post parcel door

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The pandemic has shown us that home delivery has to be easier, simpler and more manageable

How many deliveries are landing on your doorstep every week in lockdown? Two? Ten? Fifty? What’s in them? Food, clothes, drinks, even alcoholic drinks? Every day there’s a new arrival. Everything is being delivered.

Lockdown has changed the way we consume and the way retailers can provide their products to customers. But home delivery is still awkward, old and analogue. Customers can’t manage delivery effectively after purchase, they are stuck in endless customer service call loops and regularly end up hunting down their local delivery depot. The last miles remain the most frustrating for customers – out of touch and out of control.

Yet, more customers than ever are telling businesses that they expect to continue using online shopping after the lockdown, heaping pressure on retailers – big and small – to get their home delivery service right.

As Tim Steiner of Ocado said, the lockdown has been an “inflection point for online”. He expects online retail and home delivery to solidify its place in our lives. If home delivery is the future, it has to be better. Now is the time to embrace tech, to make online retail and delivery simple and make customers’ lives easier, more convenient.

Whether you are Tesco or a small independent butcher in Northampton, the technology to properly serve your customer right to their front door is there now, but you have to be bold.

Extraordinary sums are spent on e-commerce sites while we do not invest meaningfully in the final and most important stage of the transaction – receiving the goods. The tech exists – letting customers manage deliveries in their messaging channels, letting vendors automate their delivery routes and getting away from the tired, binary delivery apps that take the control away from the vendor and the customer.

Businesses must ensure that they are ready to effectively meet customer service expectations in the new normal of online shopping.

ShinDigger, a Manchester-based brewery, has pivoted from wholesale to direct to customer during the lockdown – not an unusual story in the pandemic. Embracing a fully automated customer management system, it boosted DTC sales 300% in three weeks with over 1,000 five star customer reviews. You can have your beer on your doorstep in a day at the touch of button, all with the ability to manage it through your Facebook Messenger – with no one at the other end. They embraced the future of delivery and of customer management to the benefit of their business.

That is the power of small retail businesses engaging in the future of technology. It shows what the right technology can do for businesses and their customers.

Covid-19 is a catalyst in the retail space and it has shown us what businesses are doing right and wrong. Home delivery has to be easier, simpler and more manageable.

In the new normal, retailers have to get their delivery and their customer service up to scratch to truly capitalise – technology is their best weapon.