With the holidays fast approaching, usually shoppers flock to retail stores in search of gifts for their loved ones. While online holiday shopping has been on the rise for years, this year that growth has been accelerated noticeably. This shift is largely due to the ongoing pandemic and the fear of exposure, making the internet the preferred shopping destination for a lot of consumers.
Online sales in November and December are predicted to increase 47% in the US and 30% globally compared to last year. With delivery capacity already struggling to keep up, this year’s gift shopping has been predicted to completely overwhelm deliveries, and could result in 700 million gifts not arriving on time. Similarly, the amount of missed and lost deliveries will increase, causing more time and energy spent on inquiries and returns.
Eliminate wrong addresses with Autocomplete API and Geocoding API
According to a Loqate survey, one in twenty online orders never arrive at their intended destination. Failed deliveries take up a lot of time and resources, so avoiding these issues is a priority.
80% of delivery issues are caused by customers making mistakes when entering their shipping addresses. This issue can be solved with the Google Maps Autocomplete API. When customers start typing, it will provide a type ahead address prediction. This makes the overall checkout smoother, as address entry will become quicker, and errors will be reduced.
Similarly, the Geocoding API can be integrated, in order to determine the exact Lat/Lng position of the user’s address when using the Place_ID from Autocomplete. This allows users to see a map with their address displayed, providing visual feedback so the users can check that they have typed in the right address. This also allows the user to reposition the pin and fine tune their location as needed. If the user moves the pin, the location is converted back into a readable address. This is useful in many different scenarios, for instance with places that do not have normal addresses.
Optimize delivery routes with Distance Matrix API and Directions API
The Loquate study further reveals that 62% of consumers have experienced late or failed deliveries, which causes annoyance and frustration among online shoppers.
To ensure that your deliveries arrive on time, you have to make sure your drivers are spending their time efficiently. To optimize delivery routes the Distance Matrix API can be beneficial. The Distance Matrix feeds the user real-time traffic information, and allows you to compare travel time from each possible warehouse or depot location, making it easy to find the quickest possible delivery route.
At the same time, you can employ the Directions API. This API will help optimize the route by ordering waypoints, finding the shortest possible route between the many different drop off points. This saves you both time, money and gas, and creates a faster order turnaround, allowing drivers to deliver more orders each day. The Directions API also provides the driver with turn-by-turn directions which makes it easy to predict the duration of future sections of their routes. In this way, you can offer more precise ETAs to customers, creating more transparency within the delivery process.
Another way to cut down delivery time is to incorporate StreetView, giving the driver information about the upcoming delivery location, and lets them know what the entrance looks like, thereby making it easier to find the correct house or location.
Incorporating these APIs allows your business to stay ahead of the game in the upcoming holiday season. By avoiding mistakes in the delivery process, you save not only money, time and energy, but you also gain goodwill from your customers, which increases the chances of them using your service again in the future.
Read more about how Google Maps can help you tackle Christmas shopping here
If you want to know more about how Google Maps APIs can help optimize your deliveries, reach out and have a chat with our Google Maps expert in your region.