Omnichannel Retailing and How to Achieve Last-mile Excellence

Omnichannel Retailing and How to Achieve Last-mile Excellence

Convenience + Brand experience = Omnichannel retailing

As a decision-maker in the retail industry, you probably know why this equation is true. Earlier, If you had an online presence, you could attract more customers. But things have changed today.

Though online presence adds convenience and expands your audience base, it cannot provide a real-time brand experience. Despite giving a live brand experience to customers, standalone physical storefronts cannot guarantee convenience and an expanded audience base.

What modern customers want today is a unified mix of these two. This unified mix of convenience from online shopping and brand experience from offline shopping is called omnichannel retailing.

What is omnichannel retailing?

Omnichannel retailing is a business model where retailers sell products through multiple channels in a unified way. By integrating all the channels, businesses provide customers with a consistent, coordinated, frictionless, and seamless shopping experience.

For instance, Robert buys a product from a retail outlet. After coming home, he feels the item’s packaging and quality are poor. Without going back to the store to return the item, he can schedule a return pick up from his home. This unified online and offline shopping experience is omnichannel retailing.

Omnichannel retailing vs. multichannel retailing: How do they differ?

In the past few years, omnichannel retailing has been gaining popularity. But retailers are not reflecting on the omnichannel needs of customers because they seem stuck in multichannel retailing today.

Many retail businesses engage with customers through multiple channels but disjointly. Omnichannel and multichannel retailing may look synonymous, but they are entirely different.

DifferenceOmnichannel retailingMultichannel retailing
AimAims at developing a consistent and improved customer experience.Aims at increasing online presence and improving customer engagement.
Channel IntegrationOnline and storefront channel operations work in tandem.Operations of a variety of channels are siloed.
Customer viewSingle customer view across all the communication channels.Multiple views on different communication channels.

Why businesses are moving towards omnichannel retailing?

Businesses are choosing omnichannel retailing

Modern customers want convenience. If retail businesses don’t offer that convenience, they will go for an omnichannel retailer that provides them that convenience. Convenience is the bedrock of omnichannel retail logistics.

When a business adopts omnichannel retailing, it encourages customers to shop more with you as you value their convenience. This leads to an increase in sales thereby resulting in revenue growth. There are other reasons why retail businesses are moving towards omnichannel retailing.

  • The gap between online and offline channels has reduced 
  • Customers using multiple devices before attempting a purchase 
  • The increasing number of touchpoints to buy a product 
  • Retailers want to own the customer experience and build a direct relationship with customers

Challenges in the last mile for omnichannel retailing

When implementing omnichannel retailing, the biggest question that arises for retailers is how to reorganize their last-mile logistics. Another critical challenge is providing a convenient delivery experience amid increasing logistical complexities and rising customer expectations. For last-mile delivery to contribute to the success of omnichannel retailing, it is necessary to know the real-world challenges in last-mile retailing.

  • Increasing operational costs 
  • Lack of transparency, traceability, and visibility 
  • Unpredictability due to last-minute delivery requests
  • Difficulty in handling reattempted and standard delivery tasks 
  • Rising fuel consumption for the fleet 
  • Ineffective last-mile route plans 
  • Delayed, failed, and missed deliveries

3 ways a dispatch management platform can fortify last-mile excellence in your omnichannel retailing

Dispatch management platform helps customer seamless shopping experience

According to a study released in 2021, five of the top nine factors driving customer value in U.S. omnichannel retail were logistics-related. Overall, delivery control, speed, and cost were the third most important factors for online shopping among consumers in the North American country. – Leading drivers of online retail shopping in the US in 2021, Statista.

As stores turn into fulfillment centers, last-mile delivery has accelerated from days to minutes. Omnichannel customers look for shorter delivery times, forcing retail businesses to keep their last-mile operations cost-effective and highly efficient.

Numerous last-mile activities are involved in getting the products on time to customers. This includes real-time tracking, route planning, parcel sortation, capacity management, slot management, order management, and analytical insights. But doing these tasks in clusters adds inefficiencies in your last-mile delivery and multiplies your costs. Hence, businesses need a unified setup to manage last-mile dispatching activities.

A dispatch management platform is an integrated and unified tool that transforms last-mile delivery into a revenue center, not a mere cost-saving function. It’s time to discover how a dispatch management platform can contribute to last-mile excellence in your omnichannel retailing.

1. Speed + Flexibility + Convenience = Improved customer experience

Modern customers have three basic expectations: speed, flexibility, and convenience. Improved speed, higher flexibility, and convenience help you create a lasting customer experience in forward and reverse logistics operations. These three essential elements go hand-in-hand to achieve last-mile excellence in omnichannel retailing.

The best way to provide convenience to customers is by letting them select their time slots. Businesses should improve speed and flexibility to deliver products on time to customers at their preferred time slots. A dispatch management platform facilitates effective communication with customers and gives you a clear understanding of their delivery preferences. By enabling you to schedule deliveries based on customer preferences, it helps you achieve a higher First Attempted Delivery Rates (FADR).

Unrealistic Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) targets, delivery rescheduling requests, last-minute orders, and missed deliveries make the last mile more complex. A dispatch management software comes in handy to manage these tight order schedules. With added flexibility, its dynamic rerouting feature helps you balance on-time delivery rates for reattempted, urgent, and standard delivery requests. Beyond all these, it enables you to set realistic ETA targets for drivers to get them enough time between each delivery stop.

2. Strategize future delivery operations

Last-mile delivery is grappling with issues like driver shortage and capacity shortage. The rising delivery volumes and increasing complexities in the last mile have necessitated retail businesses to strategize future delivery operations.

A dispatch management software helps you manage all fleet types in a single dashboard. Its advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and control towers enable you to get better business insights on distance, on-time performance, and cost. These insights help you plan and manage the capacity of the future operational needs for your omnichannel retailing. You can redefine your expenses and contracts by offering a deeper and more extensive view of customers and transporters.

3. Build sustainability

Many retail businesses overlook sustainability while providing a superior last-mile customer experience to a dense population. When we say sustainability, it is beyond just adopting electric vehicles. Standing on the cusp of transition, modern companies are using a mix of sustainable and conventional fleets for last-mile fulfillment.

Using a dispatch management platform, you can optimize routes according to your fleet composition, logistics constraints, business goals, and customer preferences. Not only does it minimize the total miles your package travels, but its real-time tracking feature helps you measure and maximize the carbon savings for future deliveries. Even if you are using Electric Vehicles (EV), you can plan order schedules based on charging pod locations, thereby improving EV fleet utilization.

Last-mile delivery: The x-factor for omnichannel success

When you want to create an identical brand experience in all channels, clusters of systems can kill your omnichannel retailing efforts. It is necessary to have a unified operational setup to manage your last-mile delivery and attain exceptional results in omnichannel retailing.

Locus dispatch management platform is an integrated technology to manage your last-mile delivery operations in a unified space. Its intelligent algorithms, improved routing capabilities, and control tower operations help make your current ride better than the previous one. Its past data insights help you predict and manage omnichannel delivery exceptions, enabling you to handle reattempts, returns, and canceled orders effectively.

Looking to make omnichannel shopping a seamless experience for your customers? Try the Locus Dispatch Management platform.