There has been an increase in demand for eCommerce businesses as customers have started to embrace online shopping. Customers require an online shopping experience with speedy fulfilment. All these factors have led to companies looking for ways to fulfil last-mile delivery.
What is Last-Mile Delivery?
Last-mile delivery refers to the last part of the delivery process where the delivery parcel is moved from the warehouse shelf to the final destination, which is usually the customer’s doorstep. Last-mile delivery is a vital step in the delivery process, but it is also the most time consuming and expensive part as costs are 53% of the overall delivery process. Businesses need to ensure that deliveries are as fast and efficient as possible.
Last-Mile Delivery Benefits
Last-mile delivery offers many benefits as it offers control and visibility into the delivery process. Some of these benefits include:
1. Offers route optimization
Last-mile delivery is able to see things such as bad weather, route disruptions, and traffic with the use of real-time data. Once the real-time data has been captured, it can be used to assign alternative routes that can make the delivery process more efficient.
2. Quicker shipping and delivery process
Last-mile delivery gets rid of manual methods like handwritten receipts or notes – which are time-consuming – in order to make use of automation instead. Automation makes the delivery process quicker and reduces repetitive tasks as well as reduce human errors that increase the costs you incur and the time and resources you spend.
3. Creates flexible deliveries
In this day and age, what customers truly require are more flexible delivery options as this improves their online shopping experience. Last-mile delivery solutions ensure that customers choose or change the delivery time to one that suits them best.
4. Better order management
The last-mile delivery solution assists by informing you and your customers of any delays that might occur because even if you plan to deliver on time, there are some unexpected and unavoidable delays that will occur. Through automatic delivery updates, your customers will be able to receive delivery times so that they can prepare for them and receive them when they arrive.
Last-Mile Delivery Solutions
Since last-mile delivery is such a huge aspect of the delivery process, it is crucial that everything goes well in order to meet customer expectations. Here are some key ways that you can improve last-mile delivery.
1. Optimize route planning
During the delivery process, each driver that makes those deliveries knows which routes they must use to do so. However, there can be issues that could occur within that route, such as traffic which can lead to delivery delays. One way to avoid route delays is by automating route planning. By automating route planning, you can choose alternative routes that the driver can make use of when delays occur and ensure that the driver that is chosen for delivery is efficient.
2. Allow customers to choose
The customer should always feel like they are in control throughout the delivery process, and you can enable them to take control by allowing them to choose their preferred delivery time. By letting customers choose their preferred choice from the delivery options available, you will also ensure that the delivery will be successful the first time you provide the customer with their order. This option will also increase customer satisfaction as the customer’s order will be delivered when and where they choose to receive it.
3. Communicate with customers
The ultimate goal of your business should be to provide your customers with the best possible service. In order for you to achieve this goal, you need to communicate with customers throughout the delivery process regarding the location of their package from the warehouse until it reaches their personal residence. You can do this by sending them SMSs or emails regarding their order.
Not only does communication with customers during the delivery process increase the customer’s trust in your brand, but it reduces the service-related calls you receive from the customer s about their order status. Updates are especially important on the day of delivery as they ensure that the customer will be home to receive their order.
4. Track orders in real-time
It is crucial that customers are able to track their orders in real-time, so businesses should provide their customers with order tracking numbers. By offering tracking numbers, customers will know when to expect orders and plan adequately, which improves the experience of the customer.
5. Make use of proof of delivery
Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) is a document that proves that an order was delivered, and it includes photographs or signatures from the recipient as well as the date and time stamp. Collecting proof of delivery ensures that the delivery process is pleasant for all the parties involved as everything occurs in a timely manner, and delivery issues can be avoided.
6. Adjust transport schedule
Customers are constantly placing orders throughout the day. Therefore, it is necessary to have an omnichannel fulfilment system that enables you to adjust transport schedules as new customer orders are added. An omnichannel fulfilment system takes certain factors into consideration before it comes up with new possible delivery times within that timeframe, such as delivery areas, the resources available, and existing orders that have already been confirmed. Through this, your business improves operational efficiency while offering customers a reliable service.
7. Make use of warehouse management software
Warehouse Management Software (WMS) is software that is able to improve daily operations in a warehouse as it can reduce time spent during the picking process. It can also improve the number of product touches and the time spent travelling paths which all translates to faster order turnaround and shipping.
WMS is able to prevent human-errors that occur in the warehouse due to inaccuracies. WMS reduces last-mile delivery costs as it has volumetric calculation capabilities that determines the smallest box that a package can be put in; reducing packaging and transportation costs.