Delivery is changing at the speed of light.
Eleven years ago, customers wouldn’t have dreamed of receiving a delivery half-way around the world in just a couple of days.
But that’s the reality of modern delivery.
Disruptive technology, innovations in planning and delivery management, customer service, and even Amazon, all play a major role in shaping the future of delivery today.
Technically, the (r)evolution of delivery is already happening.
What will happen? What technology is driving the change today? How can you improve delivery and keep up in this age of disruption?
It’s time to take a look at the future trends that will shape delivery in the decade to come.
Here are our top 11 picks:
Thanks to cloud computing, delivery management software is no longer a pipe dream for many organizations.
The market landscape is full of Software as a Service (SaaS) companies like eLogii, that offer cloud-based solutions at every business level.
In many cases, this has opened up the door for small and medium organizations to adopting the cloud-first approach to delivery logistics.
At the same time, cloud-based systems don’t restrict the use of on-premise legacy solutions. In fact, they allow companies to use cloud technology to integrate into a broader ecosystem that can support and complement their on-premise software.
As a result, more and more companies are leveraging the functionality and UX of cloud-based software to increase flexibility, downsize cost, and maximize the scalability of their delivery.
And according to McKinsey, this has caused spending on cloud adoption to grow six times more than other IT spending in 2020.
As e-commerce skyrockets to even greater heights, businesses will have to make even greater leaps to offer an omnichannel buying experience to shoppers.
What the state of delivery in time of the coronavirus has shown is that having a bricks-and-mortar store is not enough.
Businesses need to pull their resources together and create a seamless shopping experience across all channels, online and offline.
But this puts a lot of stress on the delivery logistics as well as the supply chain.
To achieve this, organizations will have to move away from the single or multi-channel supply in favour of omnichannel supply. But also, rethink the delivery and adopt new ways of planning the supply chain.
For companies, faster fulfilment has always been a tug of war between convenience and cost.
For customers, it was always wishful thinking.
All of that changed once Amazon stepped on the scene.
Offering fast fulfilment has been one of the cornerstones behind its success. Amazon was able to leverage other revenue to offer consumers what they always wanted: on-demand delivery.
Despite most customers’ willingness to wait for their delivery 3-4 days that window is quickly shrinking thanks to Amazon fulfilment.
Currently, the standard is a jaw-dropping two-day delivery (when compared to a just decade ago).
And as Amazon continues to offer its next-day and same-day delivery to all its shoppers, other companies will have to learn how to compete with Amazon delivery and increase the speed of fulfilment.
To achieve faster fulfilment, companies will need to rely on the agility and flexibility of their supply chains.
This is a significant departure from traditional delivery planning that favoured reliability and low cost.
Instead, speed and convenience are priorities of today’s consumers.
Companies need to keep up with this demand and adapt to the new landscape since customers no longer care if they have to pay to receive that kind of service. All they want is for you to get it done.
To do that, you have to turn to delivery management software to create more flexible systems of operations. This will allow you to achieve two things:
Having an end-to-end solution, like delivery management software, enables companies to overcome these challenges via increased visibility over operations and real-time actionability.
For example, thanks to delivery management platforms, your dispatchers can already alter driver schedules and add deliveries as they come in.
This increases the rate of the fulfilment of the entire delivery and more importantly drives higher customer satisfaction.
But that’s not the only way customers will influence trends in delivery management.
If companies want to win over modern consumers, they will also need to share their beliefs and values, and demonstrate real social responsibility.
Otherwise, companies seriously risk the boycott of their products or services.
In fact, 57% of consumers say they are ready to boycott their favourite brands which don’t share their social beliefs.
You could have seen this first-hand in effect when people negated brands that didn’t support the Black Lives Matter campaign.
In the future, the biggest social issues will be sustainability and eco-friendliness.
UPS marketing director for the UK, Ireland, and Nordics, Kiel Harkness supports this by stating:
“Sustainability is a topic that everyone needs to get behind; congestion and corresponding pollution is a growing problem that urban cities across Europe and the UK are working hard to reduce.”
Don’t get us wrong, people will still pay the top price for convenience or effectiveness. But they also won’t mind spending a little bit extra, if it means choosing a green delivery.
And you can see this trend already unfolding.
As the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business reports, the demand for products marked as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than other goods.
That’s why many companies are already taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, as they invest in Green Logistics, circular supply chains, and recycled or reusable packaging.
This doesn’t mean that companies don’t benefit from it.
For example, deploying route optimization software to plan deliveries is greatly reducing fuel consumption and cost. While reverse logistics is helping companies make money by sending back used products for refurbishment or the recycling of raw materials.
And these steps are also driving other trends into contention.
In response to the need for sustainable omnichannel supply chains that are both flexible and agile, companies are turning to robotics to increase the speed of labour-demanding tasks.
As with everything, Amazon has been the front-runner, leading the charge for automation.
The company has already equipped warehouses with robots to speed up inventory gathering.
It is also investing heavily in unmanned vehicles and drones to serve its last-mile delivery.
