Last-mile Deliveries are Customer-Centric, Data-Driven: ExpertsBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 05/27/2021 - 16:28
You can watch the video of this panel here.
Addressing the needs of B2B and B2C customers and focusing on data-driven improvement and on the country's e-commerce trends, were among the central topics experts addressed during Mexico Business Forum 2021 Virtual Edition. In the panel “E-Commerce and Smart Logistics: Priorities for Today to Thrive Tomorrow,” last-mile logistic players and retailers agreed on the potential the country has for e-commerce and what it will bring to Mexico. "We saw e-commerce grown about 80 percent in Mexico. But to put this number in perspective it is necessary to consider that when in Mexico 2 billion deliveries are made, 17 billion are made in the US and 70 billion in China," said Iván Ariza, CEO of Cargamos.
Last-mile delivery players have a mission to meet the expectations of e-commerce platforms so the end-customer’s experience can be as smooth as possible. To do so, communication is essential. "Communication between logistics and e-commerce players remains key. Different customers have different priorities. Some want to deliver cheaper, others faster and others both. Communication is necessary to bring the experience for the end-customer to the next level," said Christophe Milheres, Managing Director Mexico at LalaMove. Eduardo Medeiros, Chief Digital Officer at Office Depot Mexico agreed: "For the end-customer it is not about the logistic companies; it is about the company that he's buying from," he said.
Experts agree on the importance of selecting the right logistic partner. "The assignment of the last-mile delivery is one of the most important elements to offer the end-customer a good experience," said Iñaqui de la Peña, Country Manager of Dostavista. "If we provide on-demand pick-up for same-day deliveries, we are placing orders in route to generate a good experience. This strengthens the relationship between the logistics service and the customer. The relationships that we build with each location is important so that we can offer the end-customer a successful delivery," he said.
Building a close relationship is also important for Cargamos. "Logistics is really wide and we are taking a last-mile delivery approach. We need to understand what would be the best relationship and for whom," said Ariza. Experts agreed that the emergence of last-mile delivery companies created a pool of potential partners that large e-commerce players will have to choose from.
For Office Depot, one of the largest retailers of office products in Mexico, "the logistic partner is the one who sets the goal," said Medeiros. He explained that all the logistic partners need to have not only the delivery capacity, but the quality the end-customer expects. Thus, mutual commitment is important. "We need to create trust in our logistic partner," he said.
Technological Integration: First Step in Building Long-Term relationship.
To achieve this thrust, it is necessary to first establish a robust integration with clear processes,” said Medeiros. “With this, we can have a clear idea on how we can use our resources better. For instance, at some moments during the pandemic, we delivered some products in less than an hour."
Integration between logistics providers and e-commerce platforms is essential for the different aspects of a business. "We need to do teamwork because far from just being logistics suppliers we are the technology partner that can help improve overall processes. There is a need to map all kinds of processes. Many times, logistics is not about fast delivery but about delivering at the right moment," says de la Peña. In this regard, even emerging business niches such as self-storage play an important role. "We democratize the storage space so that different users can take advantage of it and play against larger players," said Diego Ysita, CEO of U-Storage, the country's leading self-storage company.
The Challenge of the Return Process
As e-commerce sales bloomed, product returns also increased and technological integration can help in this regard. "In Mexico, return processes are important for customer satisfaction and we need to continue working on them. There are companies that are working more and more on integration strategies and omnichannel has proven to be effective," says Milheres, who also stated that a unified policy across different channels can be challenging but necessary.
de la Peña agrees: "Product returns can be complicated, as the customers aim to want to return the product quickly and they receive little help in this regard. In some cases, we have over 8-9 percent returned products. Companies need to focus on the customer experience without forgetting that fast delivery is not all that customer cares about," he says.
"Returns are the most important parts of e-commerce and they give many headaches. The omnichannel world can facilitate this and help them choose the best option," said Medeiros.
"Even if all last-mile delivery logistic companies got together, it would be difficult to cover the upcoming demand trends that we are seeing," said Ariza. SMEs will gain more relevance in the future, agreed experts, as a large pool of last-mile delivery companies and social networks are not only democratizing the access to e-commerce but allowing smaller players to offer an optimal customer experience.