Online jewelry store launches its own courier service: SUNLIGHT case study

  1. Challenge:
    ensure better quality control of the last mile amid rapid growth in the number of orders.  
  2. Solution
    build an in-house courier service and automate delivery
  3. Results
    Increased accuracy and efficiency of order delivery, reduced logistics costs, and improved customer satisfaction by 4%
About the partner
SUNLIGHT is a retail chain of jewelry supermarkets that consistently develops its digital business to improve customer experience. Each month, SUNLIGHT receives about 600,000 orders through the website and the mobile app. The company relies on shipping partners to deliver purchases. Customers can have their order delivered to their home or pick it up at a nearby store. 
Launching an in-house delivery service 

With the growth of e-commerce sales, 30% of SUNLIGHT customers already buy jewelry exclusively online. The consistent growth in online sales drove an increased focus on delivery. Keeping in mind that 71% of shoppers choose an online store based on delivery quality and convenience, the company decided to launch its own courier service in Moscow and the Moscow region. 

Due to a large volume of orders, the in-house delivery service would only handle a part of this business, operating alongside the shipping contractors. 

With its own courier service, the company can flexibly manage resources and shape the final delivery cost. It gets to use a few control levers ranging from defining the logistics strategy to selecting a telco as a SIM card provider. 

SUNLIGHT had one more reason to create its own delivery service. The company started offering same-day delivery to customers who made orders before 3 PM through the website or the app. Same-day delivery is one of the most expensive logistics services on the market, but with an in-house delivery unit, you can save and reduce costs.

Shorter delivery periods result in higher costs as companies try to use more couriers and optimize routes. Plus, you need to streamline warehouse operations to pick all orders on time
Automating route planning
Route planning is an important step in arranging any delivery. The business needs to account for delivery intervals, driver and vehicle performance, service time, and overall business priorities. Delivery gets more challenging with every new aspect to account for. 

For example, SUNLIGHT pays special attention to the arrival/departure time gap – the time that the courier spends on a customer. It includes the time it takes to park the vehicle, deliver the order, and leave. This indicator may vary depending on business type: It can take hours to deliver large furniture and minutes to hand over documents. 

After receiving their order, SUNLIGHT customers spend some time trying on the jewelry. This time, too, may vary. The average industry standard for orders that require a fitting (things like jewelry or clothing) is up to 20 minutes per person. 

With a view to build a truly efficient in-house delivery service, SUNLIGHT decided to automate courier route planning using RouteQ solutions. 

RouteQ can manage multiple indicators and improve the density of resulting routes. For example, an average courier can serve up to 20 customers on the route. With automation, the same courier can deliver 25 orders instead of 20. 

This means that the company will need fewer vehicles, and this difference will directly affect the company’s bottom line. Other benefits include the improvement of service quality measured as fewer complaints about delays or more repeat sales. 

Automating order picking and courier communication
RouteQ can also be used to speed up order picking at warehouses. This is essential because, with delays in picking orders, couriers will simply have nothing to deliver.

At SUNLIGHT, order preparation can take up to 10 minutes. The picker searches for the right jewelry item, packs it in a branded red box with a ribbon, and puts the order in the bag together with a gift. 

This is where the rolling wave planning feature of RouteQ came in handy. The algorithm retrieves data from the automated routing system, processes confirmed orders, and sends them to the warehouse. With this approach to planning, the company can avoid overloading the warehouse and deliver purchases on time, even with unplanned peaks in order volume. Rolling wave planning also expands the time when the company can take orders. 

SUNLIGHT were also able to integrate this feature in its mobile app – all thanks to the flexibility of the RouteQ solution. Pickers sign in to the app before their shift and use it to confirm orders and search for the products. The company sends out address lists to couriers through the app, and the couriers use it to complete orders, reschedule deliveries, and call customers.
Implementing RouteQ: results and figures
The company launched its own courier delivery service with RouteQ technologies, and here’s what they achieved
  1. Increased accuracy and efficiency of order delivery
  2. Reduced logistics costs for 20%
  3. Increased customer satisfaction by 4%
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Fri Jan 14 2022 16:57:12 GMT+0300 (Moscow Standard Time)