2024 Retail Delivery Trends Report: Key Highlights From OneRail’s Survey

With the digital shopping revolution reaching a fever pitch, last mile logistics serves as the final battleground for customer loyalty. With such interactions won or lost before products arrive at the doorstep, OneRail’s latest report titled, “Retail Report: Carrier Diversification Tops 2024 Shipping Fulfillment Goals,” adds context and substance to this.

Drawing on insights from an independent survey of over 350 retailers — from managers to executives — this report doesn’t just recount facts; it tells the story of an industry at a crossroads, choosing between sticking to the old ways and embracing a diversified, dynamic approach to deliveries. Consider this article a preview of a comprehensive guide designed to enlighten, inspire and drive retailers toward innovative fulfillment solutions. Prepare to view the future of e-commerce fulfillment through a transformative lens, where adaptability and customer satisfaction are at the forefront.

The Crucial Role of Carrier Diversification

Imagine planning a dinner party with guests who have diverse dietary preferences. Relying on a single dish to satisfy everyone is risky and could dampen the evening’s success. In the world of e-commerce, relying on a single carrier for all deliveries works the same way, and the OneRail Retail Report reveals why.

Mitigating Risks with a Diversified Network

The risks of putting all your eggs in one basket, or in this case, all your deliveries using one parcel carrier, are multifaceted. Among these risks is the inability to scale operations effectively during peak times. Envision a scenario where a sudden spike in orders collides with a carrier’s capacity limit or an unexpected service disruption. The result? Delayed deliveries, frustrated customers and a tarnished brand reputation.

A diversified delivery network acts like a well-rounded investment portfolio. Just as investors spread their assets to minimize financial risk, retailers can spread their delivery needs across multiple carriers and modes of delivery to mitigate logistical risks. This approach guarantees that if one carrier faces issues, others can fill in the gap to ensure a smooth and steady flow of goods to customers.

Enhancing Customer Experience Through Delivery Options

Today’s consumers are not just buying a product — they’re investing in an experience. The countdown begins when a customer decides to tap “Buy.” Will the package arrive on time? Will it meet their immediate need and create joy? The flexibility and reliability offered by a diversified carrier network directly influence the answers. After all, the survey found that 73% of respondents struggle with demand spikes using only in-house fleets and 96% say customers deem delivery crucial.

Offering multiple delivery options helps to meet and exceed customer expectations. It’s about giving customers the power to choose what suits their needs best, whether it’s same-day delivery for that last-minute gift or a scheduled or eco-friendly option. The survey also highlights that 69% of retail leaders view relying on a single delivery partner as a high risk, while 65% plan to roll out same-day or next-day delivery within the next two years. Customers, at the end of the day, want to feel valued and understood. Personalization matters, as do options to elevate the shopping experience.

Retail Delivery Trends

Understanding Customer Expectations in Delivery

The second a customer completes their online purchase, anticipation sets in. This anticipation isn’t just about the excitement of receiving something new; it’s deeply intertwined with how quickly and smoothly it arrives at their doorstep. OneRail’s Retail Report report sharply focuses on this critical aspect of the shopping experience, emphasizing how the last mile delivery phase has become the defining moment for customers.

The Demand for Speed and Convenience

We live in a world where patience is a rare commodity, and the expectation for instant gratification extends into every corner of our lives, including how we shop. The demand for same-day or next-day delivery has surged from a nice-to-have feature to an outright expectation. It signals a broader trend: Shoppers value their time immensely and judge retailers by how well they can cater to this need for speed and flexibility. The report expands on this significantly.

Addressing Delivery Delays and Complaints

When deliveries don’t go as planned, the fallout can be consequential. The OneRail report sheds light on how delayed deliveries lead directly to customer complaints, souring the shopping experience. In fact, the survey reveals that 20% of customer complaints are about long delivery times. When a delivery misses its deadline, it’s not simply a hiccup in timing; it’s a shattered promise that erodes trust and loyalty, driving customers straight into the welcoming arms of your competitors.

In summary, creating a fulfillment strategy solid enough to minimize delays is critical to customer service. It’s about acknowledging that every delivery is an opportunity to build trust and loyalty. When retailers get this right, they create positive, memorable experiences that encourage customers to return repeatedly.

