Gone are the days when to thrive in a competitive market, logistics and eCommerce businesses had to offer unique selling propositions and create unparalleled customer experience by making the order, payment, and delivery process smooth. These efforts still work, but they are not the sole things to make a business stand out. Prioritizing customer experience is essential, and therefore you, as a business person, have to do some extra. According to HubSpot Research, 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that provide superb customer assistance.
Nowadays, after placing an order, consumers expect to receive items, such as food, groceries, merchandise, in as little time as possible. To meet consumer demand, you can offer prompt last-mile delivery service.
Let’s Have a Brief View on the Concept of Last-Mile Delivery!
The complete journey of an item from a rack of a warehouse to a customer’s doorstep is called “Last Mile”. It is aimed to deliver a package to a customer as fast as possible. This is very important in logistics and supply chain business. If done correctly, this service can help you save a significant amount of time and money. Eventually, your business becomes efficient and profitable. It has been noticed that with time, especially eCommerce retail companies are understanding the importance of last-mile service and giving value to it.
Opting for last-time delivery has become a must for all eCommerce retailers to meet consumer demand while making a business stand ahead in the market. One of the primary reasons for that is; most eCommerce companies let customers track their orders through real-time updates. However, sometimes deliveries get delayed even after customers receive an “out for delivery“ status update.
But why does this happen?
This happens mainly due to low drop sizes at the time of proceeding towards the last stop during the delivery process. For example, there is more than one delivery in different directions on the same day. The distance between all places can be the reason for the delay in delivery. On the other hand, in metropolitan areas, the delay may happen due to extreme traffic congestion between two places.
When it comes to customers, the report says, 66% of buyers expect their order to be delivered at the doorstep while one-quarter of them do not mind paying extra for same-day delivery. For some product categories, such as electronic items, groceries, and automotive parts, consumers are most likely to pay up to 45% extra for fast delivery. For these types of items, around 9% of customers are ready to pay an additional $5 along with the regular parcel delivery charge. Therefore, it is clear that there is a demand for same-day or instant delivery assistance among eCommerce retail consumers, at least for specific product categories.
Therefore logistics companies should focus on the customers who face any unpredicted delivery issues. Thanks to the last-mile delivery service model, all the orders can be delivered with utter effectiveness. Renowned names in the eCommerce industry, such as Amazon and FedEx have already expanded their network to offer flawless last-mile logistics service and excellent customer experience. The success of these companies is inspiring more eCommerce giants to improve their last-mile delivery service.
But the process is not easy. There are some challenges associated with it. Without being aware of the challenges, a company cannot improve the service and achieve success.
What Are The Challenges in Last-mile Delivery?
Without an organized operational approach, a process of last-mile delivery can easily cause missed delivery schedules, excessive fuel consumption, and inaccurate deliveries. Let’s have a look at the other challenges associated with this process.
Having Restricted Visibility
Due to a lack of tracking information and communication between fleet owners, delivery personnel, and customers, last-mile delivery may face limited visibility problems.
Guaranteeing Smooth Delivery
The consumer demand for fast delivery is rapidly growing. Moreover, most consumers expect flexibility, customization, and a real-time tracking facility after placing an order. As a result, many companies often face challenges in meeting such growing expectations while keeping the delivery seamless.
Connecting Customers to Delivery Personnel
If a customer is not present at the delivery spot to receive a package or unavailable to be contacted, it causes a waste of time and money. Also, such undesirable scenarios may cause damage or loss of the package.
Failing to track delivery personnel and optimize routes can affect consumer experience and increase operating costs.
Packing & Installing
Some product categories need expert assistance in packing and assembling. Some require proficient technicians for installation as well. Therefore if a company does not have adequate skilled delivery personnel and technicians, then consumer experience will severely be affected.
Above are some of the major roadblocks last-mile delivery come across.
Is there any way to overcome these challenges? Of course, there is. Technological advancement can be your savior. Thanks to technological advancement, last-mile delivery software can help you overcome all the significant challenges that hinder the entire process and affect consumer experience.
How Does A Feature-rich Software Make Last-Mile Delivery Service Efficient?
