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A Closer Look At: Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is where the magic happens.

After all, there’s nothing really obvious about your package making it transfer hub after transfer hub or going through a variety of sorters, but the person who brings that package to the porch is a highly visible, and highly valuable, member of your team.

Whether you handle last mile in-house, you’ve contracted with a freight company or you let your 3rd party logistics company (3PL) manage the details, that last mile is the most important one.

What Last Mile Can Do For You

Last mile delivery means a lot of different things for different companies. For some, it’s simply delivery and nothing more, but for others, it can be a great way to increase customer touch and improve customer satisfaction, by:

  • Ensuring packages are safe from thieves. Package thieves, also known as “porch pirates,” are an increasing problem for eCommerce order fulfillment. But last mile delivery companies are trying out better ways to deliver goods in a protected way. DHL is experimenting with dropping packages in the trunks of Smart cars and other companies like FedEx have set up drop lockers in urban areas to ensure that customers get the orders they’ve paid for, just to name a few.Assembling orders. When customers order flat-packed items like grills, playground equipment or furniture, they often need help putting their items together. These shoppers appreciate that you are willing to give them the knowledgeable help they need to properly assemble their purchase and it can result in higher ratings for both your shop and the individual item, since they don’t experience the frustration of fumbling with woefully inadequate toolkits.
  • Installing merchandise. You last mile team can make large items that generally need installation a one-stop experience by scheduling both drop off and install together. By ensuring items like above-ground swimming pools, appliances and cabinets are delivered by people who can put them together and in their proper place, your shoppers don’t have to worry about missing a part or getting part way through the install and realizing they should have never tried to DIY it.

The Future of Last Mile

Last mile is an area that’s been getting a lot of attention from different sectors. Uber, for example, is exploring last mile delivery straight to homes and businesses. Drones are an up and coming last mile technology that could easily become a major cost saver. Once they’re allowed to travel beyond line of sight, they could be used to deliver packages to those much more expensive remote areas, cutting shipping costs overall quite dramatically.

There’s a lot to examine when it comes to last mile delivery, but for customers it may still come down largely to cost. Ensure that you’re providing more than one delivery choice with your eCommerce order fulfillment software so that shoppers can pick the last mile package that makes the most sense for them.

April 20, 2017
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