Thinking Beyond Home Delivery – Inbound Logistics

Tags: Supply Chain Management, E-commerce, Logistics, Supply Chain

Consumer expectations are becoming increasingly demanding, and matching supply to demand is crucial for any successful supply chain. Speed is where it’s at—if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. As consumers become increasingly savvy online, companies are quickly learning the importance of being at the forefront of change. Providing consumers with all the information up front, including delivery costs, duty costs and delivery dates (rather than service level) can equate to lower abandonment rates, higher sales, and success in the retail landscape.

How to evolve with e-commerce

Understanding what the consumer wants may just make or break your sale. Consumers want choice. Choice empowers.

“40% of shoppers are willing to pay for next day delivery and 22% would pay for delivery within a two-hour slot.” (Survey by Trimble, referenced by Econsultancy)

In analyzing the buying trends of the evolving consumer, retailers have found incredible importance in the offering of convenience. Consumers want options that are built around their lifestyle, therefore, providing more information increases awareness and portrays flexibility. Retailers looking to understand what the consumer wants may discover the hard truth that they need to upgrade their logistics offering but, that shift in focus will likely lead to a more positive consumer outlook. And, if the perfect solution doesn’t exist, call a team meeting to brainstorm and see if you can create one!

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have online scheduling?

    Online scheduling provides maximum convenience. The ability to schedule delivery appointments online lets the consumer decide what date and time is best for them.

  2. Do you have order visibility?

    Along with the notion of convenience, consumers are anxious to know when to expect their delivery. Offering full visibility from origin to destination allows the supplier to communicate with the consumer on where their package is and when they can expect it.

  3. What service levels are you offering your customers?

    Having predetermined service levels such as White Glove, Room of Choice, Threshold and Standard provide the consumer with a baseline of choices. The choice is there for them to decide. Whether they need the service due to personal restrictions, for convenience, or if they simply want to do it on their own; they decide.

  4. Will you take it to the next level?

    Are you willing to think ‘out of the box’ to create a specialized level of delivery allowing such options as doorstep delivery of heavyweight/bulky items, or partnering with an airline to transform ground home delivery into an airfreight solution?

Although the initial process may be cumbersome and daunting, the extra efforts of creating a customized solution can prove extremely beneficial for both immediate and future needs. If your technology can adapt, and your team can manage, a customized solution can offer a reduction in claims, increased efficiency and improved time in transit. Feedback from Sales, Operations and Customer Service, along with the formation of small committees and or ‘secret shoppers’ provide insight into the buying experience, as well as, some of the positives and negatives a consumer may face. The teamwork and dependability needed to take these extra steps in the supply chain will showcase you not only as a 3PL, but most importantly, as a partner.