The choices available and the services offered by the postal and logistics industry have increased exponentially: from lockers distributed around the city to home delivery with packages arriving at your doorstep.
The strategic direction on what to invest, what to offer, and how, can make the difference between failure and success. This recent news from InPost Group is a testimony of what is happening and the current evolution of delivery methods and preferences.
The industry is becoming crowded and no delivery method is yet prevailing. We will probably remain with a variety of services available and the success will be down to the correct strategy applied. Whatever the option selected, the recipient experience should remain the main focus, ensuring convenience, choice, and control.
Let’s consider lockers and home delivery. The approach and the choice between the two varies depending on specific circumstances and requirements. There are many points and elements that differentiate one another and it is good to take a closer look at them to understand their functionalities, advantages, disadvantages, and eventually being able to choose.
Here’s what experts generally say about these two delivery methods and their applicability.
What makes Lockers appealing?
- Security: lockers provide a safe and accessible location for recipients to collect their packages at their convenience. They are instrumental in urban areas where package theft may be a concern.
- Reducing Last Mile Costs: Instead of delivering packages to individual homes, delivery personnel can drop off multiple packages at a centralised locker location, potentially reducing last-mile delivery expenses. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the installation and maintenance of lockers can be costly, and it’s important to factor in these expenses. This approach can save time and resources in the long run while being mindful of the initial investment required for locker installation.
- Efficiency: Lockers can be more efficient for businesses and carriers. They can be strategically placed in high-traffic areas, reducing the time and effort required for delivery to individual homes.
- Lockers are accessible around the clock, providing convenience for customers who can retrieve their packages at their preferred time. However, it’s important to note that they may not be suitable for delivering furniture or bulky items due to size limitations. Additionally, lockers may not be a reliable option for fresh and perishable products with a limited shelf life, as their storage conditions may not be suitable for maintaining product quality and safety.
What is it about Home Delivery?
- Personalised Service: Home delivery provides a personalised service, which is essential for certain types of products and customers. Some consumers prefer the convenience of having items delivered directly to their doorstep.
- Fulfilling Customer Expectations: Many customers expect home delivery for various products and may not have easy access to locker locations. Meeting these expectations can be a competitive advantage. The customer here is the focal point of attention.
- Challenges in Urban Areas but the only option in not so densely populated areas: home delivery may face the challenge of traffic congestion and parking but it is also true that one delivery van could save multiple trips to lockers locations for people who don’t live so nearby.
- Scheduling and rescheduling for home delivery depending on the consumer’s preferences and needs, is a great advantage. The consumer can select a precise time of delivery at home and also has the possibility to reschedule accordingly.
Is there an ultimate approach?
As it happens in many cases, the right approach probably can involve a combination of both lockers and home delivery, depending on factors like location, type of products, and customer preferences. The operators will have to make some considerations that will help them find the right balance or favour one approach over the other. They will need to look at:
Segmentation: knowing the customer base and their preferences. Some customers may prefer home delivery, while others may find lockers more convenient. The approach can be tailored accordingly.
Geographic Factors: Consider the geographic layout of your delivery area. Some parts might have locker stations already available, some might not permit installation, and some suburban areas are better served with home deliveries.
Product Type: The kind of product, size, and durability are all factors to consider when choosing the right delivery method. There is only a certain amount of products that can fit in a locker, there are products that simply cannot stay in a locker, if fresh or perishable.
Customer Communication: customers can choose the method that suits them best but communication with them is also important while waiting for their package. A good home delivery system can keep them informed at every step of the route.
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Evaluate the costs associated with each approach. Lockers can reduce last-mile delivery costs, but there are initial setup and maintenance expenses to consider. Last Mile can be expensive but when properly managed and digitalised can increase efficiency, usually save money in the long run, and with the right technology including all the data analysis mentioned above, can increase customer knowledge.
Once the audience’s needs and preferences, the geographic location, and the nature of the products are known, one more thought needs to be applied: what kind of technology to invest in. Innovation and digitalization have been 2 major factors that have driven the changes and the growth of the logistics industry and have had a role in the current deliveries’ strategic choices.
No matter which method is selected, the delivery process for the Last Mile still requires accuracy and efficiency. With its comprehensive technology, the Milkman Platform covers all the planning, management, and tracking necessary for a successful delivery, from pick up to drop off.
Communication with the clients is also crucial to manage their expectations and make sure they are informed about their status. Milkman Tracking page monitors and shows every step of the delivery’s journey so that customers are always aware of its location and can react and reschedule if necessary.
A Platform that applies AI to gather capacity, density and customer data while on route, for the improvement of each delivery, can make the difference between being one of the many players or the one that applies an intelligent and rewarding strategy for its efficiency and economy of scale thanks to the use of an accurate planning and tracking system for its competent and productive deliveries.
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