Earlier this week, Austin, Texas-based Convey, a provider of experience management software that helps shippers connect disparate and processes from parcel to freight in the last mile, rolled out self-delivery appointment for white glove deliveries.

While the new offering has only been available for two months, said the results are already paying dividends for its retail shipper customers, including:

  • 54% of appointments scheduled online;
  • a 50% reduction in carrier calls;
  • appointments booked 73% (7 days) earlier and 2.6x (4 days) faster; and
  • customers are getting deliveries 27% (3 days) sooner for big and bulky products like furniture and appliances

Convey said it is the first company to offer self-delivery appointment scheduling at scale, which, in turn, replaces error-prone manual processes with automated, customer-friendly options reducing operating costs. And it added that this represents the first software platform linking carriers and retailers on a mass scale that translates raw data, like carrier routes and availability, into user-friendly delivery options for retailers to subsequently share with customers.

In an interview at this week’s Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Link 2019 Retail Supply Chain Conference, Convey CEO Rob Taylor described Convey’s self-delivery appointment scheduling as a consumer-facing application that enables the end customer to take control of its delivery appointment for white glove, big and bulky deliveries.

“Many of our customers are enterprise omnichannel retailers that have some portion of their assortment that is large-item big and bulky,” he said. “And one of the fundamental problems with those deliveries is the disconnect around setting the appointment schedule. All of these deliveries require an appointment, and those appointments are typically made by the carriers so we see an average of two-to-four phone calls trying to reach customers to schedule that delivery.”

This led to Convey working with a few key partners on self-delivery appointment scheduling, including Metropolitan Warehouse & Delivery and Estes Forwarding Worldwide and a few customers, on a customer-facing appointment window.

“We push a notification to the customer’s tracking page that says ‘it is time to schedule your appointment,’ and they click on that link and up pops a window that enables them to choose their time and date,” he said. “We have seen some really compelling results over the last two months, most important of which being a 27% reduction in transit times, which equates to three days on average that the customer is actually receiving its delivery. Customers are also making appointments earlier and faster, too, with the end result being a better customer experience and receiving deliveries faster. And there are efficiency gains for the carrier, because they are no longer making two-to-four phone calls. These are real costs to the carrier.”

Taylor said Convey is currently in the process of rolling out delivery appointment scheduling on a broader basis to its customer base.

Prior to the introduction of self-delivery appointment scheduling, Taylor said the process involved a customer making an order online, followed by a tracking event milestone data produced by a carrier, which required a customer to go to a carrier web site to check on it. But only when the carrier reached out to the customer to set that appointment, was a customer able to actually set that appointment.

“What we find is that this process can take up to a week to make that connection and requires multiple phone calls, with delays due to an item sitting on a carrier’s dock waiting for an appointment to be scheduled,” he said. “And in many cases when a customer cannot be reached, the order is sent back to the retailer…that involves major costs.”

A major difference now, though, with self-delivery appointment scheduling, he said, is that very early in the shipment’s journey, Convey pushes a notification to the branded tracking page it hosts for retail shippers “so it is all in their environment,” so to speak.

“We send a notification saying it is time to schedule your appointment and at that point the customer acts or takes control and does an online scheduling of their delivery window and appointment and can even come back and change it prior to the delivery actually happening,” said Taylor.

Taylor described the current state of Convey’s business as evolving and having good momentum.

“Where we started about 2.5 ago was really in large format home delivery, and all of the data transformation required to highlight and predict distressed in-transit shipments, for that group of retailers that knew they had challenges related to that, gave us an easier way to enter. What is happening now is even 0%-only parcel retailers recognize that tracking is not enough. They have to take action on shipments where their networks are breaking down, so our product suite is really migrating, in part, to high-volume, network detection, machine intelligence, leading to automation and fast notifications to customers.

Taylor said Convey defines large format home delivery as deliveries going to homes via LTL, white glove or threshold curbside delivery, noting they include categories such as furniture, appliances, and sporting goods (in some cases).     

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