In today’s extremely progressive ecommerce business environment, we can’t afford to ignore the innovation that continues to take place in the last mile delivery. Here are just a few:
- Online trucking apps for retail shopping
- Driverless vehicles
Each year the supply chain industry continues to see evidence of continued growth in online shopping, especially showing marked increases, with each passing holiday season. Recent research indicates that last mile delivery has experienced a dynamic growth rate in North America between 7% and 10% in the last 24 months and exceeding 100% growth in developing countries.
There are plain and simple reasons this marked growth cannot be ignored:
- Customers Demand Quicker Personalized Service: More consumers are using hand held mobile devices for an increasing number of actions including online ordering. Therefore expectations are higher than ever, especially when it comes to service. More customers are seeking to have their orders collected at one location and then brought to them in a single delivery, with flexibility that fits with their work schedules. Businesses are expected to be efficient in improving their service levels and operations, by offering matching flexibilities in their delivery windows. When this is done well, it enhances sales and drives customer loyalty.
- The local driver, courier and delivery company assisting the retailer with your delivery represents your brand to your customer – choose wisely. If the driver is offensive to the customer or is inappropriately dressed or walks snow or mud into the house, the retailer loses the customer and sales are negatively impacted. The last mile delivery must be managed end to end by the logistics provider by partnering with the retailer, utilizing the best available technology to streamline the way information is captured and communicated to all stakeholders in real time. Effectively done, this ‘locks in’ loyalty from both the retailer and the end customer.
- Clear Customer Communication: Unhappy customers can have a detrimental effect on your bottom line. It is imperative that the retailer has a clear understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the last mile delivery provider. Is the operation 24/7? Does the courier/3pl keep the customer up to date with timely status notifications? These are a few reasons why last mile delivery is commonly referred to as “The Moment That Matters”.
- Innovation is changing the way we receive deliveries ranging from letters, notices, to clothing to food from specialty markets, etc. This influences who customers choose to purchase from, in order to fit their busy lifestyles. Parcel Locker Networks and Pick Up Centres are already appearing everywhere, from grocery store locations, to strip malls, etc. On-line retailers as well as global couriers use them as they offer a highly convenient and reliable alternative for Last Mile Delivery. The customer shops online and selects the Parcel Locker as their preferred delivery option and chooses a Locker location that is closest to them.
- Another innovation is Drones – accompanied with automated vehicles and robots. Companies like Amazon are testing Last Mile Delivery by way of using Drones. It’s a delivery system of the future designed to address speed, safety and efficiency in last mile deliveries. This will take some time before it is fully deployed and Amazon and other service providers will need the regulatory support needed to make it happen. It will take some time before it happens but it is inevitable.
These innovations will not only drive the industry today, but will become mainstream tomorrow.
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