Last-mile carriers are becoming more important as eCommerce and online fulfillment expand. Shippers are looking to partner with multiple 3PLs and last-mile carriers to expand their last-mile delivery business, as logistics providers have become overwhelmed by increasing carrier delivery volumes.
Are you looking for the right carrier to meet your business and operational needs? Are you looking for ways to manage multiple last-mile carriers? Here are the essentials.
What is a last-mile carrier?
A last-mile carrier is a vehicle fleet that is used by retailers to deliver last-mile services to their customers. The driver’s performance is a major part of last-mile delivery experiences since the customer meets the driver face-to-face.
Which last-mile carrier model is best for you?
The last mile carrier is the face of your brand to your customers. It’s therefore important to make the right choice.
There are many last-mile carrier models available. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the business size and needs.
Working with a single carrier
Some businesses choose to use a single fleet carrier when searching for last-mile delivery service providers. This method can be very convenient and easy to track. It also ensures that customers receive a positive delivery. With eCommerce fulfillment growing and last-mile carriers overloaded with goods, many fleets aren’t capable of keeping up with the increasing package volume. Customers and your brand will be affected if the fleet you work with isn’t able to keep up with package volumes.
A 3PL is a partner in your success
Working with third-party logistics providers allows businesses to have multiple fleets without having to manage the logistics of arranging them. While this can be advantageous because you won’t have to rely on one fleet, it raises questions about whether the 3PL is capable of handling deliveries and meeting expectations set by specific retailers. Additionally, if you work with one 3PL, They may not be capable of meeting all the needs and wants of a business in terms of speed and visibility.
Working with multiple fleets through a single technology platform
Organizations can work directly with multiple fleets to offer a great customer experience without being dependent on one fleet or 3PL. Businesses must use a third-party delivery platform to manage multiple fleets.
Businesses can gain insights into last-mile carriers by using a platform. This includes last-mile carrier tracking and delivery speed. This data is used to help make informed decisions and provide insight into performance.
If your tech stack has an intelligent fleet manager system you can dispatch flexibility based on what matters most to you. This could include delivery speed (don’t forget that 69% of consumers would place online orders if they were delivered quickly), delivery costs, or prioritizing eco-friendly fleets.
Crowdsourced Delivery is a convenient and popular option for logistics providers and retailers. This could be your main logistics carrier or a “standby” option during busy hours or times of the day. Crowdsourced delivery works in the same way as third-party fleets. It is usually a pay-as-you-go model. This minimizes risk for the business and leaves little to no chance of the service not being used.
Key considerations when choosing a last-mile carrier
After we have looked at all the options for last-mile carriers, it is time to decide which one is best for you.
Last-mile tracking for carriers
For customers to have a good experience with delivery, real-time last mile tracking is essential. Throughout the entire delivery process, customers should have access to track information.
Tracking the last mile can be used for many things:
- Shipment tracking and order tracking give customers real-time visibility to where their order is. It tracks events during the shipping process and keeps customers happy all through the delivery process.
- Last-mile carrier tracking allows visibility to driver location data in real-time. This information is essential to optimize efficiency and analyze carrier performance. This is an added value capability for carriers. Visibility is one of the most sought-after technologies by shippers. It improves last mile delivery experience and customer satisfaction.
Last-mile tracking requires that accurate and reliable information is available. Customers may be frustrated or confused if the tracking information is not current. This can lead to a poor delivery experience. Customers will automatically blame the retailer if they have a negative experience.
When looking at different last-mile carriers, ask:
Do you offer multiple levels of service? Are you able to customize the services of your carrier business according to your business requirements? Every company has unique last-mile service requirements, so it is important to ensure that you get the services you need from the carriers you choose. A customized service level allows you to choose the type of last-mile delivery services you wish to offer. This could be a higher level of service with same-day delivery, over-the threshold, or multi-day fulfillment.
Last-mile delivery models
Customers will be more satisfied with order fulfillment if it is simple. Customers want to be able to access their orders quickly, securely, and conveniently. Last-mile delivery service providers who can offer a broad range of shipping options to fulfill the convenience and ease that customers demand are essential for eCommerce businesses and retail brands.
In addition, to traditional (multiday) fulfillment models from warehouses. Retailers should inquire about:
Ship from Store vs. Ship From Hub Options – Does the last mile carrier offer ship to store, or work only with regional warehouses and distribution centers? This could impact their ability to provide next-day or same-day delivery options.
The same-day, on-demand delivery options – The usage of same-day delivery has increased 50% since 2020. This represents a significant shift in customer expectations. More than 30% of customers use this option today. You need to find a last-mile carrier that can deliver same-day delivery if you have the necessary retail presence. You can also work with multiple carriers.
Point-to-point vs. batching: One order at a given time vs. multiple batched’ orders per route.
While lower costs are important, they are not the only thing to consider. Next-day shipping is always more expensive than longer shipments. You should not only compare the overall shipping cost, but also the specific services provided and how they compare with other shipping companies.
Capacity for Driver
Drivers are highly in demand, especially those with special skills. You should verify that the carrier can provide enough drivers to meet your needs on the market.
Innovative last-mile technology
Complexity increases with increased volume. If businesses want to be able to deal with the increased deliveries and returns, they must upgrade their technology.
Digitalizing the entire delivery process at the last mile is crucial to handling larger volumes of deliveries at the fastest speed. This gives all parties the ability to be more efficient and deliver exceptional experiences.
- Integration of real-time quotes with an eCommerce site for retailers
- For optimal efficiency, an automated delivery system is required. Automation is essential to improve delivery service speed and capacity.
- Intelligent route optimization for increased drop density
- Both businesses and consumers can see exactly where their goods are at any given moment via real-time carrier tracking.
- Machine learning uses machine learning to identify and fix problems that could delay delivery. This technology advancement can elevate delivery services to a new level.
Focus on providing exceptional customer experiences if you want to win more customers. Check whether carriers offer any of these options to customers, in addition to carrier tracking.
- Loqate reports that 8% of domestic first-time delivery fails, which costs retailers an average $17.20 per parcel. Automated scheduling and rescheduling by the carrier can greatly reduce costs and improve the delivery experience.
- A dedicated app allows customers to communicate with drivers in real-time.
- Automated SMS Alerts
- White label notifications and branded tracking are used to create a customized delivery experience.
Customers can leave feedback easily through customer ratings
Choosing your last mile carriers for exceptional last-mile delivery
Delivery expectations are rising and eCommerce is expanding at rapid rates, so it is important to increase delivery capacity with last-mile carriers in order to meet the demand. The key to scalability and differentiation of delivery carrier services and delivery costs is choosing the right last-mile carriers.