The rapid increase in ecommerce and online fulfilment has put more pressure on last-mile carriers as there has also been an increase in Last-Mile Delivery capacity. With this overwhelming increase in delivery volumes, more shippers have started to work with last-mile service providers, and we will show you how you can select a last-mile provider.
Last-Mile Delivery refers to a product’s journey from the warehouse shelf until it reaches its intended destination, usually a customer’s doorstep. It is referred to as the last-mile as it is the final step of the delivery process, and it is also the most crucial key of the entire process as it essentially leads to customer satisfaction.
1. Customer Experience
The customer’s experience is known to be a crucial aspect when it comes to building a brand. The customer’s experience is based on how the customer feels about the brand, and it is essential for customer retention. Last-Mile Delivery is the only time online businesses interact directly with their customers, and it assists companies to build a good reputation.
Last-mile can significantly increase efficiencies as it can reduce idling and avoid unplanned detours. Drivers will be offered reliable routes for them to complete their deliveries in the fastest time possible. It also ensures that managers can increase the number of deliveries that drivers conduct each day.
Maximizing profits is something that all businesses strive to do, and Last-Mile Delivery assists companies in achieving that goal. When businesses have timely deliveries and use route optimization for their orders, they will increase their profits.
How to Select a Last-Mile Service Provider
Last-Mile Delivery is essential for the success of a business, and you must understand how to select the right last-mile provider for your business.
1. Service Levels
When looking for the right last-mile service provider, ensure that you ask the following questions:
- Do they have multiple service levels?
- Will they be able to customize their services for your business needs?
No two businesses will have the exact needs; therefore, the service provider must offer the services that will fulfil your business needs. The service provider should customize the service level that allows you to configure the type of Last-Mile Delivery services your business offers.
2. Last-Mile Tracking
Real-time tracking in last-mile is essential as it measures performance and enables customers to have a great delivery experience. Customers want the option to track their packages throughout the Last-Mile Delivery process. There are several last-mile tracking for different things:
- Delivery tracking or order tracking: Customers want to have real-time visibility of their orders wherever they are. They can track the entire delivery process, ensuring that customers are satisfied with the whole delivery process.
- Last-mile service provider tracking: The business should have more access to the process, allowing visibility into the driver’s real-time location. Having access to this information ensures that the process is more efficient and that the business can analyze the carrier’s performance.
3. Last-Mile Delivery Models
The order fulfilment process should be made more accessible for customers to ensure that they use the business again. What customers seek is quicker, safer and convenient access to their orders. Therefore, last-mile companies should select a last-mile provider who will offer a wide range of delivery possibilities to ensure that customers receive the ease and convenience they require. The fulfilment models that businesses should enquire about include:
- Deliver from store vs deliver from hub: The business should find out whether the service provider offers the option to ship directly from the store or whether they only deliver from their warehouse or distribution centre. The location where they deliver from will impact their ability to offer same-day or next-day delivery options.
- Same-day delivery option: There has been a rapid increase in the demand for same-day delivery as over 30% of customers want this delivery option. Therefore, you should ensure that the service provider can provide your customers with this option.
- Point to point vs batching: Does the last-mile service provider deliver one order at a time, or do they deliver multiple ‘batched’ orders per route?
4. Integration and Delivery Services
For businesses to offer their customers premium delivery services, they should offer models like same-day delivery. They need to collaborate with service providers that provide easier integration to connect resources, operations, and data in real-time. Easy integration has been noted as being one of the keys to ensuring delivery success. Therefore, you must check with the service provider to understand which integrations they offer and the tech solutions they use for integrations. Service providers that enable easier integration will be essential as they can scale your last-mile operations.
5. Delivery Costs
Though lower costs are necessary, they shouldn’t be all that you look for. In the case of your business trying to offer same-day delivery, this could be more expensive than it would be for longer deliveries. Therefore, you shouldn’t only compare their delivery costs, but you should also look at all the services they offer compared to other companies.
6. Last-Mile Technology
With an increase in volume for Last-Mile Delivery, there must be a solution that assists companies in dealing with the issue. Therefore, when last-mile businesses are looking for service providers, they need to look for a provider who constantly updates their technology to manage the increase in deliveries and returns that they might face. Companies should look out for the service provider giving you and the customer the ability to track shipments, route optimization, and machine learning capabilities.
7. Customer Experience
The service provider you select must make it easier for you to win more business. Businesses can achieve this by ensuring that their customers have a positive delivery experience. Therefore, ensure that the service provider enables you to offer your customer the following options:
- Automated scheduling and rescheduling: The service provider should provide the option for automated scheduling and rescheduling to reduce costs associated with failed deliveries. Scheduling and rescheduling also ensure that customers have an improved delivery experience.
- Customers should receive real-time communication and the ability to communicate with the delivery drivers through the app.
- Customers should also be able to receive automated SMS alerts.
- The service provider should be able to give customer ratings making it easier for customers to provide feedback.
With rising delivery expectations and delivery capacity, Last-Mile Delivery businesses must choose service providers to assist them in meeting demand. By following the strategies offered above, companies will be able to select service providers that will help them scale delivery and offer their customers the best delivery experience.