Many customers want a unique product and shopping experience. They also want to receive products as soon as possible. This is why last-mile delivery is such an important factor for e-retailers to consider in order to fuel successful growth in e-commerce.
Moving a product from a warehouse through a logistics company to a hub closest to a customer is generally inexpensive and stress-free as these carriers run these routes every day.
Getting a product from that hub to a customer’s front door however, is a little trickier—and drives up shipping costs.
Let’s look at how e-commerce brands can analyze their last-mile delivery and improve it.
Ways to Improve Your Last-Mile Delivery
1. Make Sure Your Technology Fits Your Logistics Strategy
E-commerce owners can leverage technology such as big data to make small changes and improvements to last-mile logistics processes.
E-retailers considering implementing or upgrading technology to meet these demands should also consider speed of implementation and ease of use prior to making any changes.
The e-commerce marketplace moves at a rapid pace and unnecessary shipping delays could hurt customer loyalty.
The technology used to track, trace and evaluate your shipping should be flexible and able to provide different sets of data to evaluate shipping. It should also provide visibility into the last-mile strategy, so issues and possible bottlenecks can be easily identified.
2. Give Customers Flexible Delivery Options
Setting a standard delivery window is acceptable, but customers willingly pay more for expedited delivery options when they’re available.
Seventy-five percent of online shoppers are willing to pay a premium for expedited shipping. In order to meet expectations, e-retailers are being pushed to offer premium shipping, which includes delivery options such as same-day and next-day delivery.
Giving customers a variety of shipping options allows them to dictate terms and manage their own delivery expectations.
3. Use a 3PL With Route Navigation and Tracking Capabilities
When searching for a third-party logistics provider, get information about how their last-mile delivery process works. It’s easy enough for a semi-truck to navigate on the highway, but once the driver gets into urban areas, it can be difficult to get where they need to go.
When evaluating a 3PL, try to make sure they have a route navigation to avoid tight roads or roads that bigger trucks aren’t allowed to drive on.
If you sell electronics online or another high-value product, you’ll want the ability to make sure your products are where they’re supposed to be during the shipping process.
Many 3PLs have online tracking services so you know where the truck carrying your electronics is at all times. This also gives you the ability to give your customers shipping updates, even if they don’t ask for them.
4. Consider Location When Choosing a 3PL
For e-commerce companies, an optimized last-mile delivery can be a missing link in their supply chain.
On average, the last mile makes up nearly 30 percent of transportation costs and it’s hard to reduce.
Going with a 3PL who is local to your customer or a group of customers can help reduce costs. A local 3PL will know their area inside and out; the delivery driver won’t get lost or caught up somewhere because they drive a similar route every day.
A 3PL with a network of local delivery trucks can be a major asset to your e-commerce business.
Local delivery trucks don’t run into the same issues as a semi-truck when trying to navigate through a city or small town. Similar to UPS or FedEx’s delivery trucks, these local fleets can deliver your product right to your customer’s front door.
5. Measure Your Performance and Adjust When Necessary
According to Supply Chain Beyond, using data to measure last-mile delivery and services times will allow you to increase productivity and accountability, measure on-time delivery rates and determine where schedule and process adjustments need to be made.
These adjustments should guarantee customer requirements are met at the lowest cost possible.
By measuring your performance, you can see the areas that need to be addressed and adjust operations to increase asset utilization, improve profitability and ensure appropriate levels of customer service.
Last-mile delivery can be an area that really makes or breaks your reputation with your customers. They don’t understand nor care what you have to go through to make sure their order shows up on their doorstep. Their only concern is whether it does so on time.
Take these factors into account when pondering how your e-commerce brand can analyze last-mile delivery and improve it.