How to Leverage Final Mile Carrier Tracking to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

on Jan 4, 2023

When it comes to delivery fulfillment, the final mile can make or break your brand reputation. Today’s customers expect quick, efficient, and accurate deliveries. And in some instances, free next-day shipping has become the new normal. 

Rapidly shifting customer demands and the meteoric rise of online delivery volumes have reshaped the final mile industry and amplified the complexities of last-mile delivery. 

For companies to survive, they must upgrade their last-mile delivery to meet changing customer expectations. This means partnering with the right final mile carriers and leveraging final mile carrier tracking to make the last leg of the delivery journey as seamless and cost-effective as possible. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need about final mile carriers and how to leverage technology to go the extra (delivery) mile.

What is final mile delivery? 

The final mile, more commonly known as the last mile, is a logistics term that describes the last stage of the delivery process. It involves shipping a customer’s order from the nearest distribution facility, warehouse, or store directly to their home.

The primary goal of the final mile is to get the parcel to its final destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Delivery from warehouse to home

The final mile is a hot topic in the world of fulfillment. 

On the one hand, it’s one of the most crucial parts of logistics and the key to your customer satisfaction. Customers might not always remember a positive delivery experience, but they’ll never forget a bad one. How well you handle your final mile impacts customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and reputation.

On the other, the last mile is the most complex and costly part of the supply chain, with 40% to 55% of supply chain costs occurring at this stage. Lost, damaged, or late parcels, failed deliveries, and customer support calls are some of the main factors that drive up these costs.

The importance of final mile delivery to your fulfillment in 2023 

Final mile delivery is a rapidly growing industry, valued at $131.5 billion in 2021. As early as 2015, startups that focused on final mile delivery logistics received $11. billion in venture capital funding. By 2027, the global last-mile market is projected to grow to over $200 billion US dollars. 

 The growth of the final mile delivery market is led by the rise of ecommerce shopping. The increased number of online orders and evolving customer expectations are two primary factors that put extra pressure on the final delivery stage.

1. The rise of ecommerce

The COVID-19 pandemic was a core catalyst for ecommerce sales. Nationwide lockdowns have pushed consumers to rely on online retailers for almost everything, from groceries to home goods. 

The switch from traditional in-store shopping to online orders drastically increased the volume of packages out for delivery. During the first year of the pandemic, ecommerce sales increased by $244.2 billion, or 43%. 

Even post-pandemic, customers’ preference towards ecommerce isn’t going anywhere. According to FedEx vice president Brie Carere, there will be about 100 million parcels delivered per day by 2026. 

The reliance on ecommerce has made it challenging for businesses to keep up with record-breaking demand for home deliveries.

2. Evolving customer expectations 

It’s no secret customers are becoming more demanding. How businesses execute the final mile can make all the difference between happy, loyal customers or a bad reputation. 

For modern consumers, fast, convenient, and efficient delivery isn’t just a bonus, it’s a must — 57% say they’d go elsewhere if they weren’t happy with their delivery.

The increasing number of parcels and changing customer expectations have amplified the complexities of final-mile delivery and given rise to inefficiencies. As a result, the last mile has been brought to the forefront of many business agendas. 

Brands need to find ways to ensure their final mile is as short, cost-effective, and efficient as possible if they want to compete with large ecommerce retailers, improve customer satisfaction, and build brand loyalty.

We’ll shed some light on how to tackle the final mile delivery and overcome these challenges. 

But first, we need to talk about the people that make final mile delivery possible in the first place: final mile carriers. The last mile is complex and requires coordination between you and your carriers. Partnering with the right providers and leveraging last-mile carrier tracking is your secret weapon to an exceptional final mile. 

What is a final mile carrier? 

A final mile carrier is a shipping company responsible for the final stage of the delivery process. They help businesses in various industries including e-commerce, retail, and food, deliver orders to customers in the most accurate, cost-effective, and fastest way possible. 

Final mile carriers typically have a fleet of vehicles transporting parcels from the fulfillment center to the final delivery destination — usually the customer’s home or business. 

Some of the biggest final mile carriers in the US include companies like FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. Many ecommerce brands rely on these carriers to deliver their parcels to customers quickly and efficiently. 

How long does a final mile carrier take? 

Final mile carriers can take as little as one day or as long as eight days, depending on the customer’s selected shipping preferences and other factors like weather, traffic, and distance. 

Courier handing parcel to customer

Today, 90% of customers see a two to a three-day delivery window as the baseline, while 30% expect same-day delivery. These evolving customer expectations and technological advances have drastically shortened the delivery times of final mile carriers. 

Carriers like Amazon have introduced next-day delivery as a standard service and offered same-day delivery as an option. The convenience of fast delivery has led consumers to buy more from brands that can offer same-day delivery.

Many businesses have already taken the next evolutionary step in final mile delivery by partnering with innovative fulfillment and delivery platforms like DeliverySolutions. 

DeliverySolutions enhances your business’ same-day delivery capabilities so you can meet the rapidly changing needs of today’s modern customers. Designed with your business in mind, our built-in algorithms enable you to gauge scheduling and eligibility; and select the best delivery provider every time so you can master the art of on-time deliveries.

What is final mile carrier tracking? 

Final mile carrier tracking is the technology used to enhance the visibility of delivery logistics. In layman’s terms, it’s when a business and its customers can track the location, progress, and delivery status of an order during the final delivery stage.

For customers, the information they receive from tracking their parcel includes estimated delivery time, order status, and real-time tracking. This transparency helps reduce their post-purchase anxiety and earns their trust. 

