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What to Look for in Furniture and Appliance Delivery Software

The game has changed more than once for furniture and appliance delivery in the past few years. Customer expectations are as stringent as ever, but at the same time the larger supply chain presents new challenges each day. Getting the right goods to the right people at the right time is always challenging, but now it’s even more challenging to do so efficiently.furniture delivery software

That’s why a lot of furniture and appliance retailers are currently seeking to upgrade their delivery technology. No single technology can be a panacea, but if you seek one out that’s designed to delight customers while promoting cost efficiency throughout the entire delivery process, you can boost customer loyalty, optimize costs, and streamline your operations. 

The question is: what sets the right delivery software apart? Is it just a matter of seeking out the right features, or does furniture and appliance delivery require a more holistic approach? In this article, we’ll cover exactly that.

One Unified Platform

Okay, we may have tipped our hand a little bit. The most important thing to look for in delivery software isn’t any individual feature. Instead, you want to look at the platform as a whole to see how well it will cover your needs from end to end. 

Assessing this is in some ways easier said than done. But you can start by thinking about where the rifts currently lie in your planning and execution processes. Do you run into issues executing your routes once they’ve been generated? Is there a disconnect between what’s happening in your delivery planning solution and what you’re telling your customers? Is the actual day of delivery a black box with limited visibility? Do you feel like you should be getting more out of your delivery capacity? 

The answers to these questions should inform your approach to finding the right platform. Ideally, you’ll be able to find something that speaks fairly specifically to the areas where you’re experiencing challenges.

It’s also worthwhile to consider the reputation of the vendor. Do they have a track record of innovation and supporting their customers? In a market loaded with startups, it’s not always a bad idea to look out for a vendor that’s more seasoned and has a long track record in your industry. 

Two-Way Communications

Connectivity between different touchpoints in your delivery process is important—but connectivity with customers is absolutely paramount. That’s one of the things to look for in furniture and appliance delivery software is robust two-way customer communication between customers and dispatchers/managers. 

Ideally, you’re already sending out frequent messages during the delivery process—e.g. when the delivery is scheduled, when it leaves the warehouse, and when the customer’s stop is next on the route. With two-way communications, you can give customers the ability to respond to those system-generated messages and immediately initiate a real-time chat with your team. 

In a world where phone calls are considered a last resort by most consumers, it’s hard to overstate the value of making it easy for customers to send messages. If the customer is going to miss the delivery truck when it arrives, two-way communication makes it easier for them to let you know in a timely fashion. If there’s something going wrong with the delivery, this helps you find a resolution more quickly. 

Simply put, information flows that much more freely and exception management becomes easier and more efficient. 

Bespoke Customer Experiences

Of course, two-way communication isn’t the end-all be-all of customer experience. Customer experience is defined by a lot of different things, from consistent on-time deliveries to real-time delivery information. The ideal is to be able to configure different experiences for different customers as needed. 

For instance, you might want to provide a different experience for customer receiving installations than for those who are just getting their items delivered over the threshold. By the same token, you might want to send out different communications ahead of white glove vs. standard deliveries. 

Here, the foundations of the delivery experience might be the same:

  • Order confirmation
  • Self-scheduling message
  • Schedule confirmation
  • Reminder message the night before
  • Route start notification
  • Next stop notification
  • Arrival notification
  • Access to a real-time delivery tracking portal. 

But at each stage of the process, you can configure your message to speak to the customer’s specific needs and expectations. This can be as simple as reminding customers about what to expect during the installation process, or it can even involve a different communication cadence altogether. 

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where this kind of configuration is quite complex from an operational perspective. But the right technology can make it easy to roll out different customer experiences for different delivery types. 

Intelligent, AI-Powered Route Optimization

Crafting the perfect customer experience is a huge part of success in furniture and appliance delivery. But the backbone of a truly outstanding customer experience comes down to one simple thing: showing up on-time, every time. And the best way to make that happen is by upgrading your route optimization technology.

Effective route optimization is about a lot more than just finding the shortest distance between different points. It’s about creating sequences and routes that account for the many parameters that impact your routes. And it’s about generating highly-accurate ETAs for every stop on those routes. To make this happen, it’s helpful to leverage AI-powered technology that can turn huge amounts of data into powerful predictive insights.  

The importance of accurate ETAs really can’t be overstated. They help you to ensure you’re using your capacity in an efficient way, which saves time and money. But they also help ensure a stellar customer experience for each and every delivery. Late (and sometimes even early) deliveries are deeply off putting to consumers, so anything you can do to minimize those can have a huge impact.

At the same time, late deliveries are less likely to result in costly not-at-home situations. The result is that you save money on redelivery attempts all while boosting customer loyalty. 

Easy Self-Scheduling

When your route optimization process is smart, fast, and efficient, it gives you a lot more freedom in how you approach delivery planning. In  furniture and appliance deliveries, it can be a good idea to turn around and present that added freedom to the customer—e.g. in the form of customer self-scheduling. 

Customers who choose their own delivery time slots are much more likely to be home when the delivery arrives. But reaching people by phone to get them to commit to times can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. Often, it takes 2-3 attempts to reach someone, and even then they may not be ready to commit to a time slot. Or, they may not be able to do any of the time slots being offered to them, meaning that you’ll have to generate more options and call back. 

With the right technology, you can streamline this process significantly. Instead of calling customers, you can send them a self-scheduling message that has dynamically-generated time slots that are automatically checked against your capacity and existing orders. If the first set of options don’t work, the system can generate more instantaneously. 

This goes a long way towards bolstering customer experience. When you combine it with improved on-time performance, two-way communication, and bespoke communication workflows, you can elevate the service you offer to customers. The result is improved customer loyalty and more efficient delivery operations all around.  

DispatchTrack offers the most powerful end-to-end suite of tools for last mile logistics operators. Dispatchers, drivers, customers and clients can access our app on any device to schedule, track, modify and verify your deliveries.

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