Delivery Experience Management (DEM): Retail’s New Weapon To Drive Customer Experience12 min read

Introduction

Low prices, fast shipping, and free returns are three must-haves for an online business to make the cut in today’s market.

With Amazon rewriting the eCommerce playbook and retailers having followed suit to stay competitive, the focus has now shifted to the quality of delivery experiences.

In order for businesses to thrive in today’s highly competitive eCommerce landscape, owning and crafting a stellar delivery experience has become essential, hence the pressing need for Delivery Experience Management (DEM).

Consider this.

There is a reason why Amazon is increasingly choosing to handle its deliveries in-house rather than depending on shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, or DHL for this purpose. Because it realizes that a poor delivery experience means a dissatisfied customer less inclined to purchase in the future.

The Post-Purchase Experience Gap

How a retailer handles an order post checkout is the post-purchase phase. The time starting from when the retailer ships a package to when it is in the hands of the customer defines the customer’s post-purchase experience.

Retail's Post-Purchase Experience Gap

Most eCommerce retail businesses leave no stone unturned to provide shoppers a stellar shopping experience until checkout. However, it is the post-purchase experience that is often a weak link.

In a typical online retail transaction, the customer adds the item they wish to buy to their shopping cart. On the checkout page, they select delivery speed and shipping service type. Once payment is made through a gateway, a confirmation email with order details is sent to them by the retailer.

Beyond this point, the retailer packs the ordered item and generates a shipping label for the parcels. Once the shipping carrier takes custody of the parcel, they share a tracking URL with the retailer, who then shares it with the customer.

Beyond this stage, shipping status information is periodically updated on the carrier’s tracking page, which the customer accesses to know of parcel status.

The truth unfortunately is that, regardless of how efficient shipping carriers are, between 8 and 10 percent of parcels inevitably get delayed. This results in a situation where a significant percentage of customers are set up for disappointment.

What doesn’t help is the fact that shipping carriers tend to withhold information about delivery mishaps from their tracking pages. And when delivery delays do happen, customers often point fingers at the retailer rather than at the shipping carrier.

This situation makes it imperative for retailers to hold their shipping carriers accountable and provide their customers the best possible post-purchase experience despite the challenges involved. Hence the need for Delivery Experience Management (DEM).

What is Delivery Experience Management?

Organizationally Delivery Experience Management (DEM) sits at the very intersection of onsite customer experience, post-purchase customer experience, and last-mile order fulfillment.

What Delivery Experience Management (DEM) Is

Delivery Experience Management (DEM) is the process of being proactive in ensuring that your customers receive their orders on-time and how they expect. It also involves taking action as required to correct issues in the last mile and constantly engaging customers to validate brand promises.

DEM is all about offering each of your customers a memorable last-mile shipping experience that not merely satisfies but also delights and makes them advocates of your brand. 

DEM involves aspects such as gaining real-time visibility into shipments in transit, proactively resolving issues that customers face when awaiting their parcels, engaging with customers in the last mile, providing an on-brand delivery experience, and improving overall customer satisfaction by making use of data-driven insights.

But why does your retail business in particular need DEM?

Why Does Your Business Need Delivery Experience Management?

DEM, still largely untapped, is sure to provide you a competitive advantage and allow your hitherto unprecedented control over your last mile. Here are only a few reasons why your business needs DEM:

1.Gain Control of Your Customers' Delivery Experience Like Never Before

Shoppers are an unforgiving lot. Any misstep in the last-mile delivery process results in fingers being pointed at the retailer rather than at the shipping carrier, even if the blame lies with the latter. Consequently, the onus lies with the retailer to ensure their customers have a memorable delivery experience.

A DEM suite allows you to do just that with tools to enhance visibility of parcels across carriers and communication at critical moments with customers.

2.Improve Customer Retention and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Employing the DEM methodology in your processes is sure to have a definite impact on the long-term profitability of your business. It allows you to take a definite lead among your competitors at a time when quality of delivery experience is being acknowledged as the critical battleground of the day, what with Amazon leading the pack on this front as well.

