18 July 2019

How EPOD supports ‘big-ticket’ last mile delivery

Not so long ago, buying a new sofa or dining suite would’ve meant a trip to a furniture shop, browsing and making a purchase in-store, then either loading your new piece into the car or waiting several days or weeks for the retailer to deliver it. There hasn’t been much variation to this purchasing process until the last few years, when the popularity of online shopping finally started to infiltrate the furniture market.

Global online furniture sales are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 11.9% between 2018 and 2022 thanks to dropping shipping costs and the convenience and prevalence of buying online. More and more consumers are browsing furniture in-store before shopping around and ordering online, so much so that even solely online retailers like Loaf are opening showrooms to enable customers to see, touch and try furniture before ordering.

This trend towards ‘big-ticket’ online sales means a specific challenge for delivery companies; to provide last mile delivery that safeguards large, high-value items and offers more hands-on customer service.

So, how can Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) support this?

Presenting a professional customer-facing image  When customers order a big-ticket item online, such as a new bed, they expect a standard of delivery in-keeping with the investment they’ve made. For many consumers, furniture is an occasional, very considered high-value purchase and, even subconsciously, they expect a certain level of professionalism throughout the buying experience. These days, receiving any kind of order from a courier still using paper-based POD is unlikely to make a good impression, let alone when receiving a big-ticket item.

Since customers are far more likely to take delivery of big-ticket purchases in person, face-to-face interaction with delivery drivers becomes even more important. Alongside a neat appearance and a polite and friendly manner, logging delivery on an EPOD-enabled mobile device creates the efficient and polished service consumers expect from big-ticket delivery.

Delivering when you say you will

As we’ve already stated, consumers tend to make arrangements to receive big-ticket items in person. Too big and too valuable to be left on a doorstep or with a neighbour, this type of item requires verifiable delivery to the person on the manifest – and we all know there’s few things more frustrating than staying in to receive a delivery that doesn’t arrive on time. This means being able to provide customers with accurate delivery timeslots and making every effort to stick to them.

With an EPOD system, route and job planning is automated and optimised, generating the most precise predicted timeframes for each drop on a driver’s shift. What’s more, EPOD’s mapping and tracking software and live communication link between drivers and HQ means those back at base can spot problems on the road and update routes in real-time, enabling drivers to avoid delays and stay on schedule. When hold ups are unavoidable, the team at HQ can monitor the situation and keep customers informed.

Protecting big-ticket deliveries

New furniture should arrive in a pristine condition, so battered boxes and poor packaging are a no-no. Too many knocks and bumps can easily rip cardboard or plastic packaging, damaging wooden furniture or marking upholstery. It’s important that big ticket items are loaded in a delivery van securely and handled carefully. EPOD can play a part here too, automatically alerting a driver if a van is under or overloaded, helping to ensure a neat load without cramming the cargo area.    

Finally, big ticket delivery is often more than just ‘delivery’. Customers often expect help getting large, heavy items inside and/or upstairs and, when it comes to furniture, help putting it together. There’s opportunity for delivery companies to provide extra services here, such as furniture assembly, boosting revenue and customer satisfaction.

Deliver more for big-ticket customers with EPOD

The more the nature of delivery diversifies, the greater the need for efficient digital management solutions will become. The logistics companies that can excel at a range of different types of delivery, including big-ticket last mile delivery, will be the ones that gain a competitive edge, and EPOD is key to supporting them. Find out more about Touchstar’s EPOD systems by getting in touch with us today.