Inside Logistics

Final-mile customer experience challenging retailers

Many struggle with legacy technology that fails to address customer experience (CX) needs for e-commerce deliveries

April 21, 2017

While most retailers understand the importance of providing a consistently positive customer experience, many struggle with legacy technology that fails to address customer experience (CX) needs for e-commerce deliveries. This issue is compounded by the desire to invest in innovation without sacrificing traditional operational metrics.

A study examining the importance of (CX) in final-mile delivery, and the impact of CX on supply chain performance and decision-making was commissioned by Convey and conducted by eft, surveying 200 retail supply chain professionals.

According to Jim Hourigan, COO at BuildDirect, who participated in the survey, “We want to invest in a situation where if a customer orders patio furniture from us they’re not thinking about the delivery, they’re not thinking about the set-up, they’re thinking about the party they’re going to have that weekend. We want to invest in the types of things to make that experience happen.”

The survey data, coupled with in-depth interviews, reveals that:

  • Retailers understand the importance of the customer experience. More than 83 percent confirm CX is a company-wide goal, with nearly 56 percent reporting CX measurement is key to operational decisions. In addition, 67 percent say gaining greater control of CX is crucial or very important to delivery.
  • Current technologies are not addressing CX needs. Only three percent say current systems “fully support efforts to improve the customer experience” while more than 66 percent report existing systems do nothing to improve CX.
  • Supply chain leaders are integrating customer experience into their operations. Nearly 72 percent say improving access to data for in-transit shipments across customer service, operations and logistics teams is crucial or very important. Similarly, 70 percent confirm it is either crucial or very important to improve “bidirectional communication” with consumers regarding their delivery expectations, package tracking and resolution of delivery options. Another 70 percent agree that “the ability to take dynamic and proactive action on in-transit issues (i.e., re-routing or expediting shipments, communicating efficiently with carriers),” is crucial or very important.
  • The desire to improve CX is often at odds with traditional operational metrics. More than 50 percent say reducing costs and improving margins is still crucial, with another 28 percent saying it is very important.

“Based on what we’ve heard from clients and others, the future of delivery is less likely to look like flying drones and more like the service you’d expect from a great concierge,” said Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey. “Making this a reality means thinking from the outside-in about what customers want and building that into your business processes —so the more transparent, proactive and flexible your supply chain is, the better the experience will be.”