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Last-Mile Delivery: 6 Tips for Succeeding

Businesses that offer delivery of goods—whether they are large multi-national eCommerce stores or local furniture outlets—all face the challenge of providing a stellar delivery service. Especially at E-Commerce sector there many different methods in delivery such as dropshipping. Arguably the most significant aspect of that challenge along the entire supply chain is the movement of goods to their final destination from a distribution center to end customer; the so-called last-mile delivery.

Last mile logistics are unpredictable and inefficient. Factors such as higher fuel costs and driver shortages can drive last-mile delivery costs up. Furthermore, customers are becoming more discerning in an ultra-competitive business landscape, and they increasingly demand full transparency into the last leg of the delivery journey. People want to know exactly where the driver is at a given time, and they want their product to arrive precisely at a time that is most convenient to them.

If you want to implement a winning last mile delivery strategy for your business, check out these six useful tips.

Efficiency Through Tracking

Much of the desired visibility into the last mile from the perspective of both business and end customers can be gleaned through the use of technology to provide last mile tracking solutions. From a business standpoint, real-time visibility into driver location provides metrics that can help to iron out last mile inefficiencies. Furthermore, last mile tracking can prove a key selling point for customers who appreciate knowing exactly where their driver and goods are at a given point. A better delivery experience for customers entails knowing exactly when their product will arrive so that they can complete errands or get on with daily activities without waiting around for a vague estimated delivery time.

Emphasize Delivery Time Personalization

Related to the previous point from a customer perspective, delivery time personalization is becoming an important factor when choosing a retailer, particularly in eCommerce. Most people are familiar with how Amazon tries to drive home the attractiveness of the same day delivery option in its advertising for the Prime service. It’s worth bearing in mind also that 96 percent of customers equate fast delivery with same day delivery.

But delivery time personalization is more than just same day delivery. Clearly, speed is crucial, but just as important is convenience. Retailers that want to provide outstanding last-mile delivery should factor in same day delivery, chosen time delivery, or perhaps local pickup delivery, in which the customer can pick up their parcel from a convenience store in their vicinity. The greater the number of last-mile delivery choices, the more likely are customers to be satisfied with the delivery experience.

Consider Alternative Modes of Transport

Advances in technology have made it possible to sharply reduce reliance on the quintessential last mile mode of transport: the humble courier van. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are being tested by a number of leading retailers to get products to customers more efficiently.

It remains to be seen whether regulatory and safety concerns will ultimately hamper the potential for drones in last-mile delivery, but other technology developments offer hope. Advancements in artificial intelligence have catered for the creation of reliable semi- and fully-autonomous ground vehicles (AGV) that look set to dramatically reduce last mile labor and fuel costs over the coming decade. It’s likely that not adopting alternative modes of transport in some capacity will lead to an untenable last-mile delivery model.

Reduce the Last Mile Distance

The last mile is, of course, a metaphor for the journey from fulfillment center to end customer—its actual distance is typically much longer than just a single mile. A reduction in the actual last mile distance could lead to greater efficiencies and lower costs, even for those companies that lag behind in terms of adopting alternative modes of transport.

To reduce this distance, one available option is to use retail outlets as distribution centers, particularly in areas with large customer bases. This option rests on the retailer conducting both eCommerce and brick and mortar business, but pure eCommerce retailers have the option to rent out a space and use it to shrink last mile distances in areas where their products are particularly popular.

Offer White Glove Services

Another way to improve last-mile delivery that isn’t directly related to the actual logistics of the last-mile is to offer white glove services alongside the delivery. Companies such as Ikea offer such services, with the option to pay extra for unpacking and product assembly. Several transportation companies also have a white glove service so if your last-mile delivery is outsourced, then it is still feasible to offer.

Shop Around for The Right Delivery Partner

Most retailers don’t specialize in the actual delivery of the products or services they offer; this responsibility is passed on via a partnership with a shipping provider or even a postal service. Given the importance of the last mile in terms of overall customer satisfaction, it’s imperative to choose a delivery partner that meets your business’ needs and customer expectations.

A winning last-mile strategy should entail taking the time to research delivery partners to see if the carrier understands your customers, what specific last mile services they provide, and what their pricing model is.

Wrap Up

Consider incorporating some or all of these six practices if you want to make your last-mile delivery strategy a success

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