Simple, reliable delivery solutions with face-to-face service is the key to success
In a rapidly evolving market, delivery has become a competitive parameter. Meeting customer demands and expectations is crucial for success and in order to do so, businesses have to combine simple, reliable delivery solutions with friendly face-to-face service from carriers at delivery and keep up pace with the ever-evolving market. Get further insights into how to keep up with customer demands here.
The latest developments in logistics, transport and technology was presented at Nordic Deliver Conference 2017, including inner city distribution, tracking technologies and sustainable transportation. However, a central topic of the conference was taking a customer-centric approach to business in general and to delivery management specifically. This was also a hot topic in the conference’s panel debate, in which experts from the industry discussed the largest challenges in delivery today.
Head of Development & Logistics at COOP.dk, Palle Esbensen initiated the debate by stating that suppliers and carriers have trouble keeping up the pace and meeting customer requirements in the current fast-moving market.
James Doyle, Clothing & Home Logistics Manager, Marks & Spencer, backed Esbensen up and underlined the fact that business have to make sure that they are really listening to their customers and understanding them as they evolve: “There is this disconnect between what the customers want, what they actually need and what we can deliver to them. I suppose that the challenge is to put those three components together and find that bit in the middle. That’s the big challenge and that’s where success lies.”
Your carrier is your brand
The panelists suggested working closely together with carriers, operationally as well as strategically, using delivery data, customer feedback and information from social media to gain insights and thus building a distribution network with the customers’ needs in mind.
James Doyle further emphasized the importance of working closely together with carriers, as they are a crucial part of the customer’s shopping experience and the brand of the business. He believes that the last three feet of delivery can make or break a customer experience. Andreas Thimour of Zimply Solved added: “[you have to make] sure that the customer feeling you have in your business is planted into the delivery man as well. He is the one facing the customer, coming home to the customer. He needs to be the brand, the look and feel.”
And how do you make your carrier a part of your brand you might ask? Simply by being nice to them, James Doyle suggested, and through that making them want to be a part of your brand. He stated: “How do we get the carriers to care? We have to accept that they are customers and care back.”
As the carrier is the direct link to the customers, it pays off to cultivate the relationship with your carrier, rather than just seeing them as a supplier. In addition, Thimour suggests offering carriers brand training, exactly the same way as one would do with internal employees, as a very concrete means of involving the carriers in your brand.
The customer does not always know what they want
While it is important to listen to the customers, they do not always know what they want. Anton Hagberg of the Nordic online marketplace Komplett Group underlined this fact by explaining that customers often say they want same day express delivery, but when it comes down to reality, are less willing to pay for this and happy with longer delivery. But, only if the business lives up to their own promise.
Hence reliability is key. The fact that shoppers do not always know what they want is also true, when it comes to delivery options. Shoppers often demand a large selection of delivery options, but in practice their shopping experience becomes more seamless, if they are presented with a few options, as long as these fulfill their needs and are relevant to them.
Esbensen states “I do believe you need to offer different kinds of [delivery] services […] however, you need to make the recommendation right to the customer.” He uses a restaurant with a menu with too many options to choose from as an example and suggest only displaying delivery options relevant for that specific customer to make the choice easy for them. This can be done based on previous purchases, customer profiling, demography or a combination of these. By offering the customer what they actually want, rather than what they demand, the shopping and delivery experience becomes seamless and more smooth.
In conclusion, Anton Hagberg ads a few reassuring words and says that even though there are currently challenges in the delivery management industry, “you are doing well and moving fast, keep on going!”. He also encourages retailers to engage in development projects in cooperation with their carriers.
It all boils down to three simple sets of advice: Listen to your customer, be kind to the people that are working for your customer and make it simple for you customer.