With some advanced features, such a software can make last-mile delivery service prompt and hassle-free. Below are some of its amazing features:
1 Accurate Route Optimization
This feature helps in finding the most efficient route to reach a destination. Thus the delivery can be possible in a faster way. Also, you can reoptimize or make any change at the last minute and send real-time updates about that to the driver.
2 Automated Dispatch
This helps you manage all orders efficiently. It allocates the right task to the right driver at the right time and therefore reduces the service time and operating cost.
3 Delivery Details
A last-mile delivery app helps you to complete delivery in an organized and efficient manner with the help of delivery related photos, notes, in-app signatures, and package barcodes.
4 Real-time Visibility & Status Update
The entire delivery process becomes transparent as the customers get real-time shipment status updates. There’s information about the delivery date and delivery person. Moreover, in case there is any delay, the customers get notified. And the best thing is, the customers can contact the delivery agent if there is an issue.
Not only the customers, as an owner, you also get benefits from this feature. Software increases the visibility of vehicles. Thus you can track your staff’s productivity. Also, it helps in reducing spoilage and pilferage.
5 Key Insights
You can check key metrics such as delivery success rates, distance traveled, service times, on-time rates, and feedback daily, weekly, and even hourly. Also, the analytics report gives you an insight into how your overall performance is. This helps you make better decisions for your service improvement.
What Are The Benefits of Last-mile Delivery?
Below are the benefits your company can get by offering a last-mile delivery service:
Increases Service Flexibility
Customers prefer flexible and customizable delivery assistance. With last-mile delivery assistance, you can let your customers customize delivery time and location as per their convenience. This makes your service flexible and helps you meet your customer satisfaction.
With a last-mile delivery software, you can avoid unnecessary inactiveness or impromptu diversions. Also, your drivers can deliver packages fast by driving through efficient routes. Moreover, you can manage the complete deliveries daily by accurately planning routes.
By growing productivity, optimizing routes, improving customer satisfaction, establishing brand loyalty, minimizing fuel consumption, reducing fleet management cost, and increasing consumer retention, last-mile delivery service can maximize the profitability of your business.
This instant delivery solution automates various tasks. Therefore a great amount of time, money, and energy get saved. Also, it makes the shipping and delivery operations organized. Consequently, the overall operations become efficient, and you can cater to a large group of customers at once.
How Are Technological Advancements Going to Affect the Last-mile Delivery Market?
If you are in a logistics or an eCommerce business, mastering the last-mile delivery service is a must for you. And to do that, you should be aware of the impact of technology in the last-mile delivery market and what the future holds for this autonomous delivery model.
This is one of the rising trends where logistics companies use city warehouse space to make last-mile delivery service quicker and easier.
Opting for on-demand drivers can help logistics companies expedite the last-mile delivery service efficiently. Many companies, such as Amazon, UberEATS, have already started allowing their drivers to make money by riding their own vehicles and delivering items. This way, customers get a fast last-minute doorstep delivery option. Driverless automated vehicles and self-driving delivery robots are also considered as future trends in this market. In last-mile service, navigating congested sidewalks and multi-storied buildings often becomes essential. This is where autonomous vehicles can be of great help. Such advanced delivery robots can act as small lockers and have smart navigation abilities. They can make the door to door delivery process quick and efficient.
The idea of a drone landing at a customer’s doorstep with a delivery package is not a science fiction fantasy concept anymore. The retail industry is taking an interest in adopting drone delivery to solve problems associated with the last-mile delivery process. In fact, some companies have already put their feet forward to embrace this technological advancement.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Undoubtedly, AI is the future of shipping. It can revolutionize the last-mile delivery process. With AI, sending goods to distribution centers, storing stocks, managing the delivery routes for self-driven robots, driverless vehicles, and drones can be seamless and secure.
Strengthening the last-mile delivery service has become a must for logistics and eCommerce companies in order to survive in the competitive industry. Having a feature-rich advanced technological solution for this can certainly improve the service and boost the profits. And to propel forward your business, do not forget to adapt the latest trends that can make the last-mile delivery solution smarter and more organized.
Nitin Lahoti is the Co-Founder and Director at Mobisoft Infotech. He has 14 years of experience in Design, Business Development and Startups. His expertise is in Product Ideation, UX/UI design, Startup consulting and mentoring. He prefers business readings and loves traveling.