The doorstep delivery experience has entered a paradigm shift with the rise of e-commerce. Think of Amazon and same-day / next day delivery is what strikes the mind first. With the emergence of on-demand delivery, the customer is now in the driving seat. In today’s digital age, customer expectations from sellers, retailers, merchants, or stores are ceaselessly characterized by same-day delivery, free delivery, preferred time slots, a multitude of payment options, and real-time tracking of orders with a smooth doorstep experience.
The success of your on-demand delivery rests largely on the shoulders of how your last-mile logistics perform. Customers are now expecting shorter wait times, which has forced logistics companies, retailers, grocers to redefine their delivery management. To extend the best last-mile logistics experience in tandem with your customer expectations is a real-world challenge characterized by rising costs, growing service requirements, and heightened supply chain complexity. How can companies address this to create a value-based offering?
Here is where the role of technology comes to play. On-demand delivery is a complex function, one which is not just dependent on the delivery guy. There are many aspects of last mile delivery management, which can be greatly optimized with the help of advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence. A good delivery management software can transform the performance of your last-mile logistics. A digitally optimized delivery management system makes the entire process efficient and accurate.
But first, let’s briefly understand what last mile logistics is all about.
What is a last mile delivery?
Last-mile logistics is the last leg of a customer’s online shopping journey. In plain words, once a customer orders online, last-mile logistics is everything that goes in between till the final order reaches the customer’s hands. The customer experience with on-demand delivery has also evolved over the years—no more glorified promises. Time-definite deliveries that perform on the chosen slot on the first attempt is the current norm. Here is where technology can be crucial to delivering a better delivery experience, one in sync with customer expectations.
E-commerce users are on the rise. To compete with giants like Amazon and the like, companies in the last mile delivery space need to pay greater attention to their last-mile logistics network. Studies show that buyers abandon companies that fail on first attempt deliveries. However, take the example of Amazon Prime, and you will see that they are willing to pay a little extra for ‘same-day delivery.’ And this is the reason why big companies like FedEx, Amazon, and UPS thrived on mastering the art of last-mile logistics as a way of customer experience.
Role of technology to enable optimal last mile logistics
The main goal of a last-mile delivery solution is to ensure faster and on-time delivery of an order to the end customer, making the entire experience delightful and hassle-free. A centralized system, which aggregates data of all the players in the delivery journey, is the core of an ideal last-mile experience. From the time an order is received to actually delivering the order to the customer, technology in the form of an efficient delivery management system can help in optimizing every step of the on-demand delivery process.
Here’s a quick overview of ways in which a delivery management system can improve last-mile logistics:
1) Resource planning
Based on the order received, companies can use advanced software to plan the right resource matrix. This helps in allocating the right resource mapped with the location accessibility, vehicle availability, and open slots. Proper resource allocation, fleet optimization, and route scheduling can greatly help in reducing the operating costs of completing a delivery. A tech-enabled omnichannel fulfillment system is extremely useful in making last-mile logistics reliable and consistent.
2) Delivery route optimization
Geo-coding locations help in planning the optimal route for a specific delivery taking into account real-time updates like traffic and roadblocks. Artificial intelligence helps in optimizing delivery routes and leads to better fulfillment of SLAs by making the whole process more efficient.
3) Smart shipment sorting
Automated software brings a process to shipment sorting and helps to plan them according to their location and priority. For smaller shipments that need expedited delivery, companies can then connect with same-day messenger services or on-demand fleet providers. For oversized shipments, companies will have to create a distribution network accordingly.
4) Alerts and live tracking
Being proactive with your customers is an important aspect of successful last-mile delivery. With the help of live tracking, regular alerts can be passed on to the customer. If there are any deviations, the customers can get instant alerts so that they are constantly in sync with the entire delivery process. This reduces the number of inbound customer service calls and leads to improved customer confidence.
5) Doorstep experience
State of the art last-mile logistics solution ensures a hassle-free doorstep experience by providing the capability to handle returns and cancellations, cash and card management at the point of sale, electronic proof of delivery as image, signature, timestamp, and geo-coordinates.
6) Customer satisfaction
Higher SLA compliance can be achieved by using last-mile delivery software by tracking ETAs, reducing paperwork, intelligent routing, deep analytics, etc. which helps to identify SLA breaches, delay causes, and wrong shipments. This helps in addressing chinks in the delivery system, which results in fewer complaints and increased customer delight.
Last-mile logistics is the key to make sure an order reaches the hands of your customer when he is expecting it. Technology can close this gap. There are several options available in the field of delivery service software. Given the challenges in the landscape, it is advisable to choose a forward-thinking technology, one that analyses and acts on data, to deliver a great unboxing experience to your customers.
Want to cut your last-mile delivery costs and streamline the entire doorstep delivery process? Sign up for Dista Deliver today!