Insider Intelligence’s eMarketer reports that retail E-Commerce spending should stabilize in 2022, after the upheaval of the last two years. But once the dust settles, E-Commerce is still poised to hit more than $5 trillion this year, and grow to 23.6 percent of total retail sales by 2025. Depending on how your E-Commerce fulfillment — particularly last mile delivery — has gone over the past couple of years, that’s either exciting or scary news.
For retailers and their last mile delivery, the uptick in online sales can be a great thing if they can rise above the delivery frustrations many consumers have been experiencing.
According to a consumer survey by Logistics Viewpoints, 66 percent of consumers did not see improvement in last mile delivery — and even worse, a whopping 73 percent said they’d experienced some sort of delivery issue.
For customer-focused businesses, these numbers are unacceptable, even if they’re understandable in the recently chaotic supply chain landscape. So how can you up your last mile game even with higher E-Commerce volumes?
Overcome Last Mile Delivery Challenges
If you’ve served online customers for any length of time, you’ve likely run into these common challenges in fulfilling their orders:
Lack of visibility. Tracking numbers can only tell you so much; to really exceed customer expectations, you need real-time data at every step of your delivery’s path to their door. Without that visibility, it’s impossible to head off potential problems like weather or traffic and keep your customers in the loop.
Route optimization challenges. There’s a reason the last mile is the most expensive part of fulfillment: The carrier has to make lots of stops to get packages to multiple customers’ doors. Without careful routing to keep fuel and other costs down, your expenses can seriously cut into profits.
Customer experience management. No longer content to just get a tracking number and wait, customers want more control over their deliveries. That means good communication from both the retailer and the carrier, along with a variety of choices when it comes to delivery windows.
Optimize Your Last Mile Delivery Management
Fixing delivery issues starts with optimizing your fulfillment and last mile delivery processes. Last mile tracking requires more than just getting a tracking number from your carrier – you need full end-to-end control of your customer’s experience from ordering to delivery.
Optimization starts with validating customer addresses and choosing the best route for your last mile carrier. Route optimization also allows for combining shipments and sharing fleet assets when it makes sense to do so. For example, why do 4 separate deliveries with 4 separate drivers when those deliveries occur along the same route and can be managed in a combined shipment to hit the target SLAs?
Yet to truly succeed in last mile, you need to go even farther by spotting potential exceptions before they happen.
That means optimizing your last mile management to get real-time visibility on every delivery so you can catch a misrouted driver, avoid or navigate peak traffic, and adjust to weather issues that might delay the carrier.
Other important factors in improving your last mile delivery management include choosing the right carrier at the best price for each delivery, and analyzing your fulfillment data to find areas for improvement.
Use Last Mile Delivery Solutions to Meet Customer Expectations
Without a strong last mile delivery platform, optimization and overcoming challenges becomes even harder. It’s impossible to spot and avoid exceptions in real time if you don’t have software to give you that visibility.
And if you’re only relying on carrier tracking numbers, your customers don’t get seamless messaging through the fulfillment process — instead, they get handed off to a third-party tracking site.
But a robust last mile delivery solution helps you get a handle on all of these issues.
- Provide branded messaging throughout fulfillment to give your customer a one-on-one relationship with your brand;
- Catch destination address and routing issues, heavy traffic, and weather patterns to ensure smooth, on-time delivery; and
- Collect and analyze all your fulfillment data to spot pinch points and other areas to target for further optimization.
Putting all of these pieces together will up your last mile delivery game, putting you at the head of the pack when it comes to on-time delivery and customer experience. Your delighted customers will keep coming back time and again, giving you the edge you need in a competitive online retail environment.
Ready to explore a last mile delivery solution that puts customer experience front and center, and see all that can do for you? Schedule a demo today.