Last-mile delivery is one of the most important stages in a shipment’s journey.
It’s the moment that matters the most to your customers, and it is one of the main factors that impact customer retention and lifetime value (LTV). It also constitutes a costly and complex stage of your supply chain.
“Today, a great last-mile delivery experience is central to any e-commerce business”
Hence, it is a business necessity to choose a last-mile carrier who can handle your fulfilment challenges effectively and delight your customers with an exceptional delivery service.
In this article, we will recommend some tactics on how to choose a last-mile carrier who is most suitable for your line of business.
But let us first describe what exactly is last-mile delivery and the benefits of having the best last-mile delivery provider.
What is a last-mile carrier?
In simple terms, a last-mile carrier is a company that transports your shipments from warehouse or retail store to the customer in the fastest and most cost-effective way.
To achieve that, last-mile carriers are continuously searching for new ways to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of their operations, as customers are now accustomed to always expecting fast and accurate delivery when they shop online.
The performance of your last-mile carrier forms the core of the last-mile delivery experience, it is part of your brand experience where the delivery person, who is also a representative of your brand, comes face-to-face with your customers.
Save Time and Cost by Outsourcing Last-Mile Deliver
Managing and operating an in-house last-mile delivery will cost your business a lot! It requires you to hire professional staff who need salaries, training, and benefits. Moreover, there is the cost of owning facilities, such as fulfilment centers, warehouses, and a transportation fleet.
A third considerable cost is the cost of technologies that have become a necessity to meet customer expectations, such as tracking systems for the transportation fleet and a warehouse management system, etc.
Partnering with a last-mile courier will cut all these costs. You will not need to hire and train staff, and you will be able to use the last-mile delivery facilities instead of owning them. Also, you will leverage the power of the latest technologies that your partner owns.
Managing and operating your fulfilment centers, delivery team, and transportation fleet has another effect on your business! It costs your team time, which reduces the overall efficiency of the business.
Partnering with last-mile delivery providers helps you and your team focus more on what matters, such as existing product enhancement and new product innovation, which you will have plenty of time for by cutting the time needed for managing in-house final-mile delivery operations.
How to choose your last-mile delivery carrier?
As we mentioned above, last-mile delivery is the last step in logistics operations. There are many companies in the market that provide this crucial service, but not all of them have the right assets and technologies that help you meet your customers’ expectations for a seamless delivery experience.
Here are 4 aspects you should consider when choosing your last-mile carrier:
The visibility of the shipment journey is of high importance to you and your customers as well.
Tracking the shipment status helps you measure and enhance efficiency! And it enhances the trust of your customers in your brand as they can access the tracking information at any time throughout the journey.
According to a study made in 2019, 93% of customers want to stay informed during the delivery process—from in-transit status to final arrival date, and 47% will not order again from a brand with poor delivery visibility.
The distribution of your last-mile carrier’s fulfilment centers is one of the main factors that affect the speed and cost of your delivery process.
The closer the order fulfilment Centre is to the customer, the shorter the distance your products travel to get there. which will reflect positively on the efficiency and cost of delivery.
Therefore, it is important to choose a carrier with a network of fulfilment centers that match your distribution plan and cover your high consumption areas.
Advanced technologies increase efficiency and reduce delivery time, which in turn helps you increase your profit margins.
Hence, you should choose a last-mile carrier that uses the latest technologies for its delivery processes. Your last mile carrier should have a software suite that consists of a mobile app for drivers that is connected to the transportation management system, a fleet management system for dispatchers, and a tracking and notification mechanism (usually, a free mobile app) for customers.
4. Delivery Options
Carriers with different delivery options help you reduce your reverse logistics cost. If your carrier offers out-of-home delivery, also known as PUDO (Pick-up and drop-off), as a delivery option, your customers will be able to receive their shipments anytime at their convenience. They can redirect the shipment to the nearest ParcelPoint to their location if they are not home and pick it up whenever they want.
Finally, don’t forget that the last-mile delivery person is the only face your customer will see in the entire purchase process. So, it is critical to choose the right carrier whose delivery experience will turn your last mile into a last-Smile for your customers.