The e-commerce landscape has changed, and deliveries mounted across countries due to Covid-19. Moreover, it has extended the scope of e-commerce including new firms, consumer segments (e.g. elderly), and products (e.g. groceries). For example, while in the United States the share of e-commerce in total retail had only slowly increased between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2020 (from 9.6% to 11.8%), it spiked to 16.1% between the first and second quarter of 2020(1)
The next interesting trend is the google search for the word “delivery” – it almost doubled in some countries (Figure1).
While these trends offer new opportunities for e-commerce firms, increased demand for deliveries adds challenges to delivery planning and management operations. A growing number of incumbents and some sectors’ saturation also require continuing investments to improve operational efficiency.
Why You Should Integrate Route Planning Software
In the era of growing demand and growing competition, customer service is one of the ways companies can set themselves apart and make their particular brand more appealing to customers.
There are several ways to do this, but route planning software should be seriously considered. Unless you have a regular customer base there’s no way to tell who will buy from you and from where. Route planning software can be easily programmed for any order so that drivers have the most efficient route for delivery.
Track your drivers
Programming the best routes for your drivers is advantageous, it means your deliveries arrive in the most direct way and avoid obstacles like traffic or difficult road conditions. However, you only gain these benefits if your drivers stick to the prearranged plan. And it’s no good if they make unscheduled stops.
For these reasons and more it’s advisable to track your drivers on their routes. With good route planning software, this is possible. The software uses GPS tracking to geo-locate your drivers in real-time. You can check they are on their route, what speed they’re going at, and their estimated arrival time.
Have null failed deliveries
One of the main issues e-commerce businesses have when delivering items to customers, is the safe and successful delivery of the item. Often a customer will not be home or the delivery will be unsuccessful for some other reason. With route planning software your drivers can be tracked, not only by you but also by your customers. This means customers are given regular updates on the status of their delivery increasing the chances of their availability.
Saving money in your distribution network is all about efficiency. When items are out for delivery to customers you have a schedule and an idea of how long they will take and how productive your enterprise can be. This is the best estimate; the reality is you often have to plan for delays due to traffic, diversions, and customer availability.
Route planning software cuts down on these inefficiencies and makes your business more productive, saving you money. Imagine if you could more efficiently plan your delivery schedule and have confidence that the real-time routes are the fastest and most effective; your best estimate becomes more realistic.
Improve your company’s reputation
To stand out in a crowded marketplace you need to have a USP for your products, you also need to have excellent customer service. With so much competition around the standard of customer service along with customers, the expectation is higher than ever. With route planning software you can improve your company’s reputation for customer service excellence.
With the e-commerce industry growing all the time the need to deliver excellent customer service and stand out is critical. Route planning software not only helps you meet customer’s expectations, it also improves your productivity through efficiency. Pre-identify the best routes for drivers to travel, avoid common obstacles, and maintain excellent standards with effective monitoring.
About the Author
Vardan Markosyan is the CEO at Less Platform.
He spent decades of research and consultancy on business process optimization and system design.
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