Depending on the study, two-fifths or more of customers won’t buy again from an online brand if they have a poor delivery experience. Tom Enright, vice president and analyst for Gartner, speaking last month at the Gartner Supply Chain Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, said 5% of all last-mile deliveries are failed deliveries.
FarEye, a global software-as-a-service last-mile logistics platform, has said that 36.8% of consumers have changed their opinion of a brand due to a bad delivery experience, and 38.9% won’t give that brand a second chance.
A 2018 Convey survey of 1,500 shoppers found the numbers even higher: 98% said that shipping impacts their brand loyalty, and 84% were unlikely to return to a brand after just a single negative delivery experience.
The first mile of success
Regardless of where the final number lies, the last mile has now become the first mile of success. That is why FarEye is launching its Last Mile Mandate this month.
Judd Marcello, chief marketing officer for FarEye, told Modern Shipper that the mandate has been largely internal but would become a public initiative this month complete with a speaker series, website and other content. FarEye has identified the tagline for the public initiative as “First choice for Last Mile.”
“The elements we are talking about in the mandate are largely objective, they are not really about FarEye,” Marcello said. “We want to look at this from an industry perspective.”
Marcello noted that the last mile has become a key part of the consumer experience, yet too many companies don’t put enough focus on it.
“If you are a consumer and you get stuff delivered to you and you get an email that it is going to be delivered at this day and at this time, and it doesn’t get delivered, the first finger you point to is the brand,” he said, adding that the fault may not lie with the brand yet that is who suffers the reputational harm. “For a company to be customer-centric today, they need to think of themselves as a distribution and logistics company.”
The new customer experience
Marcello said brands have traditionally focused the customer experience “around the buying activity,” but now the “at-home delivery has become part of the customer experience.”
For FarEye, the Last Mile Mandate is more than just a marketing slogan; it is part of the company’s DNA and based on the beliefs “that the company was founded on.”
“There are marketing stunts that marketers use all the time,” Marcello said. “Stunts and gimmicks are part of marketing. This is not what this is. This is as much a part of the internal DNA. … We put a lot of time around this mandate and we shared it with the entire company recently and the overall response was tremendous.”
Calling the external mandate part of a “consumer story,” Marcello reiterated that it is not a FarEye-only effort, but rather one designed to help “our customers improve [service] and enhance brand loyalty.”
“It’s a big initiative for us. It’s not just a tagline, it’s a fundamental play,” he said.
The last mile is going through a revolution of sorts. Whether it is drones, lockers or curbside pickup, brands and carriers are developing the future of the last mile today. Marcello noted that for FarEye, the last mile begins earlier than just tracking that delivery vehicle to the customer’s doorstep. With a focus on visibility beginning in the middle mile, FarEye is trying to ensure the consumer outcome is controllable by the brand and meets the consumer’s expectations.
“I think what is most important when we go into a relationship with a customer is the end game, what are you trying to accomplish?” he said.
Orchestration of the entire process, especially when the brand outsources delivery, is important, as is managing the experience.
“This idea of a branded experience [is important] because if you are a consumer and you order something from brand A, you want to have the experience of talking with brand A through the entire experience. You don’t want to be talking to the delivery company,” Marcello said.
FarEye’s Last Mile Mandate is part of the overall experience as it seeks to provide the guidance retailers and brands need to create a branded and successful delivery experience every time.
“The key message in the mandate is this is very much an objective view in the market,” Marcello said. “We really hope to be a source of truth for people, what they need to do to win in the last mile.”