date21 December 2018

Delivery trends in 2019 … and beyond

We’ve come a long way from manually checking off deliveries against a hand-written list or an Excel spreadsheet, and the logistics sector is all the better for it. Modern technology has greatly simplified overseeing deliveries to consumers, enabling continuous visibility and optimised efficiency from warehouse to final destination. Electronic proof of delivery (EPOD) is continuing to evolve as consumers become ever-more demanding and businesses continually up their service provision in order to stay competitive. Here’s what we expect to see in the industry over the next few years.

No let up to demanding consumer expectations

This probably won’t constitute news for any business that delivers to its customers, but the ever-increasing pressure of recent years to provide a quicker, more flexible, yet cheaper delivery service is only set to intensify further. Delivery has become a big deciding factor for consumers spoilt for retail choice; in fact, a huge 94 per cent of the British public are more likely to shop online for something they need if free delivery is part of the deal. Likewise, nearly 67 per cent of consumers will abandon an online purchase altogether if they deem delivery costs to be too high.

To keep up, any business that can afford to offer free delivery really ought to, or should consider experimenting with conditional free shipping options in order to find a balance between covering costs and satisfying customers. Delivery subscription services – such as that offered by Amazon Prime – and for which consumers pay a monthly or annual fee for unlimited delivery, are likely to rise in popularity too. What’s more, it may have started with Amazon, but moving forward, we’re predicting that more and more businesses will start to offer same day delivery. It may seem like somewhat of an impossibility, but with the ability to view complete end-to-end, real-time operational performance enabling smooth fulfilment processes at every stage, same day delivery not only becomes achievable, but simply a matter of scale.

More emphasis on ‘last mile’ delivery

Part of this race to meet and exceed customer expectations, ‘last mile’ delivery – or the final stage of an item’s journey from transportation hub to delivery destination – is where more and more customers than ever will be won or lost. After all, it’s the only part of the process they are really aware of so, regardless of anything else a business has done to get the goods where they need to be, this is where a delivery service really has to stand up to scrutiny.

Technology will be on hand to help businesses transform their last mile services, with drones and autonomous ‘self-driving’ cars both tipped to play a part in the delivery processes of the future. But, long before innovations like these become part of the logistical landscape, businesses should ensure they are set up to provide an agile, transparent last mile service for their customers, one that allows them to track their goods all the way to their doors.

More end-to-end logistical visibility

Data, and its power to propel business progression, has been at the forefront of most industries for several years, including logistics. Firms are starting to harness the actionable insights that business data contains, gathering and cross-referencing recorded data from previously separate systems (such as route planning tools and job scheduling software) to reveal areas ripe for improvement. This kind of data intelligence is only possible when these systems are linked though, so delivery businesses will continue to benefit from multi-software integration and a holistic view of the whole logistics process.

When management systems communicate with each other, or work together as part of a wider logistics optimisation software solution, businesses can not only seize on the pooled data, but capitalise on greater, real-time visibility as goods move from one trackable step to the next. 

If your business has yet to realise the potential of an intuitive, integrated EPOD system, there’s much that it can help you achieve right now, let alone in the future. Get in touch with us to find out more about what we can help you achieve.