Same-day delivery is here, probably to stay. How can companies meet ever increasing consumer demand?
Just as Amazon started the shipping races by offering free two-day shipping to its Prime members, they're now raising the stakes with same-day shipping, forcing online retailers the world over to squeeze any remaining fat out of their supply chains to meet accelerating consumer demands. After picking one's jaw up off the floor when considering the absolute feat of human engineering and planning it takes to accomplish same-day delivery, anyone who isn't Amazon has to start asking themselves how they can keep up.
How to go fast
Firstly, its important to address the advantages that Amazon – and its closest competition like Wal-Mart and Target – have over most retailers, mainly billions of dollars and hundreds of locations. The biggest players in this game can accomplish same-day shipping miracles through their sheer size: more employees, more fulfillment centers, more trucks, etc. So for anyone who isn't in the Fortune 100 to keep up, they have to work smarter.
The most important thing is implementing the latest and most powerful location and tracking technology. You have to be able to visualize your entire supply chain in order to see what changes you can make to it, and where you can speed up operations.
Indoor mapping can track employees through fulfillment centers and fleet management software instantly redirects trucks along the fastest route when accounting for real-time traffic and other delays.
Indoor mapping also allows retailers and logistics companies to seamlessly and reliably share data back and forth with customers, increasing transparency, and creating a virtuous cycle of optimization.
In addition to tracking, location technology can help your company better plan routes in advance. HERE's Tour Planning Services inputs your lists of warehouses, drivers, vehicles, and shipping requirements into our Fleet Telematics API to produce an optimized tour plan for every vehicle. Additional functions like geofencing, custom routes and POIs enable you to selectively include locations into the map for end-to-end routing and guidance. Drivers and dispatchers can be notified when they enter a designated zone or provide alerts to ensure ETAs are met.
In addition, or as an alternative to ramping up speed, improving customer service in other areas of your retail experience can help you remain competitive with Amazon and the other major players. For example, instead of offering a straight same-day delivery option, you could offer to let your customers decide on a specific window they'd like to receive their package within. By coordinating directly with the customer, you may find that same-day isn't as important to them as delivering at a time when they'd be home to sign for a package.
Alternatively, you can disincentivise delivery as an option by creating an engaging and easy-to-use in-store pick-up option. If you can convince your customer to share their location with you, it could be possible to guide them to a brick-and-mortar location where they can pick-up something paid for in advance, and also enjoy an in-person experience that increases customer satisfaction, and the likelihood of additional purchases.
Finally, if same-day shipping remains an unreachable bar for your company at the moment, free shipping may be just as an important factor in making a sale. As detailed by marketing consultancy Part and Sum, almost a quarter of abandoned carts are caused by “unexpected costs at check-out," and free shipping can be leveraged as a first-sale discount, abandoned cart discount, or a general sale incentive.
For more on how to accomplish same-day shipping and other logistics optimization solutions, download our e-book, One-day shipping: a game-changer in retail logistics.