At a time when reputation is everything, location data can secure indispensable customer satisfaction, explains Emapsite’s Ben Ruhrmund.
It’s no secret that a company’s reputation – online or otherwise – can be won or lost by the speed and quality of its deliveries. And in a market where, in each of the last three years, the volume of parcels from online sales delivered in the UK was close to four billion,it pays to know how to stay one step ahead of the competition.
As many logistics, fulfilment and delivery companies are realising, the key is pinpoint-accurate location data.
Most location datasets won’t guide delivery drivers to exact order delivery locations. This results in unnecessary late and failed deliveries, which domino into wasted resources and bad customer reviews. Only datasets that merge UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number) and UDPRN (Unique Delivery Point Reference Number) location data to match postal addresses with exact, point-on-the-ground location coordinates can guarantee consistent delivery success.
Covering the basics
Issues often begin with incorrect delivery details.Sometimes incorrect addresses are entered on online order form submissions, and when that happens, it can often result in failed deliveries. Even when postage details are correct, they can still cause issues during the last mile of deliveries.
Typically, that’s because postcodes and addresses can fail to indicate with sufficient precision where an order needs to be delivered. When that’s the case, finding the correct place to deliver, even when the location of the delivery point is roughly indicated with the name of a house and the street it’s on, becomes time consuming and success of delivery is not guaranteed.
That issue is especially prevalent in rural areas where postcodes can stretch beyond horizons, and in dense urban areas where – unbeknown to delivery drivers – multiple addresses can share single delivery points. Postage rooms in large apartment blocks are a common case in point.
These issues are remediable, however, and their most effective fix is mercifully easy to implement. Specialist delivery location products can be installed on ecommerce websites where they’ll ensure all new orders have been assigned a deliverable address with a unique reference number and delivery point. Those same products can also be integrated with the navigation applications used by delivery drivers, which gives them the power to specify exact points of delivery, wherever they might be.
The dramatic reduction of undeliverable addresses combined with the identification of precise delivery locations results in a quicker, more efficient delivery service with vastly improved cost-effectiveness and the ability to produce consistent customer delivery satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is key
Online reviews have made the reputation of businesses more immediate, transparent and measurable than ever. As 74 percent of online shoppers (Total Retail, 2022) consider delivery the most important aspect of their online shopping customer experience, delivery satisfaction will often dictate whether customers review an ecommerce company favourably or negatively.
Traditional word of mouth reputation still carries enormous weight, too. It’s worth noting that 82 percent of customers (Capgemini, 2022) who are satisfied with a delivery service will recommend the retailer from which they purchased to friends and family. Considering the extent of the influence delivery satisfaction bears on reputation, efficient delivery processes have never been so important.
Six guidelines for success
1. Pinpoint the exact drop-off location of every delivery in order to streamline the final mile by using a UPRN- and UDPRN-powered location finder or installing one to augment the navigation application delivery drivers already use.
2. Delivery satisfaction begins during the order process – ensure that it’s easy for customers to enter their delivery address, and that the address look-up software that powers that form behind the scenes is efficient and functionally capable.
3. Prevent customers from entering non-existent delivery addresses by equipping online order forms with the power to detect undeliverable addresses and preventing order progression until the entry of an undeliverable address has been rectified.
4. Inaccurately defined delivery locations are a major cause of last mile delays and they are easily avoided by providing delivery drivers with an exact delivery location for every order.
5. Exact delivery location accuracy only remains exact if kept up to date: before choosing a delivery location finder, make sure all variables (such as locations, new roads or the reorder of existing road layouts, and the consolidation of multiple addresses) are regularly updated after purchase to account for topographical and address changes.
6. Ultra-accurate, cost-effective location finder products are a high return investment. Some offer the complete package for customer delivery satisfaction: pinpoint delivery location accuracy and the capacity for integration with Shopify, other online order form fill powering software, and leading navigation applications.
Ensuring a satisfying future
Because couriers and logistics & fulfilment companies often shoulder the responsibility of delivering orders for ecommerce retailers, the need to ensure customer delivery satisfaction is just as applicable to them. The reputation of their ecommerce clients is literally in their hands.
What’s more, if a courier or a logistics and fulfilment company is known for the speed, efficiency, and high rate of success of its delivery services, then enquiries from new clients will continue to flow in and existing clients will remain firmly on its books. If, on the other hand, its brand becomes associated with anything less, it’s likely to find itself losing business.
It all comes down to location data
Ultimately, getting the right address first time is critical for almost every single stage of the fulfilment and logistics process.
That means paying attention to everything from restricting sales and deliveries to defined geographic areas, planning sales and marketing processes by address and geographical area, and informing delivery routing schedules, to reducing missed or failed deliveries, minimising return fees or resupply costs, and deflecting reputational damage.
Because, with the right location finding solution in place, efficient delivery is assured, resulting in greatly increased customer satisfaction and reputational success.
Ben Ruhrmund is Enterprise Sales Lead at geospatial intelligence provider Emapsite.