Guest Blogger Ann Grackin is the CEO of ChainLink Research, a thought leader in Supply Chain Management. With all the buzz about same day, it is time to look at the time of delivery issue.  

Though same day will be popular with some consumers, the real issue is: is your logistics process up to meeting the customer’s expectation, no matter what the service delivery expectation? We (ChainLink Research) recently wrote a research report where we looked across the whole global market. Our research included many Descartes customer cases to review the variety of methods—from B2C same day grocery or B2B service response delivery across the world, to free shipping multi-day (or longer) time frames.

Home delivery has become an intense competitive issue that retailers and service providers must respond to. Many companies are researching and implementing improved methods in order to meet customer expectations and stay in step with the competition.

Some interesting conclusions we made from exploring both the companies that are raising the bar on home delivery, the technologies they use as well as many consumer surveys on consumer requirements:

1.  Scheduling is a collaborative decision between the provider and the consumer in that both have goals they need to meet.  Incenting the consumer to make a decision that reduces the cost of delivery or actually offers revenue is a very effective method for the providers.

2. Most consumers will opt for lower price than same day- but they want an agreement made for the provider to meet that whatever the ‘deal’ is.

3. Same day costs more for the provider and the customers.   Time sensitive service contracts such as auto or service repair costs are built into the service contracts or cost of goods sold.  Analyzing this before you set up your pricing and service options will preserve profits later on.

4.  Much of the home delivery is what is called attended delivery, which requires someone to be home at the time of arrival.  To make that work, it requires more than ecommerce and routing software, but software features such as automated delivery confirmation and mobile communications not only between the driver and the dispatch, but between the driver and the consumers.

5. In-home/office service models need to be thought through as part of the overall business model based on a variety of factors such as competition, customer, products offered, pricing and profit.  A cross functional decision-making endeavor can assure the model works for the customer and the providers.

Home delivery, for the businesses who offer this service, is a make or break proposition. If done poorly it may not only lose a long term customer but also it will cost the provider more to make amends. Conversely if done well, it is not only a customer delight, but builds loyalty. In both instances consumers are more likely to talk about the service delivery than the actual products they received in social settings. Direct and long term benefits accrue to companies who get serious about making home delivery an exceptional customer experience.