Av Mikael Wällstedt | Article | February 10, 2017

Five ways to leverage Last Mile Delivery to optimize online shopping experience

Customer experience and loyalty are very important aspects of a successful e-commerce venture. When bringing ordered packages that last mile, and handing it over at the doorstep, the delivery company has a unique opportunity to make the customer happy. Here are five concreate ideas for what the logistic company can do to optimize the customer journey.

The last mile delivery of a product purchased online is a moment that matters to us as consumers. Once we place our order, we enter a waiting period and hope our deliveries arrive smoothly. This step in the process, referred to as the Last Mile Delivery, often plays a key role in the customer experience.

So, you ask: what is the value of customer experience? Let’s take an example from everyday life. Why does a cup of coffee at a well-known coffee shop cost about four dollars, while you can get a coffee at a well-known hamburger restaurant for a dollar or one at home for 20 cents? Yes – you get it! The difference is the customer experience.

Now, here is a great business opportunity for logistics companies that are engaged in last mile deliveries. They can potentially take on a role to knit together the customer journey and optimize customer experience. How can this be done?.

1. Leverage insights

Having a clear understanding of what customers want and need is fundamental. While the delivery agent doesn’t know what’s in the package, he will know if I frequently receive packages, my preferences for pick-ups, at what times I prefer home delivery and many other important details. This type of information can easily be retrieved directly from tracking and logistic systems.

This type of information can also be complemented with surveys conducted at the doorstep by the delivery agent. “Good afternoon, I hope you this delivery is satisfactory. Would you have the time to answer three simple questions for me?” With correct analysis, logistics companies can turn this additional data into valuable insights for themselves and their e-commerce partners.

2. Communicate

Another key part in building a superior customer experience is to communicate in a correct manner. Not too much and not too little. As a consumer, I am very eager to know when my delivery will arrive. The more accurate and narrow time window that can be offered – the better. Some people want to know more and then a good option is to offer them extended information on the web. A huge potential, which not many vendors use yet, is to leverage two-way communication. This is an opportunity to ask consumers what they want! As an example, the first text message might say: “Your product from XYZ will be ready for pick-up after 3 pm at ABC grocery store. Do you wish to change the pick-up location?” The next message: “We confirm your changed pick-up location; do you want us to store this as your preferred pick-up option? Your product will be delivered between 3:00 – 3:30 pm. Looking forward to meeting you!”

A good communication opportunity is when the recipient signs on glass to confirm delivery. Here is an opportunity to display personal message on the glass screen. Let me give you an example. If I have ordered a pair of jeans from Levis, the Levis brand name appear in the signature display, with a message saying that they hope I will enjoy my jeans.

3. Let the customer decide

As a consumer, I want to be able to choose where to pick up my package. I want the logistics company to present options that fit smoothly into my everyday life. For example, I may want to pick up my package at the newspaper stand close to my job or a late evening home delivery. If my schedule changes, I might even change my mind and request my package to be delivered to a new location. Being able to handle fast and complex consumer changes efficiently may sound like utopia for a delivery company. But I would argue that with the proper logistic system and workflow tools, offering consumers extensive choices shouldn’t be an issue.

4. Expand offering with relevant value added services

If the agent is coming to my home, why couldn’t he or she do something more for me? It would be great if the company that delivers my weekly groceries also could bring my other deliveries. Maybe they could also pick up my returning packages. When my new garden furniture arrives, I don’t want the 400-lb. shipping pallet left on my driveway. Instead, I want the delivery man to help me to unpack it and carry the furniture to my garden. This may also be an important option for elderly people who may need assistance to carry even their groceries up the stairs. Other ideas for relevant services that add value are taking wrapping to recycling and installing simple equipment. It’s perfectly possible these days for preferences and service options to be ordered and scheduled through customer apps.

5. Keep it simple

We know that consumers in general are sensitive to things becoming more complex than they need to be. So, keep it simple. Example of things that the delivery agent can do to simplify are to scan ID cards for quick identification and save consumer preferences. On the doorstep, she may receive extra instructions on her device that tells her how Mr. Smith wants his package delivered. Perhaps with a personal greeting. Another important thing is to be able to charge directly on the doorstep for things like additional services.