From Chaos to Control: Last-Mile Delivery Efficiency

on Apr 2, 2024

Retailers have had to navigate extremely choppy waters over the last few years. Between shrinking margins, supply chain mishaps, and evolving customer expectations, the perfect storm has not let up. 

Among this neverending conga line of challenges, last-mile delivery is a crucial final leg of the customer's journey that could make or break your brand's perception.

What happens when you think you have last-mile figured out only to have it tumble like a Jenga tower?

A recent incident involving a major delivery service provider drove this point home. 

Read on to learn how to maximize the effects of last-mile delivery and how the literal overnight dissolution of a Delivery Service Provider (DSP) threw many retailers for a loop.

What is Last-Mile Delivery, and how do you unlock its full potential?

Last-mile delivery is the final phase in the logistics chain that concludes once products reach their final destination, typically the customer's hands or doorstep. 

This delivery segment is crucial as it represents a direct interaction between the business and the customer, making it a significant factor in customer satisfaction and brand perception. 

Despite being the shortest logistics journey, last-mile delivery is complex and challenging due to numerous inputs, including traffic congestion, the accessibility of the delivery location, and delivery partner availability. It’s critical that the delivery partner understands that they are an extension of the retailer's brand.

Moreover, last-mile delivery is the most cost-intensive component of the delivery process, accounting for a substantial portion of the overall delivery cost. This is attributed to the inefficiencies and unpredictabilities in door-to-door delivery, including multiple stops with low drop sizes. 

Controlling Last-Mile Delivery costs

Costs can be predicted and controlled by offering customers multiple options for receiving their product (e.g., same-day delivery, picking the product up in-store, or BOPA). This capability is especially crucial in today's retail landscape, where giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target set the benchmark for an omnichannel experience. 

In many cases, though, a single DSP is unlikely to offer the coverage or rates that fit retailers’ needs. 

Fortunately, Delivery Solutions' single API enables retailers to work with multiple last-mile delivery providers. “One of the benefits of this single API is that it can connect to one, ten, or twenty different delivery providers without any added hassle,” said Amy Leachman, Director of Enterprise Accounts at Delivery Solutions. 

This gives the retailer the autonomy to make the decisions they would like to make depending on their customer’s request. 

Point Pickup: A Case Study in Single Point of Failure

Recently, Delivery Solutions’ clients faced a challenge when a delivery service provider, Point Pickup, unexpectedly ceased operations overnight. 

Point Pickup had been serving a handful of retailers, and losing its services could have caused significant disruptions to these businesses as, in some cases, it was the only DSP that could service its customers. 

As soon as the news hit, Delivery Solutions was able to step in and swiftly transition these affected retailers to alternative delivery providers. 

“[Delivery Solutions] was able to support those retailers and flip them over to different retailers or delivery providers without impacting their overall operations,” Amy Leachman, Director of Enterprise Accounts, said. “Changing your delivery provider can be very cumbersome, but because we have the technology, there was minimal impact on [our clients] overall business.”

Control and Autonomy is the Key to Delivery Excellence

The incident with Point Pickup underscores the importance of control and autonomy for retailers. “We received numerous retailers reaching out to us saying, ‘thank you!’ recounts Amy, “‘You jumped on this. You are proactive. You alerted us even before we knew it was an issue, and you took action to make sure our customers' interest was in the best hands.’”

Delivery Solutions' technology and platform allow retailers to make quick and informed business decisions in response to unforeseen circumstances. 

It’s all thanks to having access to a network of delivery providers at pre-negotiated rates, and thanks to a single API, retailers can seamlessly pivot and ensure minimal impact on their overall operations at any time.

“It's all about putting control back into the retailers’ hands,” said Amy, “We do that daily. That's the impetus of who we are.”

If you want to learn more about orchestrating across multiple DSPs, see what it looks like on our Orchestration page. 

About the author

Rachel Cottam


Topics from this blog: Delivery Efficiency

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