The OneRail team was thrilled to join many of our logistics and strategic partners in the beautiful city of Philadelphia for what many supply chain leaders regard as the go-to show for retail logistics, Home Delivery World.
While we could post photos of Philadelphia’s grandeur all day, you came here for the show takeaways. So here’s a quick look at what the industry was talking about over the course of those two days.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 1: Real-Time Visibility
It’s no secret that customers want visibility, control and communication in their deliveries. But nowadays, the post-purchase experience must be managed just like the e-commerce one.
Customers expect a seamless experience throughout the entire purchase process, with real-time visibility from discovery to purchase to receipt of products.
In fact, according to one speaker, the condition of a delivered item is ranked #3 on the list of Top 3 Most Frustrating Customer Problems. Guess what #1 was? Lack of communication. That means to the end-consumer, it’s more frustrating to not get visibility than to receive a damaged item. As long as the customer support is excellent, getting a damaged item replaced can be a walk in the park compared to wondering when an item will show up.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 2: Sustainability
Sustainability is no longer a nice to have; it’s now a delivery mandate.
Yes, going green is a BIG deal, so much so that the presence of low-carbon options now influences many aspects of the purchase decision.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 3: Tech Trends
One of the most exciting aspects of Home Delivery World is getting a glimpse of the latest technology in supply chain. This year, it included robots in the warehouse for seamless pick-and-pack, and autonomous forklifts.
In terms of delivery vehicle technology trends, we saw plenty of EVs, and driverless vehicles and drones each took a big step closer to becoming an everyday reality.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 6: How Big & Bulky Contributes to Customer Frustration
We’ve said it before; we’ll say it again: Communication is the biggest factor in whether a delivery experience is outstanding or out of sync. But in the Big & Bulky category, that need for communication is of even greater importance; in fact, it’s imperative.
Since Big & Bulky requires scheduled delivery, and almost always entry into a home or building, arriving early is almost as bad as arriving late. Switching delivery times around is a major no-no. The process must be easy. If it’s not, you might kill your chances for a repeat customer.
Team OneRail gets ready to host booth visitors.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 5: Customer Experience Now a Touchstone
These days, tracking net promoter scores and being competitive on the price of your products are key, since customers can now shop around online, but a bad delivery experience is what will lose your customer, NOT a small price variation.
Customers will even pay more for a faster or more sustainable delivery, but you’ll lose them if the experience (at the time of purchase, during communication, even post-purchase) is a confusing or unpleasant one.
Yes, delivery has become a touchstone. This starts in the pre-purchase stage — both customer-facing and in being smart about how you manage your inventory — all the way to the post-purchase process of following up on orders and delivery experience, welcoming suggestions and making returns easy.
What customers want most is for you to deliver your product on-time, exactly in the window when you said you would. And if you communicate clearly (by text when close to the delivery time, by email if longer timeframes) and make the entire process, especially the delivery, visible, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition.
Home Delivery World Takeaway 4: Home Base Is Your Delivery Station
Today’s supply chain is moving from the back office to a customer-branded touchpoint and profit center. Delivering to the door is becoming through the door. More and more, especially in grocery or for products that require installation or setup, delivery people are entering homes by way of garage codes and other methods, catering to customers’ exact preferences for delivery — some even want the delivery driver to unpack the groceries for them!
On Day 2 of the show, OneRail’s Bill Catania spoke about the importance of having a supply chain that is fluid, flexible, in real time and event-driven.
“Whether you tap into this approach via WMS, OMS, TMS, etc., you need a single-sourced single view, and you must have an interoperability mindset,” he said.
The world of delivery is changing rapidly, and OneRail helps customers of all stripes make the most of meeting and exceeding customer preferences for delivery the way they want it!