Differentiating Yourself through Flexible Delivery Models

Young man Delivering Package to customer at home. Delivery

In today’s rapidly changing retail environment, stores are continuously looking for new ways to differentiate themselves. With greater commoditisation and cost consciousness, one of the biggest differentiators for a retailer is customer experience. Flexible Delivery Models offered by retailers will enhance customers shopping experience.

In a trend that this Nielson report calls the ‘Return of the Milkman,’ there has been a resurgence of the home-delivery model across the globe. Of course, this time, it is far more complicated because not only can people pick up the phone and order products, but they can also do it online or through an app. So, while the milkman is back, this time, he needs to be tremendously digital savvy!

Customers today increasingly demand flexible delivery models and the ability to cater to this demand can determine a retailer’s success or failure. 13% of global respondents say they’re already using a virtual store; 58% are willing to use them when they become available, as per Nielson. Some customers want to be able to “click and collect,” which essentially means that they order online and then pick up from a store or other location. Others look for drive-thru or curbside pickup options after ordering online.

What does this mean for retailers?

For retailers, enabling these functionalities is possible through technology, but it also means putting your house in order first on the technology infrastructure front. Here are some ways to make this a reality:

Customer Engagement

Offering a seamless and flexible delivery model requires features such as multichannel integration, in-store sales support, social media integration and auto checkouts in order to offer a well-rounded customer experience. Retailers are seeking a change from the traditional use of POS and ERP, towards integrating multiple technologies and platforms to deliver the difference to their customers.

Smart Operations

The future of retail is about large fragmented markets, highly differentiated products & customer segments, crowded competition, and increased costs of doing business. Therefore, retailers need to make their operations smarter, faster and leaner to ensure quick response and profitability and to support demands for flexible delivery models. Functionalities such as optimized and unified inventory, just in time Inventory and customer-led merchandizing are key.

Focus on Technology ROI

Getting an IT partner who can not only provide the solutions but can customize and implement the various technologies is vital to the ROI of the investments to ensure profitability in the face of flexible delivery models. Retailers seek integration of multiple platforms, Agile rollouts and use of futuristic technologies to better support business goals.

eCommerce and newer delivery models are changing the way we live and shop. Allowing customers the convenience to get products delivered as they’d like has a significant impact on quality of life and consequently on customer satisfaction. Therefore, investing in flexible delivery models could be an important indicator of success.

Would you like to assess your technology readiness to offer flexible delivery models? Write to us at milind.g@sonata-software.com and we’d love to discuss.

Milind Gehlot

Article written by

Product Manager, Dynamics 365& Brick & Click at Sonata Software

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