Global e-commerce sales are increasing at an annual rate of 23% and are expected to reach more than $4 trillion by 2020. This dramatic growth is driving an exponential increase in the number of parcel deliveries as well as pickups for merchandise returns.
To cost-effectively meet this increasing demand, companies are searching for new ways to improve efficiencies. This is particularly critical in the final leg of the journey to the customer’s location, often referred to as the last mile, which remains one of the most labor-intensive and costly portions of the supply chain.
As delivery volumes continue to increase, consumer expectations for e-commerce delivery are also rising. Shoppers are demanding more visibility, more flexibility and more control in the delivery process. They want the ability to specify when and where their packages will arrive – whether that’s at their doorstep or at a specified click-and-collect location such as the store or other convenient pick-up location, a locker or even the trunk of their car. They want real-time updates on their packages and the ability to change delivery location even after the package is already in transit, without delaying the shipment’s arrival.
Meeting those expectations is essential, especially given the fact that delivery plays a key role in customer loyalty and brand perception. A whopping 87% of e-commerce shoppers say that delivery time is a key factor in their decision to buy from an online brand. Often, the delivery person is the only personal interaction the customer has in the buying process. In a recent Zebra survey, 90% of respondents from retail, manufacturing and logistics agree that delivery is an extension of the retailer’s brand.
That’s why savvy organizations are investing in technology solutions that allow them to meet high customer expectations while also improving efficiency and reducing costs.