The e-commerce market continues to see significant growth as more and more people are taking to the convenience of making purchases online. E-commerce sales worldwide were at $4.9 trillion, and it is projected to grow to $7.5 trillion by 2025.
The holiday season presents a great growth opportunity for e-commerce companies. If done right, it has the potential to make some of the largest contributions to revenues in a year.
However, customer satisfaction, one of the strongest drivers of success, is now more elusive than ever. Customers are more particular than ever before over not only how and when they receive their product, but also the quality of the overall post-purchase experience. A consumer survey also suggests that customers have ended up cancelling or abandoning their purchases because the delivery was too slow or the waiting time was too long.
Providing complete transparency over the status of their order, right from click to delivery has also become the norm for a fulfilling customer experience.
Adding to the last-mile problem is the exponential rise in demand after the festive season sale, making on-time delivery a much more difficult task. It is no wonder that according to FedEx, 95% of last-mile are made by either logistics providers such as itself UPS or the United States Postal Service.
Challenges last-mile fulfilment during the holiday season
E-commerce companies would be expected to fulfil millions of orders every day in the last mile. And while suitable solutions exist for accepting an order, fulfilling them has its own set of challenges, which include:
- The unexpected delay in deliveries: Which could be caused by factors out of our control or vehicle breakdown, traffic jams, inclement weather and sudden bottlenecks from accidents.
- High shipment costs: Last-mile logistics fulfilment is one of the most expensive. A study shows that it accounts for 53% of overall shipment expenses.
- Inadequate route planning: Poorly planned routes contribute to delays as they increase the number of empty miles driven, and do not account for many real-life constraints that must be factored like road closures. This is why route planning software is quite in demand.
- Unavailability of live tracking: This leaves the end customer in the dark on the status of shipment. This could turn into a frustrating experience in the event of a delay. And in today’s times, an unhappy customer is as good as a lost customer.
- Poor capacity planning: When the demand for vehicles and drivers during the peak season does not match supply, it could lead to steeper outsourcing costs. In the event when supply itself is lacking despite the willingness to pay high prices, it could mean disappointing customers through delayed deliveries.
Acing your holiday season with cutting-edge technology
In the highly competitive world of e-commerce, as the volume of orders increases, providing a memorable delivery experience alongside timely deliveries becomes crucial. Technology solutions, like Locus’ real-world ready dispatch management platform, have the ability to optimally carry out end-to-end fulfilment of last-mile operations by:
- Optimizing order fulfilment capabilities through automation: Order management features allow for order capture, and allocation and even automate the reassignment for returns and failed deliveries. It also lets the end customer choose the ideal time slot for delivery, hence increasing the rate of first-attempt deliveries. It also manages the influx of orders and allocates them to the fleet in the most efficient way. Order management also has the ability to club together different numerous orders that fall under one particular area thereby reducing fuel consumption.
- Scaling up capacity to meet the staggering demand: When capacity is needed to be expanded to effectively deliver a huge shipment of orders, it can be a tough call to quickly decide on a reliable third-party logistics partner at reasonable rates. Carrier management solutions automatically assign orders to trustworthy third-party logistics service providers based on location, service level agreements, priority, and cost.
- Optimizing the delivery routes for each driver: Route planning features use advanced algorithms to come up with the most efficient route for drivers. They learn from millions of deliveries made in the past to make each delivery more efficient than the last. It also accounts for 180+ real-life constraints to create routes that help save time, and reduce fuel costs by cutting down on empty miles driven. In this way, it also empowers drivers to make more deliveries in a single shift.
- Providing end-to-end visibility to customers: Tracking pages provide the end-customer with a live tracking ID and send them alerts if the delivery has been delayed so that they are well informed. These pages can also offer seamless communication channels between the customer and the driver or customer support teams for any concerns and valuable feedback that might improve their overall experience.
- Discovering deep inefficiencies: Strong analytics engines can analyze billions of data points to uncover hidden inefficiencies or even new avenues to grow. Businesses then use these insights to further tweak their operations to achieve efficiencies at scale.
The holiday season is a great opportunity to grow, but it comes with many challenges, mainly difficulty in satisfying the customer’s expectations that seem to be growing steeper with time.
In such a context, manual processes alone are not enough to meet the demand properly. A seamless dispatch management process effectively empowers e-commerce businesses to bring delight to the post-purchase consumer experience through optimized route planning, automation of key functions like order and carrier management, keeping the end-consumer informed in real-time about the status of their order, and providing them with a seamless way to communicate with businesses over concerns and feedback.
Such delightful experiences leave a lasting impression on consumers, which when done right, could cause them to advocate your business through word of mouth to create a virtuous cycle of growth.
To know how Locus’ Dispatch Management Platform can help you make the most of this holiday season, click here for a demo today!