The rising trends in same-day, next-day and express deliveries in retail are keeping retailers on their toes all the time. The cycle of “pick-pack-schedule-deliver” has become more complex and resource-demanding with the increase in order volumes, complex supply chains, evolving customer demands, and fluctuating markets. A slip or delay in a single step can evolve into a snowball affecting the delivery ETAs, customer experience, and overall profitability.
As the deliveries in retail are a function of multiple variables (multiple parties, vehicles, steps, etc.), it is hard to optimize them manually. Implementing AI/ML-powered automation, however, can change the game entirely, ensuring improved CX, reduced operational costs, seamless collaboration, and efficient optimization.
Below, we discuss four awesome hacks which can supercharge your retail deliveries, help you unlock operational excellence, and amplify your revenue.
Optimizing rider management can help retailers improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. Additionally, it can help to reduce the risk of accidents, increase riders’ productivity and reduce the turnover rate.
AI-powered automation platforms can track riders’ locations and progress in real-time to optimize routes and ensure timely deliveries, and schedule riders’ shifts and routes as per multiple optimization constraints. Retailers can also provide the riders with real-time updates and communication tools to keep them informed of changes and delays and monitor and track rider performance in real-time as well.
Intelligent automation platforms for retail automate the order allocation process to ensure efficiency and higher profitability. They also make it easier to work with multiple 3PLs and manage them via a unified interface. Retailers can set specific parameters for configuring the automated order allocation routines and 3PL selection for specific types of shipments, deliveries, areas, and more.
This helps reduce the engineering requirements to onboard, manage and work with multiple 3PL partners and efficiently manage the order surge or decline without affecting the cost or speed of operations.
Managing NDRs in a smart manner can help reduce the overall cost of operations. Smart automation platforms ensure this by automating the return pickups in real-time and allocating them to a rider as per the optimization rules set by the managers. Further, the NDR statuses are standardized, which means that a rider has to choose from the set of specific reasons for non-delivery to proceed with the next task.
The reasons marked by the rider are automatically sent as an alert or notification to the end customer for authentication and validation. Thus, retailers can keep a check on the reasons for non-delivery and ensure highly efficient and optimized returns.
Fake delivery attempts and delivery re-attempts/cancellations owing to customer unavailability not only incur higher operational costs to the retailers but also affect the overall customer experience. Legacy retail logistics and delivery management systems offer no way to manage these disruptions.
On the other hand, smart retail logistics platforms come with automated validation and authentication checks for all the crucial events in the retail delivery ecosystem, such as order pickup, in-scans, transportation milestones, delivery, etc. Hence, if a rider tries to deviate from any expected behavior, such as system-suggested routes, delivery routines, etc., the managers would automatically get a notification.
Further, the automation solutions also identify the mock GPS locations to tackle fake delivery attempts. The riders won’t be able to proceed with a new delivery task or end the current delivery until the NDR (non-delivery reason) submitted by the customer is verified. Also, delivery would be marked complete only after submitting the OTP shared by the customer.
Apart from the benefits shared here, the AI-powered retail logistics automation platforms can help reduce fake delivery attempts by 23%, improve deliveries-per-day-per-driver by 22%, reduce cash handling cost by 11%, and increase delivery success rate by 12% to reduce ND and RTO costs. With such critical gains and immense improvement in operations, retailers can definitely experience happier customers, increased revenue, and smarter scaling.