By utilizing new technologies to better leverage their existing physical infrastructure, New Age Fulfillment Partners are offering e-commerce companies a superior delivery experience to raise the bar to match the same-day delivery expectations
Over several centuries, human advancement has been centred on one objective: acceleration. This drive towards acceleration has resulted in every industry across every geography being transformed by three powerful forces:
• Customer expectations
• Enabling technologies and innovations of the day
Today’s culture of immediacy has driven customer expectations, and in turn, faster deliveries. By utilizing new technologies to better leverage their existing physical infrastructure, New Age Fulfillment Partners are offering e-commerce companies superior delivery experience to raise the bar to match these same-day delivery expectations.
The Importance of Last-Mile Delivery
For e-retailers, ensuring a smooth and satisfactory “last-mile” delivery – the final link in the supply chain where a product lands in a consumer’s hands – has never been more significant. A smoother last-mile experience is instrumental to both customer engagement and retention. While starting its new same-day delivery offering, Quickshift had conducted an internal research which showed that 75% of consumers are willing to spend more if they are satisfied with the delivery service.
A few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine a world where the peak season relied so heavily on online purchases rather than in-store shopping. As e-commerce has gained momentum, it has fundamentally transformed customers’ buying experience - simultaneously changing the way retail companies look at their distribution and logistics.
Quicker deliveries are doubly challenging for a brand. While working on much tighter turnaround times (TAT’s), inventory mapping across all stock points and its visibility is key. In addition, this activity has to be of a certain scale so as to absorb the expenses of the entire chain till door delivery. For the unit economics to pay, aggregation at some point is needed, this is where 3PL partners offering last mile can play a crucial role.
A desire for Same-Day Delivery
Not too long ago, standard shipping Turn-Around-Times (TATs) was around 6-7 days. Today the norm has become 2-3 days. However, the expectation is that it would be the same day within the next 6 months. Lower TAT's mean lesser returns, more sell-throughs, faster COD payments and lower working capital block.
Frequently termed the “Amazon Effect”, this phenomenon is also attributed to the e-commerce mindset of “See now, Buy now! How fast can I get it?” This is also viewed as part of the modern consumer’s need for constant engagement round the clock, raising the bar for home-delivery options. It is predicted that by 2023, same-day delivery will be the norm for most e-commerce purchases. This expectation is most apparent in large metropolitan cities with their high concentration of millennials, high-end consumers, and dual-income families. Most urban shoppers tend to purchase products on mobile devices, and for half of them, same-day delivery is very important.
Faster deliveries also provide customers more opportunities for immediate/impulsive shopping needs rather than planned purchases. For example, if you need to host a party in the evening and immediate stocks are needed or gifts need to be bought, you will be able to order online and get your delivery on the same day.
Increasingly, the top dogs of e-commerce have been upgrading their delivery times to next-day or even same-day delivery. Playing into a need for immediate gratification (or last-minute gift shopping), express fulfilment services enable brands to get a leg up over their competition and provide higher customer satisfaction.
In contrast, firms not offering quicker deliveries are losing favour – especially with younger generations. Timing is a key indicator to meet or surpass client satisfaction. The desire for same-day delivery is striking, especially among Generation Y demographics. Many customers might even abandon the site and look elsewhere if same-day delivery is unavailable.
Purchase Decision is all about Anticipation
The consumer’s purchasing process has played a major role in E-commerce logistics speeding up their delivery times to remain competitive. Fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) is a factor in the decision process. While browsing an eCommerce store, it is common for the customer’s mind to create doubts and reasons that avert conversion. What if it doesn’t arrive on time? What if it’s broken? What if I lose this opportunity?
As sellers, it is their responsibility to show customers all the reasons they should hit the buy button. By offering fast, reliable, and free (or at least affordable) shipping it is ensured that the product will reach them on time and intact. It has been seen that RTO (Return the Origin) are much higher when TATs are higher. With increased time for delivery, the phenomenon of ‘Post Purchase Dissonance’ starts setting in the customers. She gets more time to evaluate other options. Loyalty is fleeting and cancellation is easy in e-commerce, more so when half of India prefers COD purchases, hence TAT is of the essence. This trend is here to stay.
New hybrid models of fulfilment utilizing omnichannel are also in the works. It has its own challenges, its own cost structures. This we shall keep for another day.
The Author is Prodipto Roy, Co-Founder, QuickShift.
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