technology that can track critical delivery information in real time is an absolute must-have for success in last mile delivery. After placing an order, customers want to continue hearing from you with delivery status updates. Because every customer is different, the best-fit solution provides flexible communications options: text, email, or phone.
Understand, too, that communications are only as good as the quality of real-time data. Here's where the value of a robust delivery management system comes into play. It's the brains of the last mile delivery operation - capturing, storing, and managing delivery and customer information.
Mobile technology for last mile
When delivery teams are on their home delivery routes, you must have clear visibility for the entire journey - from warehouse to customers' homes. Connect your delivery management system to customers through a mobile application that collects crucial data in real time and stays in touch with customers.
For example, when did the delivery team begin their route to a customer's home? When did they arrive at the customer's location? Did they notify the customer when they were on their way? Did they contact the customer when they were going to arrive? Visibility into this information not only ensures your customers are receiving the experience you promised, it also allows you to hold your last mile delivery teams accountable to established KPIs and SLAs.
Data captures for home delivery
There is information that needs to be captured during a home delivery. Information such as proof of delivery (POD), delivery site and product pictures, delivery notes, customer signatures, and customer feedback should all be required when making a home delivery. How is this information being captured? Do you capture it all in one place? Are you still capturing it manually via paperwork and waiting for delivery teams to return to the warehouse to get critical delivery information? Is delivery paperwork being misplaced? Having a mobile application that can not only capture all of this information while on site, but can also send this information to the delivery management system and be available for you to view via a tool like an online portal is also a must-have for successful last mile delivery.
Home delivery: allowing customers to choose
Convenience is king in today's world. Author A.T. Kearney explains in the 28th Annual State of Logistics Report, "Changing consumer trends and innovations catalyzed by today's nascent technology are shaping the next-generation supply chain. Customers will expect immediacy, personalization, and convenience; new technologies and advanced analytics will be the enablers."
There's an old saying: Meet people where they are. Are you using technology that allows you to do this in better ways? Ask yourself:
- Can your customers schedule a delivery for a time that's most convenient for them?
- Can your customers make that choice at the point of purchase?
Providing this level of service to your customer can set you apart from your competitors and secure the customer loyalty that's a hallmark of continued growth.
Seamless technology for last mile success
Last mile delivery is a daisy chain of components - and technologies. And technologies are only successful when they are fully integrated, meeting your goal of a seamless, robust last mile delivery operation. If you entrust your last mile delivery operation to a third party delivery provider, look for the flexibility to integrate your systems with theirs. Look for fluid, real-time visibility into all the data that drives your business.
As your business grows, you need nimble technology that can adapt to your changing needs. Processes improve, requirements vary, and new products or services create new demands. Thus, you need to know that you will be able to send and share data with your delivery provider in multiple modalities and formats, with expediency. A provider who's already demonstrated connectivity with a range of technologies can give you an advantage.
Last mile technology
Everyone agrees: technology is transforming last mile delivery, and the customer is in the driver's seat. Retailers who don't lead with advanced last mile technology tools are positioned to fall by the wayside.
To get a closer look at how integrated last mile technologies can transform your business, watch our brief video.
How well are you leveraging integrated last mile delivery technologies? Are you earning customer loyalty? We'd like to hear. Give us a call at 800.475.0917 or contact us online.