Have you ever ordered something online in the afternoon and checked to see if there was a tracking number by evening? You likely have… and are likely checking it again in the morning to see if it has any check points or scans. The speed of e-commerce is moving faster each day. We all want it fast and cheap. These are two words that don’t typically go together. A perfect delivery is getting it on time (based on expected delivery day), with the correct items, and intact (no damage). We have all experienced the “perfect delivery.” However, we have all experienced the “not so pretty delivery” (likely more often than we have experienced the perfect one). Let’s review this in more detail.
This is a very complicated concept. An on-time delivery starts with the expectations of the consumer. There are many different delivery options being offered by the e-tailers. The new norm is becoming two- to-three-day delivery whereas this used to be a premium service. As Amazon continues to expand its warehouse network and its new air network, they are moving forward to making the new delivery norm one to two days. Many of the brick and mortar retailers are quickly implementing programs to ship from store. This will get them to next day delivery and will put pressure on Amazon.
We all have high expectations that we will get what we ordered. Have you ever opened a package to only find out that you have the wrong item or the incorrect amount? This is where the real fun begins. It is a very frustrating process to prove to an e-tailer that they sent you the wrong items or quantity because, in their view, the paperwork is correct and they don’t make mistakes. This part of the perfect delivery has nothing to do with the transit or carrier but the consumer is not happy. This type of a delivery can lose a customer for good, and this customer will probably share this experience with 10-20 people.
There has been an increase in e-tailers trying to build their brand with branded boxes, personal notes on the inside or added stickers on the outside of the box. If you receive a box and it sounds like it is in multiple pieces, then it probably is. Many e-commerce packages go through high-speed sort facilities that on occasion will get marked up in the sort process. When a consumer sees scuff marks or dented corners, they have a sense that their parcel was not handled with gentle loving care. Again, the perception was that they did not have a perfect delivery.
Many e-tailers are developing enhanced communication with their customers so they can inform them throughout the short delivery process that their shipment is moving along and when they can expect to get it. This is helping to manage the “perfect delivery” expectation. As the e-commerce delivery world gets closer to the consumer, there will be fewer touches to the parcel, which will minimize damage… also contributing to a perfect delivery. Many millennials prefer to receive communication via their mobile phones but nothing replaces a strong customer support team. At the end of the day, people like to work with people. The Perfect Delivery is a complex process but is what we all expect. Take notice of the next one you receive on your door step!
Michael J. Ryan is the Executive Vice President –Parcel Solutions at Pro Star Logistics and has over 25 years’ experience in the parcel industry. He can be reached at 708.224.1498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.