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Delivering Christmas 2021 in a logistics crisis

The power of good data and how it could make or break Christmas 2021.

By Sadie Harriott

For many retailers and logistics companies, Christmas is the busiest time of year. Now, more and more people are turning to online shopping. Looking at Christmas 2020, UK e-commerce spending increased by 56% compared to 2019.

The pandemic forced new audiences to embrace online shopping – and many have not looked back. Between gift deliveries, food orders and takeaways, logistics companies and retailers will be stretched, particularly when we bear in mind the current shortage of delivery drivers.

Late gifts lose customer loyalty

As orders surge while driver numbers wane, retailers are at risk of unhappy customers. In 2020, Citizens Advice found that 47% of British adults had issues with deliveries. While consumers forgave slow deliveries during the height of the pandemic, their expectations are now back to normal. Slow, missed or late deliveries could easily lead to reputational damage – like a negative review on social media or a lost customer altogether.

The picture is not all doom and gloom, however. Where there is a challenge, there is also opportunity. Retailers and logistics companies that get deliveries right stand to reap the rewards.

According to fashion store Bibloo, customers who can choose express delivery (within two hours) have a 47% higher retention rate. The value of their orders is 65% higher than customers with slower delivery options. Similarly, according to PwC, 75% of consumers are interested in same-day delivery.

It’s clear that there is a chance for retailers to win and retain new customers by innovating their delivery cycles. For players large and small, speed, efficiency and accuracy are the next frontier.

Delivery drivers and the data dilemma

Speed is wholly dependent on accuracy. If a driver can not find the right drop-off point for a parcel, they waste precious minutes. Events like this also tend to have a knock-on effect, leading to further late or failed deliveries.

Unfortunately, this chain of events is all too familiar to retailers and logistics companies. There is a reason for this. The underlying location data that some delivery drivers use is postcode-centric. In the UK, postcodes cover anything from 15 properties to 100. They also vary widely in size. In fact, the largest postcode is 442km². For drivers who are unfamiliar with a local area, this non-specific location data can lead to late or missed deliveries.

Moreover, some logistics companies encourage their delivery teams to use well-known digital map applications to find delivery addresses. While this works for some locations, these generalise to street ranges at best, leading drivers to entirely inaccurate streets or houses.

As well as harming the end-customer experience, these inefficiencies also impact the employee experience. Inaccurate data, confusing drop-off points and time pressures can leave drivers feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.

Calm the festive frenzy with accurate data

Companies need a solution that provides accurate, local-level knowledge to overcome these challenges and satisfy their customers. Their drivers need to feel confident in their addressing solution, that it is taking them to the right place, via the most efficient route. This can only be achieved through highly accurate, detailed, and dependable geospatial data.

Solutions underpinned by Ordnance Survey data use Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) and Unique Street Reference Numbers (USRNs) to represent the most up-to-date and accurate property and street location information. Through data matching and cross-referencing, geospatial solutions empower delivery drivers to efficiently plan their logistical decisions and better meet customer expectations, ensuring they find the correct address every time.

In the Christmas rush, and with demand for fast deliveries growing, geospatial data will become a competitive differentiator – as Riverford Organic found, when they adopted AddressCloud’s location data for deliveries. Before adopting this solution, the company’s delivery drivers were struggling to deliver produce. Their map solution did not always provide accurate delivery points, leading to logistical inefficiencies. Since adopting the new solution, Riverford Organic drivers say their routing has much improved. They arrive by the nearest access point to the address from the road, thus making the delivery process smoother.

Unwrap the best available address data this Christmas

With the Christmas season edging nearer, now is the time for retailers and logistics companies to harness the power of geospatial data. 

Time is tight

To remain competitive, achieve customer satisfaction, and drive profitability, read our insight, 'The race to quicker deliveries'.