By Nalin Chopra, Sr. Manager, Product Management, WorkWave
Transportation, logistics, and last-mile delivery planning have evolved to become much more than just getting items from one place to another. Constant innovation has created a landscape of shifting expectations for retailers, couriers, and recipients alike. Knowing what’s on the horizon in your industry will help you better prepare your business for inevitable changes and, in turn, remain competitive. Here’s what you can anticipate moving into 2020!
Continuous Change in Consumer Expectations
There’s no denying that customers’ online ordering expectations have had a major shift in recent years. Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping has become the norm for quick shipping. In fact, 62% of U.S. consumers say that their idea of “fast shipping” is two days or less.1 With that mentality, it’s easy to see why other sellers and couriers are pushing similar offers; Googling just about any product brings up a carousel of product ads near the top of the search results page, most of which highlight fast or free shipping alongside prices and review scores.
In this on-demand climate, it’s only reasonable that we’ll see a continuing change in customer expectations in the coming year. In addition to expecting no- or low-cost shipping as the norm, you can bet on consumers coming to expect transparency from beginning to end, better customer service, and more advanced apps and analytics when it comes to receiving their goods.
Uber has created an environment of transparency with its services, and that extends to Uber Freight. As many consumers—particularly millennials, who are increasingly taking on key roles in an array of industries and businesses—are already familiar with that transparency from Uber’s ride-sharing services, they’ll demand the same when it comes to shipping, regardless of which courier they’re working with.
That same tech-savviness in today’s consumers inevitably demands that transportation and logistics companies continue to evolve their apps and user experiences this year, too. The need for instant gratification means that many users won’t hesitate to seek delivery services elsewhere if they encounter a rough user experience in your app, so smoothing things out will be key in 2020. With artificial intelligence, you can learn more about user behavior to guide users through a more seamless experience with benefits like targeted search results, pushed promotions, and one-touch ordering.
Autonomous Vehicles and Drones
Self-driving cars might not be parked in every driveway just yet, but the fact is that autonomous vehicles have fully transitioned out of science fiction and onto the road. As this technology becomes more reliable, last-mile delivery will become the ideal industry for autonomous vehicles to thrive. The same is true of drones, which have become more commonplace and are posed to reduce congestion on roadways by bringing packages directly to consumers’ doorsteps.
While neither of these methods is seasoned enough to be the norm in the industry just yet, both are positioned to be the preferred method for delivery companies and couriers to get packages and parcels from point A to point B while keeping costs low.
In 2020, plan on major companies continuing to invest in autonomous vehicles and drones. Expect to see more frequent experiments, and possibly widespread trials, with automated deliveries as these companies continue to pave the way toward driverless deliveries.
Social Media and Omnichannel Presence
Today’s consumers are accustomed to a degree of saturation when it comes to communication, and this extends to the companies they do business with as they are all communicating across a range of apps, platforms, and social media channels. Having an email address and a phone number for customer support simply doesn’t cut it anymore; expect to see companies that make themselves accessible to their customers in a wide range of ways flourish in 2020.
With consumers today spending more of their time on their mobile devices and social media apps, it’s not entirely unreasonable that they expect to be able to communicate with you in the same format for their customer service needs. When you ensure you’re able to communicate with your consumers via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter, you make yourself accessible and earn a reputation as being responsive; they expect you to be active in the same spaces that they are. This is particularly important for e-commerce companies and brick and mortar stores that sell online since communication plays a key role in building trust and establishing a personal connection with customers who may not have the opportunity for a face-to-face experience.
Are there other changes you expect to see within the transportation and logistics industry next year? Be sure to tag us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you think the next big thing will be!