Freight in 2030: What the Customer Experience will Look Like

A focus on customer-centricity and advancing technology will make freight experience a competitive advantage into 2030 and beyond. Here’s what to expect.

There is a large shift towards customer-centricity when it comes to transport and logistics.

Between now and 2030, the opportunity for retailers to use their freight and delivery experience as a competitive advantage will grow.

A poor delivery experience will increasingly be connected with a poor brand experience. But with the introduction of Internet of Things, Predictive Analytics and other advancements in technology, the customer will be able to have more control over the delivery of their items, and retailers and carriers will be able to give it to them.

Here’s our predictions for what customer experience in freight will look like in 2030.

Supply chain visibility

As the Internet of Things finds place in the freight industry, customers will want to know exactly where their package is at any point on its journey from A to B.

Freight will need to be completely transparent and customers are going to want full visibility over where their parcel is at any given moment, from the time they purchase it, to knowing the exact moment that it’s going to arrive at its destination.

Poor supply chain visibility will increasingly have a negative impact on the way customers perceive a brand. Freight carriers will need to start improving supply chain visibility if they are to remain carriers of choice by retailers and manufacturers.

Environmentally friendly freight

Consumer appetite for environmentally friendly options in everything from storage solutions to packaging grows every year. So, it’s no surprise that in coming years, customers are going to want the delivery of their cartons and parcels to be environmentally friendly.

Before this can happen, freight providers are going to have to come to the party on being carbon neutral. But we’re already starting to see environmentally conscious decision-making come into play with the introduction of fleets of electric vehicles.

Retailers and manufacturers who ship pallets and parcels also have a role to play, by making more environmentally friendly choices with their packaging.

Customised Delivery

Currently, customers don’t have any control over when a delivery will arrive on their doorstep.

By the time 2030 rolls around, we expect to see a massive shift to customised delivery, where customers will have a range of choices they can make about the delivery of their parcel.

The power will sit with the end consumer of the shipped product. They’ll be able to choose the carrier they’d like to use (allowing them to choose more environmentally friendly carriers with carbon neutral services), the day they want it delivered, the timeframe in which they want it delivered and the exact location they want it delivered to based on GPS coordinates, and even what type of insurance they want for their parcel.

Dynamic delivery

By 2030, we see dynamic delivery evolving as an essential part of delivery customisation.

At the moment, delivery is very carrier driven. Customers can choose to redirect their parcel to a post office or parcel locker, and confirm whether or not they will be at the delivery location to receive the parcel that day. But you still need to be present in most cases, to receive your parcel, and once you’ve chosen a delivery option, you can’t change it.

Dynamic delivery will see carriers better able to change the journey of a parcel while it’s on its journey. Customers will be able to change the delivery address and their authorisation more than once, and even after it’s on the truck for delivery.

Predictive Analytics

The emergence of Predictive Analytics will be the driving force of customised and dynamic delivery.

The more customers order things online to be delivered to their home or office, the more important it will become for the supplier to be able to tell the customer exactly where that item is as it makes its way from the warehouse to the delivery point.

Think about that very expensive monkey bar set you ordered. The estimated delivery schedule you were given at the time was two weeks. It’s now been three weeks and nobody knows where it is on route. You just have to be patient and hope that it will eventually arrive.

Predictive Analytics will take the guesswork out of delivery timelines and significantly improve the delivery experience that retailers can provide to their customers, because they will be able to know exactly where the item is, and when it will be delivered, up to the hour and eventually, up to the minute.

Predictive Analytics will also create the opportunity for retailers to anticipate customer needs. Already retailers like Amazon are able to predict when a customer might run out of toothpaste and automatically ship them some more before they do. Automatic replenishment of our everyday items will most certainly grow into the future, supported by other advancements such as drone delivery.

Simple, seamless and right now.

All the changes within the freight industry will be focussed on making it simple, seamless and right now.

A customer-centric view of freight, along with technology, are what’s at the heart of achieving this goal.

Drone delivery

We’re already seeing drone delivery happening in the US, and as regulations around drone usage become clearer in Australia, we can expect to see drones take off here too (pardon the pun).

If a customer sees something they want, and it’s at a warehouse nearby, they’ll have the option of having it droned to their door immediately. If they want to have it delivered in an hour, they’ll be able to choose that they want it in an hour.

Drone delivery will give customers the option of having small, or essential parcels delivered at the timeslot that suits them, and at short notice.

Seamless technology

When it comes to what freight customers will expect from freight suppliers, seamless technology is at the top of the list.

There will be huge growth in this area as freight customers will want their backend technology to be fully integrated. We're going to see every company wanting this type of technology, not just the big players.

Companies will rely on freight management platforms such as Cario to provide seamless integrations between their many freight carriers and their ERP or WMS system.

We should also note that carrier technology has some way to go to keep up with demand in this area.

Customer Experience Centres

In line with the rise of customisation, so too we will see the rise of the customer experience centre.

Instead of consumers walking up to a store and taking a product home with them in a bag, we expect to see them go to a store to try a product and choose customisations, placing an order at the store that will be shipped to their home or office as soon as its been built to their specifications.

Consolidated Delivery – The Last Mile.

Currently, each carrier (StarTrack, TNT, Toll) will drive down the same street sometimes two or three times a day to make deliveries.

As technology improves, we will see more consolidated delivery for the last mile, which will enable better efficiency, better critical mass and less environmental impact.

For example, let’s say there’s an apartment block in the city. It might have 100 deliveries a day to all different residents, from 15 different carriers. But with consolidated delivery, each of those carriers makes the delivery to one central location, right near that apartment building. All the parcels will be consolidated based on their delivery location and deliver all 100 parcels to the apartment building in one go.

The same can apply for residential areas.

It will be more profitable, while at the same time delivering a better experience to customers.

Simple returns

Making returns easy for customers will become part of a retailer’s competitive advantage.

Already, many retailers ship in reuseable packaging and include an easy to affix label allowing customers to pop the parcel back in the post with shipping for the return covered by the retailer.

The next evolution of this, will not be having to take it back to the post office at all. Simply leave the parcel at your front door, and the retailer will send a carrier to collect that return. It will all be a part of the seamless customer delivery experience by the time we reach 2030.

The Customer will be at the Centre of the Freight Experience

From drone delivery and simple returns, to predictive analytics and customised delivery, every change in the freight industry for the next decade will be centred around improving the freight experience for the end customer.

If you’d like a better experience with your freight, Freight People can help. We’re specialists in finding the right freight solution for your needs, so you can impress your end customer and improve your bottom line.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.