September 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

SimonDelivers rolls out faster customer service

Beginning in October SimonDelivers will give its shoppers more specific delivery updates they can check by calling the company’s customer service center or by logging on to their account information at SimonDelivers.com.

SimonDelivers Inc. is introducing new order tracking technology and better logistics to give its online shoppers a more precise delivery time.

Specifically, SimonDelivers, No. 96 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, is using new transportation management applications from UPS to give customers a more precise time as to when they can expect delivery of their groceries. Today SimonDelivers gives shoppers who have placed an order a two-hour arrival window of their scheduled delivery date.

But beginning in October SimonDelivers will give its shoppers more specific delivery updates that they can check by calling the company’s customer service center or by logging on to their account information at SimonDelivers.com. The new program gives customers an estimated arrival time of within 30 minutes of the scheduled delivery.

SimonDelivers uses established delivery routes and a roster of about 75 drivers to make deliveries in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The company’s drivers and delivery trucks are outfitted with Global Positioning System technology that’s directly integrated with the customer service center. With integrated phones and other touch points, SimonDelivers gets an update every two minutes on where its drivers are along their scheduled delivery routes.

But with better technology SimonDelivers can now give customers a more specific window of within 30 minutes as to when their groceries are scheduled to arrive. For instance, if a delivery is scheduled for 10:45 a.m., but there has been an accident or a traffic problem that’s pushing back the delivery time, the new UPS software lets SimonDelivers update its scheduling information with a new arrival time. Customers can then check back for the new delivery window.

Better delivery tracking software is also helping SimonDelivers extend its customer service program. Customers can now order up until 9 p.m. for delivery the next morning. Previously, SimonDelivers only guaranteed a morning delivery if the order was placed before 8 p.m. “The new software helps deliver more value to the customer,” says David Gandrud, director of marketing.

Better technology is helping drive annual sales growth at SimonDelivers. The company expects its 2005 web sales to be about $65 million, up from e-commerce sales of $62 million in 2004.

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