As the eCommerce market becomes exponentially valuable in the new digital age, more companies are increasing their focus on their last mile logistics strategy. The better this strategy, the more likely your business delivers packages to clients both efficiently and reliably. This leads to satisfied customers who recommend your services online, helping to build your reputation and encouraging other people to try your product in the future.
What Are Last Mile Logistics and Why Should You Try to Improve Them?
Last mile logistics refers to the final step in the supply chain when the product reaches the customer after a long delivery process. This process starts with the supplier before moving to the manufacturer and then to the distributor, who has to use suitable shipping materials to transport the product to the consumer.
Many large online retailers use a variety of local and regional package carriers to take products to the customer as part of their last mile delivery. Having an effective last mile logistics strategy can help you deliver packages to your consumers quickly and efficiently.
As more customers worldwide are becoming accustomed to receiving products within 24 hours of placing an order, it’s crucial that you take the time to consider your last mile logistics and satisfy your clients’ expectations for quick and efficient delivery service.
Ways to Improve Your Last Mile Logistics: 6 Actionable Tips
There are various ways you can improve your company’s last mile logistics, from investing in a tracking system to increasing your communication efforts with first-time customers.
1. Take time to develop a comprehensive strategy for your last mile logistics.
In 2016, McKinsey & Company surveyed nearly 5,000 customers across the United States, China and Germany: They found that almost a quarter of these people would gladly pay extra money to companies that offered same-day or premium delivery options. As eCommerce becomes more popular, the percentage of clients willing to pay more will likely increase.
Last mile delivery is one of the major factors that influence whether a first-time customer will purchase products from your company in the future. If you develop a reputation as a business that delivers packages quickly and securely, you’ll see an increase in the number of people investing in your product. For these reasons, it’s crucial to take the time to develop a comprehensive last mile logistics plan for your company.
2. Let the customer choose their delivery window.
By allowing your customer to pick their preferred window of delivery, you’re far more likely to be able to hand over the parcel to this person rather than having to leave it outside their door or with a neighbor. Often, if the customer isn’t in the house when the carrier arrives with their package, the carrier returns the parcel to the depot center.
Whenever any of these complications arise, you’re having to deal with a supplementary and complicating stage of the supply chain. This extra step always heightens the chance that you lose track of the parcel, which results in a dissatisfied customer.
3. Invest in a high-quality GPS-enabled tracking system.
Another effective way to improve your last mile logistics is to invest in a high-quality tracking program or software. These web-based systems allow you to keep on top of your orders and communicate with customers in real-time if you’re worried about missing your pre-agreed delivery slot.
Premium-grade tracking software also changes the package’s ETA automatically if necessary, informing your clients if there’s heavy traffic en route to their house. Some systems provide carriers with constant updates if there’s a less congested route to take that gets them to the consumer’s house on time.
Additionally, many tracking systems also consolidate a host of data from your company’s warehouse through to the shipment process and the carrier’s journey to the customer’s doorstep. This allows you to monitor the package’s progress through the whole delivery chain. You should also make sure you’re using a shipping company with access to a comprehensive and UN-certified container and packaging supply — that way, you’ll know that your packages are always protected in transit.
4. Use crowdsourcing apps.
If you run a company that delivers a large proportion of its packages to city-based consumers, consider using crowdsourcing technology to engage a large number of employees who live in the nearby area. You can use an online crowdsourcing platform to ask these people to deliver packages quickly and at short notice.
Using crowdsourcing technology is an ideal way to ensure rapid delivery times, working particularly well for takeout services in urban environments. In these cases, customers expect their food to arrive between 20 to 60 minutes after they’ve ordered it, so you’ll need to utilize a group of workers that live near your clients and can work immediately.
5. Focus on effective communication with customers on first-time deliveries.
Ideally, you should focus on communicating effectively with your customers at all times. However, it’s worth putting extra emphasis on making sure your first-time deliveries to clients go as smoothly as possible. The more you’re able to deliver packages to consumers on the first try, the more you decrease the risk of losing or misplacing the package and the more likely you are to earn repeat custom.
You can invest in a last mile logistics solution program or system that allows you to communicate effectively with your customers at all times during the delivery process. Some premium-grade solutions allow your clients to change their delivery window whenever they want, optimizing your company’s chances of getting the package directly to your customers.
6. Try the delivery locker strategy.
In recent times, companies like Amazon have adopted a delivery locker system, where carriers drop parcels in secure lockers at specific sites before sending a notification to the customer who lives close to this site. This message includes the code the client needs to open the electronic locker where their package is being stored.
If you have the resources to follow this strategy, you’ll find that it’s an innovative way to avoid any issues associated with missing first-time deliveries. You can adopt this locker model on university campuses, retail stores or malls and multi-family residential areas, where people can walk to the locker site easily.
This saves your carriers the trouble of finding individual dormitories or apartments or stores when they’re delivering to a campus or commercial building. You also don’t have to worry about someone breaking into the electronic lockers and stealing a customer’s package because these electronic cabinets are sealed and secure at all times.
Improve Your Last Mile Logistics and Take Your Business to the Next Level
Taking the time to build a comprehensive and innovative last mile logistics strategy for your company can ensure you increase your first-time delivery success rate, which, in turn, will encourage more people to buy your products and recommend your business to their friends.