DEM provides a definite path toward increased retention and profits for your business as it increases the lifetime value of each of your customers. This is particularly important in the context of spiraling customer acquisition costs. Surveys have consistently shown that it costs at least five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

3.Increase Brand Advocacy Online

A disgruntled customer is a customer who takes to your social media channels to vent their ire, thereby dissuading prospects intending to purchase from you. After all, most prospective online shoppers stop by online reviews before making their purchasing decisions. 

DEM helps reverse this situation and turns your customers into your advocates online. After all,  a brand that engages with its customers using the DEM methodology is sure to stand out as being different and make heads turn. Consequently, even what started out as a sub-optimal delivery experience for a customer can be turned into an overall positive experience for them by engaging with them in the last mile using the convenient communication tools that the DEM methodology provides.

DEM is chock-a-block filled with benefits for your business. Read on to explore some of these.

What are the Benefits of Delivery Experience Management?

1.Real-Time Visibility into Shipments in Transit

Shipping carriers are notoriously opaque with data on their operations. Consequently, retail businesses are provided only a very curtailed view by shipping carriers of their parcels in transit. Also, there is an incentive for shipping carriers to project their operations in a positive light.

It is here that a good third-party DEM solution can make all the difference. A good DEM solution is capable of affording retail businesses unprecedented real-time visibility into their parcels in transit. This way businesses can gain an unbiased view of all their parcels in transit both as a whole and granularly.

The best DEM solution is capable of affording a real-time view of all parcels in transit across different shipping carriers and also working predictively to flag last-mile issues even before they arise. This arms businesses with all the actionable information required to thwart a possible negative delivery issue for the customer even before it arises, thus enabling customer loyalty over time.

One of the best aspects of a DEM suite’s real-time tracking feature is the ability to highlight only those parcels that require immediate attention. 

2.Proactive Delivery Issue Resolution in the Last Mile

The last mile is a perennial Achilles heel for most businesses. This is particularly the case when a business attempts to scale up its operations. The fact that shipping carriers are often opaque with data about delays and other service failures only complicates matters further.

 

If your business gets to know of a delayed parcel from a customer, it is probably already too late for you to make a meaningful impact on their delivery experience.

This is where a third-party DEM solution can make a major difference. By providing unbiased real-time insights on the status of each of your parcels in transit, it can prepare you to respond in time should a specific parcel face a delay. Even better, a DEM suite like LateShipment.com flags parcels that are likely to be delayed well before the fact, providing you an opportunity to inform customers in time and maybe provide a discount coupon for a future purchase to make up for the delay.

This is a surefire way for your business to demonstrate to each customer that they are valued, thereby preventing the possibility of them switching over to a competitor. 

The benefits that DEM offers your business also extend to your customer support teams. With spiraling shipment volumes, support agents are having to field an ever-increasing number of WISMO calls. This robs them of the time to tend to product-related concerns and upsell or cross-sell to customers. Using a DEM solution considerably reduces the number of calls about parcel whereabouts that a support agent has to face and frees up their time to tend to product-specific issues. Over time, this helps improve the scores of every member of the support team for which they will be thankful to you!

3.Increased Customer Engagement

Customer loyalty is a bulwark against declining revenue, and DEM is all about increasing customer engagement and loyalty over time.

Traditionally, eCommerce retail businesses have lost control of a customer’s post-purchase experience once a parcel has been handed over to a shipping carrier. Beyond this point, it is the shipping carrier’s tracking page that the customer visits for information on the whereabouts of their parcel.

The significant downside to this arrangement is the fact that shipping carriers are not as invested in the success of a specific parcel from a specific retailer as the retailer themselves. Consequently, they tend to treat the parcel only as a constituent of a larger consignment.

