UAE - RouteQ, a provider of cloud-based, AI-driven solutions for route planning, has announced that Dubai-based online gifting platform, BloomingBox, has leveraged RouteQ’s route-optimization and track-and-trace solutions to enhance last-mile delivery operations, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and spur business growth.

Launched in 2018 by UAE-based entrepreneurs Tariq Abu Samra and Jaya Arunasalam, BloomingBox is an online gift platform specializing in same-day delivery of premium products including flowers, plants, cakes, boxed confectionery, hampers and a range of other high-end items. The company has seen exponential year-on-year growth since its founding and currently offers same day delivery across the seven Emirates with an additional bullet service offered to customers within Dubai, a statement by the company said.

“All aspects of our world are digital-first now,” said Jaya Arunasalam, Managing Partner at BloomingBox. “If you don’t stand out and if you are unable to deliver exceptional and memorable customer experiences every time, it is all too easy for customers to swipe you off screen and forget about you. In the UAE, the surge in demand for online retail has led to a hyper-competitive market in which we all must constantly devise ways of differentiating ourselves in order to stand out from the crowd. At BloomingBox, we may offer unique items that redefine the art of gifting, but we also must be able to meet customer demands for rapid, accurate and reliable delivery.”

BloomingBox operates a hybrid delivery model comprised of its own workforce of drivers and a dedicated fleet of cars and bikes, supplemented by an on-demand fleet of cars. The model was selected for its potential to meet fluctuating demand cycles caused by seasonal and unforeseen factors. To deliver orders to customers’ doors on time, every time, BloomingBox divides its order fulfilment into three main functions. First-mile services are responsible for picking up items from suppliers and delivering them to BloomingBox’s warehouse. Middle-mile services cover transport between the warehouse and the company’s redistribution hubs. And last-mile services deliver the orders to customers.

“We are grateful to have reached year-on-year growth rates of above 200%,” Arunasalam explained. “We previously kept a close eye on regional growth, but our last-mile promises were unsustainable due to our high order volumes, so we needed to make a change to our technology capabilities. Specifically, we needed a way to optimize last-mile delivery through automation of route calculation.”

After assessing a range of alternatives, BloomingBox chose RouteQ for its advanced, AI-driven capabilities and user-friendly interface as well as the platform’s ability to allow the company to develop new products quickly.

Arunasalam said: “We found that RouteQ was a very well-respected brand in the industry. It offered the latest technology, but affordably and without a complex learning curve. The platform is highly scalable, which was important to us given our recent growth trends. And we saw RouteQ’s ability to innovate and offer new and improved solutions and modules, in short timeframes, as another key consideration.”

Through RouteQ, BloomingBox was able to introduce complete automation of its last-mile deliveries, which had previously been manual and prone to human error. RouteQ AI now optimizes routes for all last-mile drivers. BloomingBox has already been able to launch new offerings, such as bullet deliveries via the BloomingBox website and third-party partners. The company has also managed to drive down operating costs, improve customer satisfaction, and grow its business.

“Route planning and delivery tracking boosted our capacity to optimize our fleet size and successfully determine our roundtrip requirements, as well as got us up to a more-than 95% OTD rate,” Arunasalam said.

RouteQ’s solution for route planning and delivery tracking also reduced BloomingBox’s delayed deliveries by 40% and increased its fleet utilization by up to 90% during duty hours while reducing fleet size by 30%.

“To compete, the customer experience must be the prime focus,” said Vladimir Nesterov, General Manager, Middle East, at RouteQ. “In the modern economy of ‘at-home everything’, last-mile delivery is a critical component of how people shop. For BloomingBox, which specializes in gifting, the last-mile function can be the weakest link when you do not have the option of missing or being late with a deadline. A 2020 report from the World Economic Forum puts last-mile at 53% of shipping costs and 41% of total supply-chain costs, so companies like BloomingBox are increasingly looking for ways to optimize it. RouteQ has been investing in the region, both in terms of personnel and technology, because we see this demand for exceptionalism, and we strongly believe our platform has an important role to play in delivering outstanding customer experiences.”

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