Here’s how Amazon’s fulfilment will look in the coming years:
Even though it might not seem like it, investing in robots to perform repetitive tasks reduces the cost of human labour and increases output.
In the future, this will free up the necessary resources to provide fast and cost-effective delivery.
And while there is still a long way to go to total automation of shipping, in many countries around the world plans are underway to increase the robots-per-human density in the next ten years.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already commonplace among delivery operations. And in the future, it’s difficult to think that it will become anything less than a keystone feature.
In fact, the number of organizations using IoT has grown to 25% as of 2019. And in 2022, forecasts predict that number will achieve annual growth of 13.6% each year.
As that happens, more companies will have the opportunity to connect facilities, devices, and equipment into a unified network to increase transparency over the supply chain.
This will allow companies to react faster not only to consistently changing scenarios in the field but also to prevent events that might hinder operational success.
For example, sensors attached to fleet vehicles and connected to operation hubs will report wear and tear on fleet vehicles. This will allow teams to schedule regular maintenance or request spare parts before a vital resource is put out of order.
Thanks to the adoption of cloud computing and IoT, big data is already playing a part in delivery planning and management.
In the future, this role will expand to even greater heights.
Currently, companies focus on collecting vital data about customers, operations, and developing conditions in the field.
As this information becomes available, it will help shape delivery both in terms of understanding past performance and providing key insights into future trends.
For example, monitoring key metrics in delivery logistics will help optimize every segment of end-to-end delivery.
At the same time, it can provide key data on where and how much resources to invest to achieve the results.
Additionally, large databases of customer information will provide invaluable knowledge into consumer behaviour and delivery preferences.
This will help planners achieve greater accuracy when determining the future strategy of the delivery and help them reach their target goals based on those decisions.
Before now, diagnostic and predictive analytics have been successfully implemented in many supply chains to great effect.
Where one helps you track past performance, the other gives you insightful forecasts for the future.
However, when it comes to decision making they share a common fault: They don’t give you key data to make informed decisions.
Instead of answering questions What happened? (diagnostic analytics), and Why did it happen (predictive analytics), prescriptive analytics answers two more important questions:
What will happen?
What should I do?
It will let you know what steps to take to ensure future results that allow you to reach your goals.
And that’s something most delivery managers want to know in the first place.
It’s also why prescriptive analytics will have a big impact on the future.
And already, Gartner predicts that the market share of prescriptive analytics will reach $12.35 billion by 2026 at an annual growth rate of 26% from 2019.
So, it’s something you need to watch out for in the future.
With big data and prescriptive analytics, the need to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning as part of the digitalization of delivery is becoming increasingly apparent.
But, companies are not just using AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze and use big data.
According to Gartner, 37% of companies have adopted some form of AI in their day-to-day operations. And when talking about both AI and machine learning, Gartner experts note that:
“AI/machine learning, can potentially and significantly disrupt existing supply chain operating models.”
So far, companies have leveraged the power of AI and machine learning to integrate it with other systems, such as cloud-based delivery management platform or warehouse automation.
As a result, they have been able to automate repetitive tasks such as inventory management; provide key insights such as identifying shopping patterns among customers; and support existing systems such as delivery and route planning.
But as the digitalization of delivery grows, the use of AI and machine learning will only increase and spread onto other key operations.
Recently, companies have started upselling products during delivery.
Is it a myth? Or is it a reality?
A delivery driver would drop-off your order, and politely ask if you want to buy anything else based on your previous deliveries.
Think of them as travelling salesmen who know what you want and never leave you empty-handed.
This type of delivery experience has only been enabled by two recent trends:
Based on the purchase histories of the customers on their route, drivers can stock their vehicles with additional inventory and sell them directly (should the customer ask for them again).
But this isn’t just a clever way to increase revenue and minimize delivery costs.
Maybe, a customer forgot to order something from your website, and the thought of paying for another delivery put him off the purchase. By offering the item at his doorstep, you demonstrate higher customer service.
At least for now, customers see it as a deeper level of care and convenience.
One thing is certain though, upselling will become a major part of the delivery experience in the years to come.
Read our full guide to **upselling and cross-selling with delivery **to find out more.
When looking at the trends that mark the delivery landscape in 2020, two patterns emerge.
One is the digitalization of delivery and the supply chain. The second is adapting to the changes brought about by these disruptive forces.
And when it comes to your delivery, it’s necessary to take both steps to secure a bright future for the next eleven years of your company.
A good place to start is with delivery management software. Luckily, it’s something we can help you with right now.
So, here’s the big question:
We have everything you need to start improving your delivery.
Here are the nine free guides that will show you exactly what we do to optimize the last mile and dominate delivery logistics.
1. The definitive and complete guide to Route Optimization Software
2. Why mapping multiple delivery stops is impossible without software
3. How to leverage Route Planning Software to drive delivery excellence
4. What is Delivery Management Software?
5. How we crush customer experience with delivery management software
6. Where to find and how to choose delivery management software
7. Delivery Management Platforms
8. How we dominate reverse logistics and eCommerce returns
9. How teams dominate remote work using nothing but Field Service Software
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