While most retailers understand the importance of providing a consistently positive customer experience, many struggle with legacy technology that fails to address customer experience needs, according to a new study, Redefining Final Mile Delivery in the Age of the Customer, released on February 14.

The report, conducted by Convey and eft Supply Chain & Logistics Business Intelligence, surveyed 200 retail supply chain professionals, examined the importance of customer experience in final-mile delivery, and the its impact on supply chain performance and decision-making.

"We want to invest in a situation where if a customer orders patio furniture from us they’re not thinking about the delivery, they’re not thinking about the set-up, they’re thinking about the party they’re going to have that weekend, “explained Jim Hourigan, COO at BuildDirect, who participated in the survey. “We want to invest in the types of things to make that experience happen."

The survey data reveals that:

Retailers understand the importance of the customer experience

  • More than 83% confirm customer experience is a company-wide goal, with nearly 56% reporting customer experience measurement is key to operational decisions.
  • In addition, 67% say gaining greater control of customer experience is crucial or very important to delivery.

Current technologies are not addressing CX needs

  • Only 3% say current systems “fully support efforts to improve the customer experience” while more than 66% report existing systems do nothing to improve customer experience.

Supply chain leaders are integrating customer experience into their operations.

  • Nearly 72% say improving access to data for in-transit shipments across consumer service, operations and logistics teams is crucial or very important.
  • Similarly, 70% confirm it is either crucial or very important to improve “bidirectional communication” with consumers regarding their delivery expectations, package tracking and resolution of delivery options.
  • Another 70% agree that “the ability to take dynamic and proactive action on in-transit issues (i.e., re-routing or expediting shipments, communicating efficiently with carriers),” is crucial or very important.

The desire to improve CX is often at odds with traditional operational metrics

  • More than 50% say reducing costs and improving margins is still crucial, with another 28% saying it is very important.

“Based on what we’ve heard  the future of delivery is less likely to look like flying drones and more like the service you’d expect from a great concierge,” said Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey.

“Making this a reality means thinking from the outside-in about what customers want and building that into your business processes – so the more transparent, proactive and flexible your supply chain is, the better the experience will be,” Taylor added.