For businesses, the visibility provided by final mile carrier tracking is critical for efficiently managing large-scale delivery operations. Last-mile tracking software can reduce the costs of last-mile delivery and eliminate inefficiencies.

The benefits of final mile carrier tracking 

Final mile carrier tracking has become a crucial element in the success of your final mile delivery. Let’s explore its major benefits and how it can help you overcome the biggest delivery challenges and keep up with changing customer demands. 

Real-time visibility 

Post-purchase anxiety is a common problem among ecommerce shoppers. After buying something online, customers begin to worry if they don’t have enough information about the status of their order. 

If customers could personalize their delivery experience, 74% would include the ability to track packages in real-time. Final mile carrier tracking eliminates or significantly reduces post-purchase anxiety by providing accurate ETAs, delivery updates, and tracking options.

Tracking delivery truck with phone

Knowing exactly what’s going on with their delivery gives customers a sense of control over the last-mile experience. This level of transparency helps you earn their trust and reduces the number of customer support questions or complaints.

A constant stream of communication with customers 

One of the biggest pain points customers experience in the last mile is a lack of customer support. To improve customer satisfaction, brands must offer consistent communication and support options during this crucial time. Proactive communication between customers, delivery personnel, and your business ensures nothing gets lost in translation, making deliveries much more efficient. 

For example, in the event of a delay, carrier tracking lets couriers send customers automated messages, letting customers know something has changed. If necessary, customers can make alternative arrangements, reducing the number of failed delivery attempts or negative customer experiences. 

DeliverySolutions offers automated messaging sent via text, chat, or email to keep customers informed on the fulfillment and delivery of their orders. Your customers also have direct access to support via live chat when they need it. Proactive communication builds brand loyalty and ensures customers are satisfied. 

Proof of delivery 

Digital proof of delivery (POD) is the final critical component for a successful delivery. Final mile carriers can collect electronic signatures or take photos to prove where and when they completed the delivery. 

Delivery receipts ensure every package has been accounted for, reducing the number of customer disputes over delivery confirmations or delivery windows. For example, if a customer claims they didn’t receive their parcel, your carrier can provide a POD that confirms the order was successfully delivered to the customer’s home. 

Detailed analytics reduce costs and increase efficiency

Carrier tracking software gives you access to a wealth of actionable data and insights. This valuable data enables better decision-making, route optimization, and more accurate planning and forecasting. 

Tracking your deliveries in real-time helps your business optimize route planning, finding the quickest and most cost-effective route for your delivery drivers. Route optimization increases delivery efficiency, improves driver satisfaction, and results in faster deliveries.

DeliverySolutions connects you to an ecosystem of final mile carriers 

Beyond speedy deliveries, 57% of customers want access to multiple, cost-affordable delivery options. 

To address the needs of modern customers, merchants need a strong network of carriers. Expanding your existing carrier relationships and working with more than one provider speeds up your last-mile delivery and helps you avoid any capacity issues as you scale.

That’s where DeliverySolutions comes in. 

Through one-time API integration, DeliverySolutions instantly connects you to a global, multi-carrier ecosystem of over 40+ delivery providers big and small, depending on your customer’s specific needs. 

Some of our world-class partners include parcel carriers such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS, and Canada Post. We also work with LTL (less than truckload) carriers like Coyote and same-day providers like Roadie. 

Besides traditional fulfillment options, like courier services, you can also access innovative solutions like drone delivery or autonomous delivery.

Final mile carrier trucks

With such a large network of final mile carriers, you can manage high volumes of shipments while your customers have access to more delivery options than ever before (including the coveted same-day delivery). 

In addition to a multi-carrier network, you’ll also have access to a platform that allows you to:

  • Orchestrate and track shipping providers 
  • Offer customers real-time delivery tracking, estimated time of delivery, post-purchase notifications, and live chat 
  • Reduce operational costs 
  • Access vital data analytics and business intelligence tools 
  • Provide a personalized post-purchase experience

Leveraging DeliverySolutions’ extensive API ecosystem and carrier tracking software will help you stay competitive and cost-efficient and meet customer expectations for fast delivery.

Delivering on the final mile promise 

As ecommerce sales become the new normal, more businesses are investing in their last-mile efforts to remain competitive, meet customer expectations, and uphold their brand reputation. 

The final mile delivery is the key to your supply chain management and customer satisfaction. A strong network of final mile carriers and final mile carrier tracking plays an integral role in the success of your last-mile delivery efforts. 

Join some of the world's most trusted retail brands and partner with a delivery provider that can help you deliver on that final mile promise. Schedule a personalized demo today and see what DeliverySolutions can do for you.

Delivery Solutions orchestrates fulfillment experiences for enterprise retailers, supplying flexible optionality for consumers and priming merchants for innovation at scale.

About the author

Courtney Catron

Drawing from over 15 years of invaluable experience, Courtney Catron is a distinguished Sr. Enterprise Account Executive. A proud alumna of Arizona State University, Courtney's remarkable journey includes roles at esteemed companies such as DHL, FedEx, Cheetah, and MecuryGate. Hailing from Scottsdale, AZ, she finds solace in activities like travel, hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding, showcasing her love for adventure and nature. While Courtney's travel experiences are vast, she holds a special place in her heart for her annual retreat to Eaton's Ranch. With a simple yet profound business approach, her philosophy centers on listening and learning. Courtney's personal life is as enriching as her professional one, as she relishes moments spent with her cherished family—her husband and two kids. Courtney's wealth of experience and her attentive and learning-oriented style contribute significantly to our B2B SaaS sales and marketing endeavors.


Topics from this blog: Delivery

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