Evaluating The Future of E-commerce & Last Mile Delivery
How to win big by selling to young-adults in 2018.
Online sales are projected to account for 17.0% of all retail sales within the next five years.
In a recent report, “Forrester Data: Online Retail Forecast, 2017 to 2022,” Forrester writes that e-commerce will account for 17.0% of retail sales by 2022, up from a projected 12.9% in 2017. Not surprisingly, Amazon is expected to play a heavy role in that growth.
The evolution of technology has amplified online spending and, consequently, increased consumer expectations from e-commerce retailers.
In 2018, it will remain critical for retailers looking to offset in-store traffic with online sales to keep pace with rising customer expectations in order to get ahead of their competitors.
Online retail sales are projected to hit US$2.7 trillion by 2020. With millennials at the frontier, retailers are strategizing ways to service this growing consumer base. As retailers begin to service a “click now, receive now” audience, it’s important to not only perfect product presentation, site user experience (UX), and shipping options — retailers now have to tackle the growing beast also known as last-mile delivery.
Consumers have grown to expect reliable delivery and now demand greater control over logistics and timing. This signals that retailers must no longer see logistics only as a means to complete the final mile delivery, but as a critical component blended within the front-end of a customer’s journey.
In order to better understand the Millennial purchasing process, let’s break down the various stages of the buyers experience.
The Research Stage
Consumers want to get the complete picture before evaluating if they are getting the best value for their purchases. Switching between online and offline channels, consumers look at the amount of product information available, customer reviews, and the range of products offered when choosing a retailer.
At this stage consumers are also evaluating delivery options as well as price-point and value-add. In order to remain competitive, brands have to provide a consistent experience across both online and offline channels.
Rather than offering one- or two-day delivery speeds, retailers should identify ways of leveraging their in-store warehousing combined with shopper data pattern recognition and build out last-mile delivery systems for “elite” or “premium” customers. This will not only build brand value, but offer the brand a new potential revenue stream.
A customer’s experience does not end after the product is delivered. Shoppers are also increasingly demanding improved return processes, packaging, and delivery-tracking alerts. Delivery alerts also go a long way in providing a positive customer experience. The same way Uber and Lyft notify passengers once their ride is minutes away, the same service is expected from retailers.
Investment and innovation will play a critical role in stabilizing a brand’s footing come 2018. In order for retailers to remain reliable and competitive, technology will need to be leveraged. While e-commerce offers new, unparalleled opportunities for accelerated growth, retailers will have to provide consumers more choices and greater control throughout the e-commerce transaction process.
If done correctly, brands will earn the right to shape customer experiences along their shopping journey — before, during, and after purchase. In 2018, if big box retailers do not become technology-focused logistics companies, luxury brands will hop ship and implement systems to take back their margins. Not-so-luxury brands will make the switch to Amazon, if they already haven’t, ultimately leaving the big box retailer vacant yet again.
Interested in chatting a bit more about last mile delivery or whatever obstacle your business is trying to overcome, feel free to reach out to me via Twitter.
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