The world of electronic commerce is saddling retailers with a whole new series of challenges, along with severe penalties when delivery targets are missed, Leong says. Consumers now have the option to pick their delivery location, forcing retailers to efficiently supply multiple options.
Home delivery is no longer necessarily the first choice of shoppers buying product over the internet. Many can’t be home to accept packages during carriers’ regular hours of operation. Additional pickup points, including lockers at retail locations, are the answer.
To cope with the additional complexity, retailers need to ensure the security of packages. Tracking and tracing systems can help, augmented by radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. They allow retailers to offer the same level of security with all delivery and pickup options.
“The opportunity is thriving for buyers to go somewhere and pick [orders] up,” Leong says. “There’s a shift toward putting the power in the hands of consumers, who can choose the mode of delivery – where, how and when they want it.”
For retailers and carriers, there’s a constant need to balance the need for cost control with the convenience of the customer. The dilemma applies to products, venues, delivery locations and price points for premium delivery services, says Leong.
Toughest of all is the “last-mile” delivery challenge, where retailers and carriers alike are subject to the final judgment of the consumer. Technology, especially as it relates to the surge in use of mobile devices, has to keep pace with that development, Leong says.
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