Consumers continue to demand faster and more transparent deliveries from retailers, and there’s no signs of that trend letting up any time soon. Due to this growing desire for speed, convenience, and affordability, it’s no surprise that more and more companies have begun adopting dedicated retail delivery solutions.
Different software systems are used to handle various aspects of delivery services, ranging from managing ordering and inventory to interacting with customers across the last mile. However, enterprises must remember that delivery management apps need to take into account the whole delivery process—not just a single siloed part—for it to have a significant impact on the key performance indicators (KPIs) you care about.
Companies must think of the bigger picture when it comes to managing deliveries—which means finding retail delivery solutions that offer the intelligent, agile, and connected capabilities that power consistent right-time delivery.
Retail Delivery Solutions That Work
Retail delivery software facilitates the transportation of products along the supply chain from one location to another. In a nutshell, it's how retailers get orders from point A to B.
The best retail delivery management solutions offer these features:
- Route planning and optimization
- Automated dispatching
- Real-time last mile delivery tracking for vehicles and orders
- Real-time alerts and notifications for fleet managers, dispatchers, and back-end teams
- Integration with other enterprise systems such as POS and eCommerce platforms
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve delivery performance
- Driver apps to manage delivery flow effectively
- Effective communication among delivery stakeholders
For delivery operations to run smoothly, right-time delivery management software is critical. With the digitization and connectivity of the disparate processes and parts of delivery, the right software enables companies to streamline the delivery process—from dispatching and route planning to live order tracking and electronic proof of delivery.
For end-to-end delivery operations to be truly effective, companies need to invest in trusted and innovative tools that maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction throughout the supply chain.
Route Planning and Optimization
The optimization of delivery routes is an essential component of delivery operations. To deliver effectively, you need a way to calculate the most efficient and cost-effective routes, determine which drivers are best suited for a particular delivery, and take other approaches to increase delivery capacity and speed.
To really win at customer satisfaction in retail, you need a solution that specializes in delivering at the right time. This means adopting a tool that leverages AI and machine learning to ensure accurate delivery ETAs even in the face of high levels of complexity. Deliveries can be structured holistically by a delivery management solution that takes into account fleet, driver, order, and other factors, and allocates weight to each variable according to your business goals and processes.
Effective delivery software must consider these factors:
- Driver availability
- Customer preference
- Order priority
- Service time
- Driver skill
- Traffic patterns
More than half of consumers say same-day delivery would increase their loyalty to brands. For retailers and logistics providers to overcome the challenges associated with same-day deliveries and handle high volumes efficiently, they must combine their automated route planning with smart dispatching.
Dispatch management is the main component for any delivery on demand system as it allows operational teams to schedule pick-ups and deliveries more effectively. When you have an on demand delivery solution that offers end-to-end visibility on delivery operations, automated dispatching can save time and money by streamlining the stage that bridges planning and execution in the last mile.
The ability to track and measure data about various delivery components is one of the most important benefits of visibility. Visibility is about having the right information readily available at the right time, which requires smooth integration between touchpoints, careful orchestration, and an emphasis on ease-of-use.
For instance, you need real-time data to figure out where adjustments should be made to ensure timely deliveries. Advanced solutions that incorporate machine learning and live data not only monitor deliveries in real-time but also provide you with actionable insights you can use to improve your delivery processes.
And it’s not all about back-office visibility— the end customer should be able to view real-time status updates as well. In order to maintain a high quality of service, companies should let their customers know where their orders are the entire time they’re out for delivery and notify them at every step of the process. To provide a great customer experience, offering real-time driver locations is crucial.
Delivery organizations can face a major headache when it comes to technology integration. The pain is also felt by retailers and brands since they must often oversee multiple third parties for their high online sales volumes while having little visibility into the actual delivery process. Delivery solutions may be able to assist with this, though integrations between shippers and delivery providers are typically only supported by large platforms.
In enterprises that have established delivery operations, pieces of a delivery management solution have already been implemented. Adding the remaining features they need to existing systems can be accomplished through a modular approach. It is imperative to have options for integrating enterprise systems with key ecosystem partners.
A recent survey found that driver onboarding and retention were among the top three last mile operational challenges for 4 in 10 logistics and transportation leaders. Drivers are in high demand—and retention depends on providing drivers with delivery tools that can increase last mile success.
Today's drivers need to access all delivery information, including order information, customer data, route plans, and more. That’s why delivery management solutions need to include driver apps that empower drivers to perform well. This should include providing drivers with access to:
- Custom-built driver management tools: A truly robust driver mobile app can empower drivers with customized installation instruction guides, electronic DVIR reports, and more.
- Automated notifications: Not only should the app enable dispatchers to send alerts and delivery updates directly to drivers, it should also enable drivers to send status updates to customers with the click of a button.
- Electronic proof of delivery: When drivers can easily document their successful deliveries within the app, they’re more likely to get credit for all the good work they’re doing. Plus, it saves them a lot of manual effort.
Retail order volumes and deliveries will only continue to grow in the near future. Streamlining operations on the backend and delivering a great customer experience are the keys to success in this market. To achieve both of these goals, it is imperative to pick right-time retail delivery solutions that work for your business.