Delivery Experience Management corrects this imbalance and provides retail businesses the ability to engage with their customers in the last mile through automated and customizable email updates, SMSes, and more. This way, retail businesses are able to make more of a mark on their customers and, indeed, delight them.

DEM Increased Customer Engagement

4.Ability to Provide On-Brand Post-Purchase Experiences

If your last mile is left solely to your shipping carrier to handle, you will miss out on opportunities aplenty to provide an on-brand post-purchase experience.

The truth of the matter is that the average customer tracks their parcel on the shipping carrier’s tracking page at least 8 times post purchase. This is a golden opportunity for brand promotion that is being missed by the vast majority of retail businesses. Consequently, it is the shipping carrier’s brand, rather than the retailer’s brand, that becomes imprinted in the minds of customers.

DEM puts an end to this situation. It allows retail businesses like yours to ensure brand recall in the last mile and beyond.

Providing a customizable branded tracking experience is the forte of the best DEM solutions. This way, it is possible for a customer to track their parcels within your website rather than being taken to the tracking page of a shipping carrier.

Providing a custom branded tracking experience opens up upselling and cross-selling opportunities for your business, thereby boosting your bottom line over time. Additionally linking your tracking page to your Google Analytics accounts allows you to gain a wealth of data about how your brand is perceived by your customers.

Providing an on-brand post-checkout experience to customers is also achieved by DEM’s ability to provide for customizable email and SMS notifications.

5.Improved Customer Satisfaction with Data-Driven Insights

DEM provides access to a wealth of unbiased data on the last-mile performance of your shipping partner(s); data hitherto unavailable to retail businesses like yours; data that shipping carriers have always been hesitant to share with businesses.

Making use of the rich data that DEM provides, areas requiring focus can be identified and fixed. Existing processes can be augmented or changed entirely.

These measures inevitably lead to higher CSAT and NPS scores, reliable indicators of growing customer loyalty.

What are Some Use Cases for Delivery Experience Management?

DEM has a multitude of use cases for varied organizational roles. Regardless of whether you are in the logistics department or are a customer support representative, a quality DEM tool can make all the difference toward boosting your productivity.

Here are some use cases for one such tool, our very own dedicated Delivery Experience Management suite:

  1. Gain real-time, granular visibility into shipments in transit across carriers.
  2. Keep support reps on top of delivery issues using a dedicated customer support dashboard that displays delivery issues as soon as they are detected.
  3. Proactively handle delivery exceptions using our communication solution that helps send customized messages to specific customers regarding delivery status.
  4. Keep customers informed of delivery status through automated email and SMS notifications that are triggered and sent to customers when their parcels reach specific events during the shipping process.
  5. Provide an on-brand delivery experience by providing a branded tracking page that customers can visit for information on parcel status.

The beauty of a good DEM solution lies in the fact that it allows you to enjoy all its benefits without disrupting existing workflows.

How can DEM Software Integrate With Your Existing Solutions?

Adopting the DEM methodology is bound to simplify workflows and boost organizational productivity. Quality DEM solutions are built from the ground up to integrate with your pre-existing solutions. For instance, LateShipment.com’s DEM suite is designed to seamlessly integrate with most shipping carriers, eCommerce platforms, order management platforms, CRMs, and helpdesk tools.

Final Word

In spite of the sky-high costs, tedious process, and accumulated complications, last-mile delivery will always remain the decisive leg of the supply chain process.

At LateShipment.com, our focus has remained steadfastly on the last mile, typically the part of the logistics chain that is the most opaque.

LateShipment.com is the world’s only logistics cloud tool that helps businesses of every size reduce shipping costs by up to 20% and provide memorable delivery experiences to customers at scale.

The best part is, it takes less than 2 minutes to see LateShipment.com in action.

COVID-19 Note: To help tide over the current crisis, we are giving all businesses full and free access to our Delivery Experience Management Platform till June 30, 2020.

The value we add to businesses is most evident when experienced first-hand.

It’s that simple!