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How can you own the last mile delivery experience, if you don’t make the last mile delivery?

Everyone has been the victim of poor home delivery at one time or another, so we all know how it feels and how it affects our relationship with a retailer. Whether an order has been thrown over a fence (or thrown onto the roof in one well-publicised instance); left in a totally inappropriate “safe place”; damaged; or simply not arrived when promised, consumers do not forget this type of experience, and are not shy to mention it to their friends and family.

Every purchase made online is hard-won. Even after attracting a consumer to a retail website, it is necessary to encourage them to convert at every click of their shopping journey right through to the delivery options. In fact, a recent survey from OC & C Strategy Consultants* suggests that six in ten shoppers abandon baskets online because of issues relating to the last mile. Given the investment that has been made in getting the customer to the point of purchase, it is vital that the delivery process runs smoothly and is hassle-free.

Any delivery service – whether to home, store or pick-up location – has now become a clear point of differentiation, so a positive brand experience is needed at every step of the delivery lifecycle. The entire supply chain must reflect the image of the retailer and always be an extension of the business, irrespective of who is making the last mile delivery. If a retailer is using its own fleet, it has a degree of control over the customer experience, but this is not always the case when using a third-party logistics carrier. Consider who the consumer associates with a bad delivery experience – is it the carrier or retailer’s reputation at risk?

Retailers need to regain the visibility and control of their supply chains in order to provide the necessary levels of choice, convenience and certainty that are required by shoppers. In some instances, retailers are now taking the decision to move some aspects of the supply chain operation back in-house in order to achieve a consistent brand experience from point of sale to final delivery or collection. However, this is not always possible, especially when a retail operation covers a wide and diverse range of products, so requires a number of different delivery options.

In most cases retailers have to work with one or more carriers that are under pressure to not only keep delivery costs to a minimum, but also meet strict service requirements and possess the ability to scale up during peak trading periods. Without the necessary visibility and control across the entire delivery process these objectives are almost impossible to achieve. Therefore, it becomes essential to share information throughout the supply chain, where possible using common or complementary technology systems.

The latest omnichannel fulfilment and delivery software solutions offer an effective way of managing both in-house and third-party resources by bringing together and integrating all aspects of the order and delivery lifecycle. These systems are designed to make decisions based on product requirements and service levels, factoring in capacity constraints, cost restrictions and sub-contractor relationships.

With this added control it is possible to allocate the most appropriate resource to meet the needs of the consumer, while achieving the necessary levels of efficiency. Meanwhile, by effectively sharing information where required between the retailer, suppliers, carriers and consumers it is possible to achieve a clear, consistent and complete service that ensures the last mile delivery experience is a good one.

Paragon’s omnichannel fulfilment system, Paragon HDX, offers a modular system that can scale with your requirements. Get in touch with us to find out more, or alternatively we arrange for you to visit us at our Technology Centre to see Paragon HDX in action.

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