Australians have developed a massive appetite for online buying. Many people only occasionally hit the shops these days. Instead, they much prefer the ease, precision and solitude of online purchasing. This trend has flourished even more since COVID-19 stamped its will on our lives.
Research from December 2015 from Roy Morgan showed that Australians spent an estimated $37.8 billion over the internet, with around four in ten people buying at least one product online during an average four-week period. That's a pretty significant number when you note that our population then was under 24 million.
The momentum has grown exponentially over recent years. The development of smart shopping apps that display goods in a mobile phone-friendly way, with options to save payment data securely has made shopping online incredibly easy. That little device that so many of us carry around in our handbags and pockets has become the most popular marketplace tool for online sellers.
It is difficult to remember a time when we didn't use the internet to run our lives.
This has created opportunities for businesses small and large to disturb the markets in which they operate. For small to medium companies it makes sense to engage a third party logistics provider, so they can focus on investing their time and money into their product and marketing. However, there is a problem that they may face over which they have little direct control.
So what is the problem?
It's all about the courier delivery driver - the last person to hold your customer's online purchase in their hand before it is delivered. If the correct address is not showing on the freight label, the online purchase cannot be delivered. It is incredible how many people don't remember to include all of their address information when purchasing online. Also, if you want a signature at the delivery point, it follows that the recipient of the parcel needs to be physically present.
To quote David McLean, who is the founder and CEO of Hubbed "A major thing that all courier companies and logistics companies out there deal with when it comes to e-commerce is trying to solve that last mile problem."
There are some smart solutions to the 'delivery failed' show-stopping clunk. David McLean's take on this: "The costs are really high particularly as sometimes up to 30% of people aren't home when their parcels are being delivered and there is a great amount of dissatisfaction from the consumer's perspective when they receive those failed delivery cards."
David and his team's solution at Hubbed is to arrange a secure place to leave the parcel for collection and leaving a card for the recipient with details of where to collect their parcel. Smoothing the way to a smile is how I think of it.
There are questions you should ask before engaging a 3PL provider:
- How does their system handle addresses? Consider what might happen if your 3PL provider's system cannot accept long addresses, international addresses or unusual addresses. For example, did you know that 'Cnr of Smith and Jones Streets' does not meet the acceptable standard as an address any more? Or if the delivery address is a 20-unit building on the same site? Same street address, but you'd better get your unit/level information correct, or your delivery may not happen. Does your 3PL provider's system allow for this?
- What courier companies does your 3PL provider use?
- Do they have a creative parcel delivery option in place? Even if they do, wouldn't it be better to capture exact address information at the source so that these options do not need to be activated?
If you are a small to medium business and you want to join what is now the online norm, don't let last mile delivery problems ruin an otherwise efficient order-to-consumer experience.
Choose your 3PL partner carefully.