by Will Irvine, Business Development Associate
Last week I browsed the Shopify Future of Commerce report and came across some interesting stats and suggestions on e-commerce and logistics trends for the coming year that are worth highlighting:
- People will have higher expectations when buying online. This is understandable considering for nearly 2 years they have been shopping almost entirely online. Those offering a speedy courier or delivery service have flourished. In an increasingly digital environment, same-day or next-day delivery isn’t just a nice-to-offer, it’s a necessity.
- Nearly 60% of consumers say that flexible, speedy delivery options are paramount to them. At the same time, only 33% of brands are prioritising this part of their supply chain.
- Customers are becoming more concerned with supply chain transparency due to increased competition in the third-party logistics market. This isn’t just about speed: “nearly half of customers chose to buy from brands that have a clear commitment to sustainability”. Greenwashing won’t cut it either, consumers are looking for eco-delivery where possible and will actively be choosing to shop from retailers that offer more sustainable delivery options. Good news for eco-couriers and bike hauliers looking to win new business in 2022!
The key takeaway here is that the vast majority of consumers expect their parcels to be delivered in a timely manner, but also to have flexibility about when and where they receive those parcels. Some companies are turning brick and mortar stores into local fulfilment centres to match this demand and offer drop-off and/or pick-up points for customers. It’s summarised by this quote from the report: “Businesses who don’t meet customer expectations are about to be left behind”.
How can e-commerce and logistics companies improve to meet their customers’ high expectations?
Shopify suggested last-mile deliveries as an area for improvement, highlighting global giants like Ikea, Walmart and UPS who have done some serious work in this area of late.
The increase in demand for same-day delivery services has led to an increase in the number of places customers want orders delivered to. Therefore, it’s important that e-commerce and logistics providers give customers the ability to pick precise and flexible delivery locations. This might be food delivered to a park for a picnic, a clothes order dropped off at their office, an item couriered to a client’s office ahead of a pitch, change the drop-off location of a parcel in-flight, or even have their parcel parachuted to them.
In addition to the above, the last mile delivery continues to be an issue for big on-demand logistics companies. They call it the “doorstop issue”. I think it’s commonplace for most of us to expect a call from our courier with questions like “I think I’m here, what door are you”? “My sat-nav says I’ve arrived, but I’m not sure…” Or “where is the entrance to your flat”? To reduce the reliance on drivers calling for additional directions and increase customer experience, e-commerce and logistics companies need to give customers a way to pinpoint their precise delivery location.
How what3words can help
To help combat these issues, companies like Oddbox, Karrimor SS, Manilife, specific Domino’s stores; and couriers like Hermes, Aramex Shop & Ship, and BJS have all begun accepting what3words addresses from their customers. In addition, the investment arm of Ingka Group, owner and operator of IKEA, invested in what3words’ innovative addressing technology last year.
In cities, this allows customers to specify the correct doorway to the entrance of their apartment, the docking location of their houseboat, direct delivery drivers to the right side of the street or even get their snacks delivered to the middle of a park on a sunny evening. In rural areas, where postcodes cover large areas and signal can be poor, it allows customers to direct the driver to their front door without having to have an intermittently-dropping phone call.
As well as helping couriers and retailers to meet their customers’ efficiency expectations, what3words plays a part in improving the sustainability of supply chains. Improving the last-mile of delivery means less time per delivery, less engines left on while calling customers to find their homes and fewer failed and subsequent re-deliveries.