The most crucial mile: 5 minutes with Santosh Sahu, CEO at On the dot

 

The most crucial mile: 5 minutes with Santosh Sahu, CEO at On the dot

July 2, 2018

Since 2015, On the dot has been connecting retailers and shoppers to deliver a more convenient, innovative customer experience through express delivery. We sat down with Santosh Sahu, CEO at On the dot, to find out more about the last mile challenges facing retailers today - and how he’s planning to help overcome them…

PostTag (PT): Tell us what you do at On the dot.

Santosh Sahu (SS): On the dot provides rapid, convenient delivery solutions for the retail, pharmaceutical and food sectors through APIs that integrate easily with customers’ existing technology. The service is all underpinned by a technology platform that uses machine learning to improve same day delivery efficiencies, increase transparency and deliver improved customer experiences – for both the retailers and the end consumers.

As CEO, I’ve been working on a digital transformation strategy with a best-in-breed tech team, developing new products for the retail, pharmaceutical and food & beverage sectors, which are sectors that themselves are currently seeing huge digital transformations.

PT: In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge with the last mile?

SS: Companies often forget about the final mile and focus on the rest of their supply chain, but the cost of this part of the delivery journey for businesses is approximately 28% of the total cost.  The final mile is also the most crucial because it is the final customer touch point.

PT: So how can retailers overcome this challenge?

SS: By using the right partners who specialise in flexible, efficient final mile solutions and have the best technology and extensive industry experience to both optimise costs and delivery efficiencies, and to deliver great customer experiences and protect the retailer’s brand right up to their customer’s doorstep.

PT: Can retailers compete with giants like Amazon in the delivery space?

SS: Retailers need to react to Amazon to stop losing customers and especially to start attracting millennials.

Amazon is truly changing consumer behaviour. For instance, if you’re an Amazon Prime customer in the US, you can walk into Wholefoods and get a further 10% discount and free delivery. How many UK retailers are combining in store and online experiences in this way to keep existing customers and win new ones?

But the answer is yes, retailers of all sizes (from small, local independents up to high street chains) can compete with Amazon but they need to move fast. The first step is to put the customer at the heart of their service offering and give them a flexible, fast local delivery solution from their physical stores that rivals Amazon.

PT: What about food delivery?

SS: The hot or fast food delivery sector is another fast-growing market. Just Eat has been in the market for a long time but they now have to compete with Deliveroo and Uber Eats, who are also investing heavily at the moment. But the real winners will be the restaurants and brands that can work with delivery companies to create density beyond food delivery

When it comes to grocery delivery, the next challenge is that supermarkets should be able to deliver within 20 minutes, or within a same day 1 or 2-hour time slot.

PT: What’s on the horizon for last mile delivery? What do you hope to see in the next five years?

SS: Within the next three to five years, same day for the last mile will be the standard. In the same way that next day delivery, weekend delivery and click & collect are all the standard now, the last mile space will become the norm and customers will expect it from every retailer and indeed, every business. What this means is that retailers will use their physical stores differently and mix the physical and digital experiences so they can do fulfillment same day from store to home. The high street will be buzzing as local delivery options will be everywhere, and this will all place the customer at the centre.

 
Nicole Lyons