GUEST COMMENT Why retailers should treat the last mile as an experience, not a race 

The UK’s delivery market is poised to experience a remarkable surge, exceeding an astonishing $35.3bn by the decade’s end. This projection marks a substantial jump from the $18.3bn in revenue recorded in 2022. The driving force behind this rapid growth is the flourishing ecommerce landscape, which now constitutes more than a third of all UK retail sales. This expansion is further fuelled by the unwavering demand for convenient doorstep delivery services, writes Haissam Badr is the UK national freight manager for Aramex UK.

Haissam Badr, UK national freight manager for Aramex UK

In the past, the speed of deliveries served as a key differentiating factor that upheld the competitiveness of courier companies. However, with next-day and same-day delivery services becoming the new norm in the industry, retailers are grappling with the challenge of distinguishing themselves within a crowded marketplace.

The ecommerce boom and the modern consumer
The fact that consumers are progressively adopting ecommerce for their shopping requirements is widely recognised. As they populate their digital shopping carts, they confront numerous delivery alternatives at the checkout stage. By introducing an additional aspect of decision-making to their online shopping journey, influence is increasingly being transferred from the seller to the consumer. It’s never been more necessary for retailers to address consumer preferences and requirements beyond the sole availability of the desired merchandise.

Broadening the array of courier choices, including home delivery, direct-to-store delivery, or pick-up/drop-off (PUDO) points, represents positive advancements. However, what comes next after the payment has been processed successfully?

Email overload and the need for value
Every day, our inboxes are flooded with emails, ranging from order confirmations to delivery notifications courtesy of retailers and courier services. Undoubtedly, receiving confirmation that your item has reached the sorting hub brings a sense of relief, and knowing that it’s en route for delivery is always a little exciting. But whilst these emails are necessary for relaying valuable information, the sheer volume of messages we sometimes receive about every granular detail of a package’s trip from warehouse to doorstep can become burdensome – and reminiscent of spam.

Retailers are now at a juncture where they must reassess the significance of their email notifications. Their focus should shift towards providing updates that genuinely enrich the customer experience, rather than bombarding individuals with excessive and inconsequential communications.

Transforming the last mile experience
As delivery speeds achieve their peak, retailers need to expand their perspective beyond speed as a distinguishing factor. A genuinely satisfying last mile encounter encompasses transparency, precision, and timeliness in the delivery process. What customers truly desire is effortless package tracking, conveniently accessible through user-friendly applications or enhanced emails that provide up-to-the-minute updates. This experience hinges on technology, which has the potential to seamlessly merge order and delivery details, thereby simplifying the entire journey for the consumer.

Beyond speed: The rise of eco-conscious custom
To retain a customer base in an increasingly competitive ecommerce landscape, it’s imperative to synchronise delivery alternatives with their values, too. As consumers heighten their eco-awareness, sustainability is emerging as a pivotal element influencing their purchasing choices. Retailers must consider the environmental consequences of delivery options and provide ecologically sound transportation alternatives.

From electric delivery vans to ecargo bikes, eco-friendly means of transportation are gaining significant traction. Nearly half (43%) of shoppers would be willing to pay an additional pound or more for environmentally conscious delivery methods. As the UK places a heightened emphasis on transitioning to ‘green’ delivery modes, it won’t be long before this statistic tips toward the majority. Unless we can completely transform the paradigm by making eco-friendly delivery the standard choice.

Making the last mile count
Amid the prominent coverage of cost challenges and inflation, retailers are compelled to reconsider their strategies for captivating and maintaining their customer base. With preparations underway for another promising quarter, the journey towards success starts within the ecommerce realm and culminates in the final mile of delivery. An artfully constructed last mile encounter doesn’t just encourage customer allegiance, but also elevates a retailer’s brand perception in the midst of a fiercely competitive market.

Haissam Badr is the UK national freight manager for Aramex UK

Image Credits:
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