The National Retail Federation estimates 8% to 12% U.S. e-commerce growth, according to a recent Business Insider report. Consumer expectations are growing as well. A decade or two ago, people were happy as long as their orders got to their house within a day or two of the scheduled arrival date. Now, people expect retailers to offer next-day or even same-day shipping. Also, they like being able to track their orders through every stage of the delivery process.
Can you give your customers what they want? Route planning is complicated. Just figuring out which roads your drivers should take to reach your customers is hard enough. On top of that, you also need to account for traffic, weather, construction, customer availability and other factors. It’s easy to make mistakes if you try to do this by yourself, and all it takes is one mistake to mess up a route and delay your drivers.
But there’s no reason to plan routes by yourself. Using a road trip planner with multiple stops ensures that your routes are accurate and efficient. It gives your drivers everything they need to show up on time consistently. It’ll save you money on gas, too.
Manual route planning can take hours. When you use a driving route planner, planning routes only takes 30 seconds. All you need to do is plug in the addresses of your customers, and you’re good to go.
If you accidentally input “1400 Riverdale Dr” instead of “4100 Riverdale Dr,” your driver isn’t going to make it to all their stops on time. Your customers certainly won’t like that!
A route planner app will help you catch these errors before they affect your route. It’ll review your addresses just before your optimized route is created, and if anything looks suspect (for example, if every address is in Indiana expect for one that’s in Alaska), you’ll be notified. Then, you can either confirm it’s correct or make the necessary changes.
The best route mapping software lets you connect with your e-commerce platform (Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.) and transfer customer data directly to your route planner. This saves time, and it eliminates the risk of data entry errors.
Of course, optimized routes won’t do you much good if your drivers don’t actually follow the routes you give them. That’s why it’s so important for your route planner to have vehicle tracking capabilities. GPS tracking will show you where your drivers are and how fast they’re going in real-time. Whenever you want, you can check in on a driver and make sure they’re sticking to their route and staying on schedule.
—Authors note: Founded in 2009 and now with over 5,000 clients worldwide, Route4Me, Inc. provides dynamic route sequencing and optimization software platform for small- and medium-sized businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises. Completely cloud-based, Route4Me accommodates fleets of any size, parcel and service delivery, ecommerce, territory management, GPS-tracking, final-mile optimization, dynamic routing, and supports API integration with any CRM, TMS, WMS and ISV.