It’s important to us that we keep you informed about the latest trends in your industry, specifically last-mile challenges and customer pick-up centers. In case you missed them the first time around, here is a summary of our most popular posts thus far.
Top 5 Posts about Last-Mile Challenges
1. The Evolution of the Courier Service Industry
Today’s couriers must address delivery challenges and distribution obstacles. Customer demands have increased, and to remain competitive businesses must expand the market for their goods and services. The key is finding better solutions that offer customer convenience.
Significant advancements in information technology enable customers to track a package’s movement from origin to destination. In some areas, consumers can order a product online and have it in hand by the end of the day. In high-density markets where delivery presents a challenge, many industries, direct sales distributors, and e-commerce sellers have opened local sales centers. These walk-in, pick-up locations allow businesses to stock fast-moving inventory for quick distribution to independent distributors customers in traditionally underserved delivery areas.
2. 2017 Trends in Direct Sales
As technology evolves, it creates more opportunities for direct selling. Connecting the buyer and seller has eliminated the middleman, lessoning the friction involved in the purchase process. The less friction, the easier it is to make a transaction, and the more profitable it can be.
The use of data and analytics allows your business to create greater customer loyalty. By recognizing patterns, needs, and desires of buyers, your business will be able to capture the attention of potential customers, while easily guiding them through the purchase lifecycle.
Tailoring your message to customers is key, but keeping those lines of communication open is just as important. That means communication goes both ways. Taking in unfiltered customer feedback will always benefit your company as it gives you a direct line to what the customer thinks of your product or what they are looking from you in the future.
3. The High Cost of 'Free Shipping' and Last-Mile Delivery
Free shipping poses a huge cost to businesses. Shipping rates inched up about 5 percent this year, and there are already some announced increases coming down the pike for 2017. It’s a big bite out of the bottom line. Combine this issue with the last mile — which is typically the hardest and most expensive part of the shipping journey — and it’s hard to imagine how businesses can continue to soak it up in the long run.
Many major retailers are embracing one particular solution to both the free shipping dilemma and the last-mile conundrum: allowing customers who order online to pick up their items at a nearby physical location. For businesses that don’t already have a retail footprint, adding automated locker systems and/or customer service centers to their existing business model can be a smart business and economic decision.
4. Tapping into Untapped Markets: Solutions for E-Commerce Businesses
Major urban areas represent markets with significant growth potential. But there’s a tall hurdle — most city streets simply aren’t designed to handle a substantial increase in the traditional modes of last-mile fulfillment, such a delivery trucks.
A solution to the above problem many e-retailers are embracing is the customer pick-up center. These kinds of centers can provide both a short- and long-term value for businesses. In their most refined form, they combine the best aspects of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar — an easy place to quickly fulfill a purchase and a staffed customer service desk to provide personalized help.
5. Why Fulfillment by Amazon is Disliked by So Many Businesses
There’s no doubt that the sheer marketing power of Amazon can translate into sales. But many online sellers have a hard time reconciling Amazon’s fees, branding policies, and fulfillment problems when measured against the impact on their profits. This can especially be true around the holidays. Amazon’s woes with overstocked fulfillment centers are resulting in substantial fee hikes and restrictions for sellers.
Sellers looking for final-mile solutions that strengthen their customer service and their brand have alternatives to consider. One is opening a walk-in customer convenience center in key urban markets. These kinds of customer service centers — operated by a vendor — offer faster delivery options, branding opportunities, cost controls, and personalized service. They are particularly advantageous in major urban markets, where home delivery can be difficult.
Stay tuned for next week's post with the remaining top 10 last-mile articles!