The pandemic has created a spike in demand for delivery. Businesses have responded, but they need to have a sound strategy for what comes next. Changes in consumer behaviours and motivations may be lasting, and last-mile delivery will be more important than ever.
Growth in last-mile delivery had been strong for several years, posing challenges for businesses but also driving steady innovation and progress. Then came the pandemic, the steady expansion gave way to a sudden, chaotic explosion in demand. Businesses with owned delivery systems suddenly had a big advantage, and they set about adding capacity, extending hours, even branching out into more products. Businesses that did not have their delivery capabilities leaned heavily on third-party gig economy services as a primary channel to reach customers. The system saw strains unlike any that had been seen before.
To thrive, businesses now need a sound approach that takes account of how much has shifted, and how much of the change will be lasting. The initial pandemic response, with businesses scrambling for quick fixes to meet surging demand, has mostly run its course, and the economy is reopening. But the last mile will not be going back to its pre-pandemic state.
Some aspects of the shift in customer priorities from convenience toward safety and from wants to basic needs may persist. And subtler changes in customer behaviours and motivations, loyalties, and habits also must be taken into account.
With last-mile delivery a bigger part of the ongoing business plan, there’s a need for closer attention to the customer experience that arrives along with a bag of groceries or a hot meal. In other words, it’s time to start solving for the challenges of the last mile that were exposed as everyone rushed to find quick solutions during the pandemic.
Businesses may be moving toward a delivery-of-everything world. Already consumers have grown used to the idea of having items delivered in hours not days. Are there ways to create a better experience than just dropping off the product?
Important trends were driving growth in last-mile before the pandemic pushed more demand into the delivery channel and accelerated the change in this area. In this light, it becomes more vital than ever for every business to solve the challenges and build the positive experiences that can make their last-mile delivery model successful
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