Meeting Consumers Where They Are in 2023

By Dennis Moon

Chief Operating Officer, Roadie, a UPS company 

Today, retailers need to understand their product is only half of what they’re selling. The other half is the delivery experience. Letting customers decide when and how they receive their orders increases buyers’ satisfaction and retailers’ revenue in the long run, and often the short run as well.

A key trend for 2023: We’re used to consumers always wanting everything freer and faster, but increasingly, shoppers are prioritizing optionality. For retailers to compete, they need to give customers a full menu of delivery options to fit their preferences at the point of purchase, each and every time... no matter where they live, what they buy or when they need it. And what they want can be different for every transaction — they want that optionality. They want the freedom to choose when they get a purchase, how they get it and how much they want to pay, all at point of sale. The same shopper will make different decisions for different purchases.

Knowing how to meet customers where they are (and putting the infrastructure in place to support that) is what will set smart retailers apart from the competition in 2023.

There’s both a carrot and a stick. Allowing shoppers to determine their preferred delivery schedule – and how much they’re willing to pay to get it on that timetable – offers a more personalized experience both in-store and online leading to higher customer satisfaction. But if a retailer doesn’t offer the right option to the right shopper, they’ll simply find what they need somewhere else.

The good news for retailers is with the right mix of last-mile partners, you can offer a mix of delivery options (including ultrafast delivery) without having to compromise on reliability.

Diverse solutions to meet varying delivery expectations

Moving delivery volume from storefronts to warehouses

Increasingly, we find that retailers are cautious about being single-threaded in the last mile. They’re building a team of complimentary delivery partners, including a traditional carrier, a crowdsourced network and 3PLs to keep up with customer demand.

A crowdsourced driver network can make same-day or scheduled deliveries that a traditional hub-and-spoke carrier can’t make as efficiently. The best crowdsourced options can also handle last-minute orders, or efficiently send products that are bulky, heavy or oversized. It’s one thing to deliver a pair of pants in Phoenix, but can you deliver a firepit in Fargo?

Retailers are increasingly rethinking the process of picking, packing, staging and delivering. We expect 2023 to bring growth in “dock-to-door" deliveries – retailers fulfilling online orders directly from warehouses.

At Roadie, we’ve already started working with global digital sports platform Fanatics on a new partnership that’s turning legacy logistics facilities into mini-distribution centers. Fanatics is leveraging its warehouse and distribution center footprint to fulfill customer orders with local next-day delivery powered by Roadie. Together, we’ve ushered in a new era in the logistics and delivery industry by helping retailers get products to customers faster than ever.

It all boils down to putting the customer first. Knowing how to meet customers where they are (and putting the infrastructure in place to support that) is what will set smart retailers apart from the competition in 2023.