Posted by Guru Rao

When you think of Amazon Prime, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it two-day delivery? How about same-day delivery? Or maybe, it’s two-hour delivery. Whatever it is, it probably has something to with the retailer’s seemingly unrivaled last-mile customer experience.

And it raises the question: What comes to your customers’ minds when they think about your brand?

Creating a memorable brand experience

Back before e-commerce, it seemed that customers primarily concerned themselves with a bargain on a reliable product. While it’s easy to long for that simplicity, and dwell on how much retail has changed, there remains a single constant in commerce that is, always has been and always will be: The perceived value of your brand to consumers.

Technically, brand perception lives with your consumers. While you don’t necessarily control that perception, you can influence it and even shape it by fine-tuning your brand experience. This is an end-to-end endeavor for retailers that starts with marketing campaigns and ends with how you execute in the final mile of your customer journey. Every detail and interaction along the way contributes to brand experience, which in turn defines customer perception of your brand.

It's not about what's in the box; it's about how it got there that matters. It’s not just about what’s in the box that matters; it’s also about how it got there.

Are you finishing strong?

If there’s one thing that every brand can take away from the Winter Games, it’s the importance of finishing strong. Modern customers certainly love a good brand story, and they care about your business’s veneer. But what happens at the final mile is even more important than the events leading up to it. It separates the gold-medal brand experience from a mediocre, unmemorable one.

What’s more, customers don’t care if a missed delivery window or sub-par visibility into the order status is the fault of a third-party carrier. If any extension of your downstream operation stumbles in the final mile, your brand stumbles too, as far the consumer is concerned.

Millennials in particular have high expectations, according to Forbes contributor Deep Patel. Not to mention, they possess $200 billion in spending power, according to contributor Jules Schroeder. Retailers that hope to win their loyalty will need to refine how they deliver their brand experience – figuratively, but also literally.

Delivery management is no longer just a process. It’s a central feature of your brand’s identity. Finish strong in the final mile, or risk falling from favor in the eyes of the modern consumer.

You’re not just delivering products anymore – you’re delivering a brand