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Research Shows How New Consumer Expectations are Reshaping The Last Mile Experience

Ziv Fass
April 25, 2024

In the highly competitive retail industry, stores specializing in home furnishings and appliances encounter distinct challenges. Unlike routine purchases, items like sofas, dining sets, and refrigerators represent significant investments, rarely made by consumers. This amplifies the importance of each customer interaction. Today’s consumers, influenced by the seamless service models of companies like Amazon, expect similar convenience from all retail sectors, including the specialized market of bulky home furnishings and appliances.

 

These evolving consumer expectations are driving the retail industry to reexamine its approach to the final stages of the customer journey — particularly last-mile delivery. This is crucial in the big and bulky segment, where the significance and infrequency of purchases make customer loyalty especially vulnerable.

 

The expectation for a warm, personalized in-store experience to extend to delivery is reshaping last-mile services for furniture retailers, turning it from a logistical hurdle to a vital point for securing customer loyalty.

 

Research: Improvement Opportunities Identified in Home Furnishing Retail

Package.ai’s The State of Last-Mile Customer Experience in Home Furnishing Retail pinpointed areas where retailers need to improve to attract and retain customers and strengthen their brands.

  • Customer Service and Delivery Experience: 77% of customers emphasize the importance of pricing and 79% on product quality. However, 50% consider customer service and 54% the delivery experience crucial when deciding to repurchase.
  • Enhanced Tracking: 44% of consumers view the absence of real-time delivery tracking as a dealbreaker, a sentiment that jumps to 65% among those over 60, underscoring the need for better services aimed at older demographics.
  • Communication and Speed: Inefficient communication and slow delivery significantly deter repeat business, with over 60% of consumers less likely to return following a poor first experience.

The Cost of Failing Customer Expectations

Not meeting these expectations risks more than just a single sale; it can lead to significant customer loss. A failed delivery in home furnishing retail sees 77% of consumers likely to switch retailers, affecting immediate sales and damaging long-term brand reputation.

 

What Consumers Desire: The Road to Loyalty

Consumers clearly express a preference for:

  • Better Communication: Desire for consistent updates throughout the delivery process spans all demographics.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Older consumers particularly value choosing delivery times that suit their convenience.
  • Faster Delivery: Many consumers also prioritize shorter wait times, emphasizing the need for efficiency.

The Future of Retail: Crafting Personalized Experiences

For home furnishing retailers, refining last-mile delivery is not only about avoiding setbacks but also about capitalizing on opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction and build lasting loyalty. By delivering personalized, customer-first experiences, retailers can exceed expectations and foster relationships that encourage not just one-time sales but lifelong patronage.

 

This evolution in customer expectations presents a prime opportunity for retailers to transform their last-mile operations. By engaging personally with customers during the delivery process and beyond, retailers can establish strong emotional bonds that lead to increased loyalty, positive reviews, and significant revenue growth.

 

Equipped with a deep understanding of their customers, supported by robust research and strategic planning, home furnishing retailers are well-positioned to lead in a new era of retail, where the last mile is as crucial as the first impression.

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