The conversations regarding navigating through this ongoing pandemic are changing as nations across the globe relax lockdown restrictions. From only focusing on delivering essentials to a customer’s doorstep, we are now graduating to a different reality. A reality where ensuring business sustenance and molding regular delivery operations to satisfy changing customer demands is becoming critical.
Customer spending has shifted. Digital channels have become the preferred mode of buying both essential and non-essential items. Companies who were previously reliant on traditional methods of reaching out to their customers are now looking for new ways to promote their products and services. Similarly, last-mile service providers, retailers, and eCommerce brands are rapidly increasing their market share and logistics capabilities. As customers become more reliant on home deliveries, future service expectations will change drastically. Penning down some of my thoughts on how to win over these evolving customer needs.
What Do These Changes Mean?
Enterprises must understand that now “service” is rapidly becoming a ‘product purchase’ reason. In other words, how a consumer selects a product depends on how that product will be delivered and how the after-sales is going to be. To understand how a customer wants his/her product or order to be delivered, brands need to focus more on customer engagement & personalization. Hence, to deliver on specific customer needs, tight integration between the shipper, logistics providers, and aggregators is needed.
Also, it’s important for businesses to define a moonshot with regards to implementing new and modern technologies. Enterprises should determine how they want to serve their customers and based on that deploy tools that will help them achieve their objectives. With B2B businesses it’s important to focus on customer success and OTIF models among others. In the case of B2C businesses, one needs to focus on aspects that improve the delivery experience for both customers and shippers, boost delivery profitability, drive same-day deliveries, enhance customer transparency, and more.
Enterprises need to have absolute clarity on what they will gain by rolling out new technologies. For instance, if one deploys real-time route optimization technologies, one must be certain about the benefits it will bring in both at an organizational and customer levels. The same goes for tools and technologies that drive contactless deliveries. Once the impact is clear, businesses must then focus on scaling their new deployments. Working with the right logistics partner is crucial here as a patchwork of disparate solutions will not be helpful in the long run.
Let’s Not Forget Carbon Footprints
Lockdowns triggered by the pandemic has also highlighted the need to keep a check on carbon emissions. We cannot deny that reduced transportation activities across the world had a positive impact on our natural environment.
An international study published in the UK-based journal National Climate Change showed that the world experienced a sharp decline in carbon emissions (17%) between January and April, compared to average levels in 2019, and could decline anywhere between 4.4% to 8% by the end of this year. Such a drop was last observed 14-years ago. It took a pandemic to drastically slash carbon levels in the environment and this change is not something customers will easily bypass. Hence, going forward keeping a check on carbon footprint will become more important.
So, while we talk about handling spikes in online deliveries, it will be equally important for logistics providers to optimize the movement of fleet and fuel consumption. A few years from now, maybe even lesser, it will not be surprising to witness customers favouring brands that offer eco-friendly deliveries.
I have covered just the tip of the iceberg in this article. To know how savvy enterprises are actually shifting their focus from just understanding the significance of new buzzwords like contactless deliveries, crowdsourcing, crisis management, disaster recovery teams, dark stores, and others, to implementing them in their regular supply chain operations, I will be talking to Poi Hierro, Group Head and Director of Technology, Entrego, on our upcoming webinar.
We will be speaking at length on how retailers and eCommerce brands can embrace the new normal, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and drive growth amidst these unprecedented times. You can register for the webinar here.