Even when data is available, information is often inconsistent, making it nearly impossible for supply chain leaders to recognize and triage problems for rapid resolution.

A retailer’s ability to deliver an online order quickly and without any hiccups can have long-lasting implications. 98% of online shoppers said shipping has an impact on their brand loyalty and 83% are not likely to shop with a merchant again after a poor delivery experience, according to a recent study by delivery experience management company Convey.

In an era in which it is increasingly difficult for retailers to retain customers, retailers need to monitor and optimize each aspect of their operations to avoid potential issues, says Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Convey’s chief marketing officer. “The last mile—when orders move from the transportation hub to final destination—has become a key battleground,” she says. “Brands cannot afford to leave delivery experiences to chance.”

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp

Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, vice president and chief marketing officer, Convey

Meanwhile, retailers must proactively ensure consumers get their orders how and when they are expected. That means taking action to correct issues and regularly communicating to uphold brand promises. “A lack of visibility can be a big problem,” Newbold-Knipp says.

Lack of visibility

John DeVierno, head of community happiness at natural products retailer Grove Collaborative, which is a Convey client, says that prior to working with Convey, that lack of visibility impacted his team. “We noticed that our shipping carriers didn’t always do the best job of letting us know when a shipment was damaged, and different carriers send notifications in different ways,” he says. “Sometimes they’d just batch a hundred different exceptions together in one email. And sometimes they would send a hundred different emails, one for each individual exception. They’d send these alerts to different work emails, so it was hard to know who was responsible for following up. Many times, they wouldn’t alert us at all.”

advertisement

Even when data is available, information is often inconsistent, making it nearly impossible for supply chain leaders to recognize and triage problems for rapid resolution.

Increasing shipping costs and complex carrier networks can also create challenges. “Using more carriers and modes of transportation means the complexity increases,” Newbold-Knipp says. “The ability to understand what is going in the network and to define the root causes that can be resolved becomes much more challenging.”

Tailored delivery

A great experience doesn’t always require fast and free delivery, Newbold-Knipp says. “What customers really want is delivery tailored to their needs,” she says. “That means retailers should offer self-service options, visibility into where and how a delivery will arrive, and friendly, rapid resolution if an issue occurs.”

Convey’s Delivery Experience Management (DEM) platform helps retailers provide satisfying delivery experiences for customers. “It offers access to all the data needed so stakeholders—logistics professionals, carriers and customers—know exactly where an order is at any given time,” Newbold-Knipp says.

DEM also gives retailers insights into their customers’ delivery experiences and allows them to take quick action to rectify problems. “Retailers need to know the location or carrier causing the most damages or delays, which orders have incorrect addresses, and which have stalled and are at risk of missing their promise dates,” she says. “Having access to the insights lets retailers quickly and easily improve outcomes for both customers and the brand.”

advertisement

Neiman Marcus recently implemented Convey’s DEM to improve the delivery experience for large items. Since implementing the system, the department store retailer has reduced its delivery time by 24%.

“The last mile is a critical element in retail success with an outsized impact on lifetime value and margins. Inaction means lost revenue from bad customer experiences,” Newbold-Knipp says. “Tracking packages is not enough. Leaving it up to carriers is not enough. To thrive in this competitive era, retailers must take a proactive stance to manage delivery experiences.”

Favorite