Holiday returns may still be flowing in, but now is the perfect time to debrief on how last-mile delivery went in the 2023 peak season, while it’s all still fresh. Analyzing demand and usage of final-mile delivery options such as parcel carriers, pickup in-store and crowdsourced delivery based on both data and personal insights is a great starting point in establishing a plan that helps you maximize the 2024 peak selling season.
Digging into this data reveals what went wrong, what went right and how to lean into customer expectations for the ideal final-mile experience. It’s not just about how well you executed your current operations. It’s also about what demand patterns and changing consumer trends tell you about where customer expectations are heading — whether that’s for later order cut-offs, faster delivery options, more control over the delivery experience or something else. Capgemini found 74% of customers satisfied with delivery intend to increase purchase levels by 12% with their preferred seller, a compelling motivation to make that experience great.
What you’ll need
To prepare for this review, identify all the key stakeholders who can bring metrics and their own insights to the discussion. These might include folks from sales and marketing, supply chain, logistics partners, operations and customer care.
Also gather reports on your key final-mile KPIs, such as order-to-delivery times, cost per delivery and first-time success rates. For your crowdsourced delivery stats, leverage Roadie’s comprehensive dashboard and reporting tools for granular insight into usage.
To get the full picture, you’ll also want to enrich those insights with third-party data about final-mile trends and preferences. That will help create a clearer picture of not only how to improve the current processes, but also enhance and supplement what you currently offer to meet evolving customer expectations.
Use the resources you’ve gathered to consider the following aspects of your 2023 peak season final mile experience:
Delivery demand patterns
Taking a closer look at the particulars of demand — where your customers wanted items delivered and the delivery speed they chose — can be highly valuable. You’re likely seeing more same or next-day demand; the World Economic Forum predicts demand for same-day delivery will grow at 36% a year. Looking at how these demand patterns shifted throughout the season can help you predict how customers will behave next year.
This analysis can suggest how modifying delivery offerings could make for a faster, better and more economical delivery experience. For example, you can save time and money by skipping middle-mile transportation and delivering directly from the distribution center to customers’ homes. Roadie Direct™ gives you the tools necessary to pre-sort, stage and deliver within hours instead of 1-2 days.
Reviewing how well carriers performed is an essential part of post-peak analysis. This includes performance KPIs like time to delivery, cost per delivery and first-time delivery rates, as well as your own performance, such as whether you met your volume guarantees to the parcel carriers.
Take a close look at carrier policies, such as surcharges, cut-off times and dates. These can affect not just overall delivery spend, but also opportunity costs: If customers abandoned their carts based on a mid-December or late-night order cut-off, how much more business could you capture by using different delivery options that provide more flexibility? RSR Research found 56% of retail “winners” see providing shoppers with more fulfillment options as a top opportunity.
Surveys, combined with complaints and feedback from contact center data, are invaluable for learning what customers thought of their fulfillment experience. Going beyond a straightforward thumbs up or down to explore individual components, such as the options offered for different delivery speeds, costs, accuracy of promised delivery dates and the ability to control the delivery day/time, can help shape what next year’s peak season delivery experience should look like.
Internal data can be supplemented with third-party survey data about consumers’ evolving preferences, like what elements of the delivery experience customers will pay more to access. In fact, 75% of consumers say they have previously paid extra for expedited shipping to get their order faster than the free standard shipping speed.
Customers place a high value on visibility into their shipments, from the shopping cart to the doorstep. Further, 88% of consumers say they expect to be provided with an actual estimated delivery date in the cart, and 78% expect to see pricing for expedited shipping before they add to the cart. And half of consumers blame negative delivery experiences on poor communication.
Gather data on how customers interacted with alerts and notifications about their deliveries, as well as any contact they made with contact centers or drivers. This can reveal what they value, as well as opportunities for proactivity. Communications offerings vary widely by channel; are there opportunities to apply lessons from one last-mile delivery mode into another, such as adding new alert event triggers? Addressing these needs can be critical to a great customer experience.
Preparing for the next peak
Bringing these insights and data together with analysis of consumer delivery trends empowers your team to identify gaps, necessary services and how to develop new opportunities for customer satisfaction and increased revenue. Acting now means there is plenty of time to get plans in place for an even better peak season in the year to come.