5 Ways to Improve Last-Mile Delivery

Allison Champion
4 min read
December 10, 2019
Modified: March 20, 2023

If the trade and tariff tumult of the last year has shown us anything it’s that nothing is certain in the logistics industry, except consumer demand for same day or next day deliveries. In today’s e-commerce market, it’s no longer ok to simply be fast – as an e-commerce business, you need to pull out every trick in your arsenal to improve your last-mile delivery.

In this article you’ll learn 5 ways to speed up your logistics and streamline your last mile delivery process.

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery is a term used to describe the final leg of the e-commerce shipping process, wherein your package is transported from a supply chain hub to your doorstep in the fastest, most cost-effective way possible.

Regardless of the type of package, the length of its journey, or the number of stops it makes on its way to your door, the last-mile is the most important, because it is the mile in which customer expectations are met or broken.

Nothing ruins the customer experience like package delivery gone wrong. Unfortunately, last-mile delivery mishaps are a commonplace and frustratingly difficult to predict and avoid. What’s worse, any last-mile delivery inconvenience can cause a visceral emotional reaction in the consumer that can quickly turn into a bad review and a reputation for poor customer service.

So how do you improve the success of last-mile delivery? You start by implementing the following strategies.

1. Implement an Omnichannel Fulfillment Strategy

In the Ultimate Guide to omnichannel fulfillment we explore the major benefits of implementing an omnichannel fulfillment strategy, one of which is the ability to deliver inventory with increased accuracy, efficiency, and speed.

Omnichannel fulfillment strategies are designed to streamline the entire e-commerce fulfillment process (from order placement to final delivery) and ensure inventory is always available to all channels.

Such a strategy enables a seamless experience for the customer across every channel in which they interact, including last-mile delivery. It also helps with returns, which are a significant challenge for online retailers.

2. Let Customers Set and Change Delivery Windows

Letting customers set their own delivery windows is part of an omnichannel fulfillment strategy that puts control of delivery in the hands of the customer. By displaying a range of delivery time windows on your website, you allow the customer to choose the time that works best for them, thus ensuring somebody will be home to receive the order when it arrives.

3. Optimize Transportation

The most successful online retailers employ an omnichannel fulfillment system that continually re-optimizes transport schedules as new orders are placed throughout the day.

These systems collect new orders, account for the size of the delivery area and available resources, then evaluate possible delivery times for new orders within the requested time frame.

By continually optimizing transportation and home delivery service in the same system, e-commerce businesses can maximize their operational efficiency and provide consistent, reliable service to their customers.

4. Employ an Advanced Warehouse Management System

Every day warehouse management systems are becoming more and more advanced, but the greatest advancement in recent years are the advanced algorithms designed to optimize last-mile transport operations.

Not only will a WMS calculate the most effective delivery and collection sequences, it will allocate loads to the appropriate driver vehicle combinations, which improves fleet utilization, route optimization, and ensures that schedules are geographically optimized to meet promised arrival times.

5. Outsource to a 3PL (Third Party Logistics Provider)

Unless you’re Walmart or Amazon, a third-party logistics provider is likely going to employ a larger carrier base and geographic footprint than your current operation. By outsourcing last-mile delivery to a 3PL, you can leverage the inherent last-mile strengths of their nation-wide network of carriers, warehouses and fulfillment centers.

That means you can deploy different inventory volumes to different warehouses across the country and choose the best, most cost-effective delivery method for your customer, no matter where they are.

Flowspace: Your Last-Mile Delivery Experts

The closer your DCs are to your customers the faster and easier it is to deliver your inventory. That means you can increase your last-mile delivery speed and decrease delivery costs by increasing the amount of warehouses and fulfillment centers in your network.

With 1000+ warehouses nationwide, Flowspace is the last-mile delivery solution you’ve been looking for. Our strategy is customer-driven and optimized to increase the size, speed, and scope of your e-commerce operation.

Different from traditional 3PLs, we enable online retailers with the flexibility they need to gain a strategic advantage over their competition and ensure their customers get what they want, when they want it.

If you’re looking to improve your last-mile delivery operations then you should contact us.

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Written By:

flowspace author Allison Champion

Allison Champion

Allison Champion leads marketing communication at Flowspace, where she works to develop content that addresses the unique challenges facing modern brands in omnichannel eCommerce. She has more than a decade of experience in content development and marketing.

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