Top trends that will shape the last mile delivery for 2021
1) Contactless delivery
There has been a major surge in contactless delivery since the pandemic. Close to 40% of U.S. consumers prefer contactless delivery due to safety concerns, according to a Salesforce survey. Delivery executives are exploring different ways to maintain safety and continue to offer a good customer experience.
2) Drones and delivery bots
Several retailers are looking to experiment with robotic deliveries via various options like drones, robots, self-driving vehicles, and autonomous delivery bots. Retail giant Amazon recently invested over USD 500 million in autonomous technology developer Aurora. In 2019, Alphabet tested Wing delivery drones to deliver parts to ships away from the shore.
3) Increase in urban warehouses
As customers start demanding same-day deliveries, e-commerce companies will need to start building warehouses and hubs closer to the city. It has become essential to take advantage of the urban warehouse space to get instant access to products for fast customer deliveries. This not only reduces transit time but also makes access to delivery agents and laborers easier.
4) Insourcing last mile deliveries
Several companies are using their own vehicles for last mile delivery instead of outsourcing them. Some of them are also developing their own local delivery services by using their own fleet of vehicles or a hybrid fleet to fulfill deliveries. Owing to the sudden spike in last mile deliveries, e-commerce firms have also started to use their trucks for local deliveries. However, there are several companies that need to rely on outsourced delivery services.
5) Smart tracking with location intelligence
Retailers and logistic companies are embracing technologies like location intelligence (LI) to improve their last mile delivery. Features like real-time tracking, route optimization, and visibility, among others, are helping them with seamless deliveries and fleet management. The right LI platform helps companies keep their customers informed about the exact location of an item in transit by offering more visibility. Retailers can also leverage LI to monitor weather patterns and look for optimum delivery routes.
6) Faster fulfillment
7) Drivers turning into a salesman
This medium of delivery is still in a nascent stage and can be more applicable to food-related orders. However, there are several challenges that retailers can face while dealing with orders done directly from the mobile warehouse. Some of the common challenges are – how will drivers process payments and take care of accounting? What is the procedure if consumers want to return a purchased item from drivers?