If you are a retail company that delivers items to your customers via mail, either from items purchased in-store or via an ecommerce website, it is crucial that you have a full understanding of the implications and costs of shipping, as well as the processes and protocols to ensure customers are happy and that all regulations are being adhered to. Last mile shipping continues to change along with the trends of consumer expectations, and the cost of last mile deliveries has become a challenge too far for many in the retail sector. With the correct support from retail audit specialists you can work out in great detail the strategy to employ should you offer a customer delivery service.
The change in delivery expectations has changed dramatically in the space of a few short years. If you think back to how you would go about buying a new bed just 10-15 years ago and you can see the difference immediately. Back then you would have to take the time to physically visit the store of your choice, go around trying out different beds, speaking to the staff and asking advice, then placing an order (maybe pay a deposit on the day or agree to a payment plan), choose a delivery date that could be weeks away, and then take the day off work to receive that delivery.
Now, think about what you would do today to buy the same item? You might have still taken the time to go in-store to try out some beds, but it is easy enough to visit the company website of your choice, place a delivery online, either from your laptop at home or even your phone as you go about your daily life. Input some payment details, and choose a delivery date and time that suits you. Most people now expect delivery of even big-ticket items for the home within a few days (3-5 working days at most!).
In order to stay ahead of the competition retailers are now faced with providing fast and sometimes free delivery (an option for those spending above a certain limit in some cases). To achieve this successfully it is vital that you have inventory at different depots across the country ideally, with a fast delivery speed a necessity for a high consumer satisfaction level.
The delivery companies used must have a reputation of trustworthiness, known for quality of handling, good customer service skills, and a professional touch that fits in with your company brand and reputation. A bad delivery service reflects badly on your company, and you could lose customers through a poor choice of delivery partner. Reliability and customer satisfaction are so important in maintaining high profitability in a challenging landscape with many competitors. Ensure that your company has the correct data and information to make the most informed decisions possible. Through clever retail audits you can look at many different facets of your organisation, including the delivery process, and ensure that high standards are met on a consistent basis and consumer expectations are exceeded.