The Impact of Delivery Networks on Retail Success

A product’s path from warehouse to doorstep is the climactic final chapter in the sale’s story. The strength and versatility of a delivery network decide whether or not this story has a happy ending. A strong delivery network weaves tales of success with timely deliveries and delighted customers. At the same time, gaps can spin frustrating stories of missed chances, impacting sales and straining customer bonds.

Real-Time Matching of Delivery Networks and Product Catalogs

As a retailer, the holy grail is delivering that rush of excitement when a customer’s purchase arrives at their doorstep. It’s that moment of giddy anticipation when the package is eagerly torn open, and the thrill of a new possession sinks in. Nailing that instant gratification is what makes buyers unapologetically loyal to you and your brand.

However, achieving this reality behind the scenes requires a tightly coordinated delivery network with your product lineup. Syncing these two elements is tougher than it sounds. The real test comes in maintaining an agile, responsive network that adapts to the ebbs and flows of retail demand—be it a rush for the latest popular device or a seasonal surge in orders. More than a third of respondents said their delivery network doesn’t match their product catalog in real time, and 67% reported that their limited delivery network resulted in reduced sales.

The Cost of Inadequate Delivery Networks

The repercussions of a delivery network that doesn’t rise to the occasion extend far beyond the immediate inconvenience of a delayed package. An inadequate network is a silent sales repellant, turning away potential profits with every disruption. Lost sales are just the tip of the iceberg; the chilling effect on customer relationships lies beneath the surface. Each failed delivery or delay chips away at a customer’s trust and loyalty toward a retailer, potentially damaging the relationship beyond repair. Customers today have many retailers to choose from and scarce patience. The cost of not investing in a versatile and reliable delivery network can be the difference between a thriving retail business and one that needs help to stay afloat.

Future Trends in Retail Fulfillment

The 2024 Retail Report paints a picture of a future where retail fulfillment evolves beyond simply moving products, and creates a seamless, efficient and responsive supply chain that places customer satisfaction at its core. As companies break free from the constraints of outdated systems and embrace the potential of real-time optimization and decision-making, the promise of meeting and exceeding customer expectations in 2024 and beyond becomes a tangible reality. Here’s how:

  • Dynamic Data Utilization: Moving away from static, siloed data, the future will see companies leveraging dynamic, real-time data to optimize every facet of the fulfillment process. This transformation promises efficiency and a level of agility previously unseen in the retail space.
  • Real-Time Decision Engines: Adopting real-time decision engines is central to this transformation. These advanced systems will triangulate crucial data points such as inventory levels, geographic location of goods and the best carrier and transportation modes. The result? Tailored delivery solutions that meet diverse customer needs while optimizing costs and delivery times.
  • Carrier and Mode Diversification: The report highlights the shift toward a diverse mix of delivery partners and transportation modes. This strategy mitigates risk and aligns with the need for flexibility in meeting a broad spectrum of delivery requirements — from the urgency of same-day deliveries to the complexities of handling fragile items.
  • Automation and Efficiency: Automation will play a key role in streamlining operations, from warehouse management to the last mile of delivery. Technologies like AI and robotics will drive efficiencies, enabling quicker turnaround times and reducing the scope for errors.
  • Aligning with Customer Preferences: At the heart of these trends is a deep focus on aligning operations with customer preferences. The future of fulfillment is customer-centric, with technology serving as the bridge between consumer expectations and retail capabilities.

Tomorrow’s Retail Starts Today  

Succeeding as a retailer in 2024 and beyond revolves around keeping pace with consumer expectations for fast, flawless and seamless delivery. The key to making this happen? A synergy of carrier diversification, cutting-edge technology and meticulous strategy. The OneRail 2024 Retail Report’s insights lay a roadmap to this success, spotlighting how understanding and innovation can transform fulfillment into a competitive edge.

Let these revelations guide your strategy and inspire action. The full OneRail Retail Report awaits, allowing you to dive deeper into the statistics and strategies that can elevate your fulfillment game. Uncover the data, embrace the insights and step confidently into the future of retail.

Ready to revolutionize your approach? Read the report and schedule your demo today — your journey toward retail excellence this year and beyond starts now.


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