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Key Challenges in First-Mile and Last-Mile Delivery for eCommerce

October 28, 2019

5 min read

When we talk about eCommerce shipping in India, the two major challenges faced by the sellers are first-mile and last-mile deliveries. Even though they are the vital aspects that begin and end the process, they are the most troublesome to deal with. In this blog, you will precisely understand these challenges for their simplification and ultimately, better administration of the supply chain.

Closer look at last mile delivery

What is First-Mile Delivery?

First-mile delivery is the process of transporting products from the retailer to the courier company. It is the method through which the products are delivered to the final buyer. 

For instance, if you ship your products via FedEx, first-mile delivery would refer to the delivery of products from your warehouse to the warehouse of FedEx. 

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery refers to the process of transporting packaged products from the warehouse of the courier company to the buyer’s address. 

Likewise, if you ship your products through FedEx, last-mile delivery shall refer to the delivery done by FedEx from their warehouse to the buyer’s doorstep. 

Challenges Faced in First-Mile Delivery

Labeling

One of the biggest hurdles faced in first-mile delivery is of labeling the packages. Most sellers undervalue the needfulness of a correct label and use handwritten ones that don’t incorporate the essential details. The incomplete information then poses a problem to the courier companies, abstaining from collecting the orders on time. Shipping solutions like Shiprocket offer automated label generation, which comprises all details of the package. This helps you in preparing a proper label and expediting your process.

Packaging

Another notable challenge concerning first-mile delivery is of packaging. Since sellers do not follow the packaging norms, the package is received by the courier companies in an imprecise format. Often the packaging material used is either inappropriate or extremely weak. This causes delays in the first step of delivery from the retailer to the courier company. 

Congestion and Lack of Resources 

India is always hustling and bustling. As a matter of course, the peak hours of traffic aren’t specific. Various guidelines govern the transportation of goods from one place to another. It is crucial to strategize pickups on time for avoiding the likely delays and halts. Furthermore, delays also arise due to the lack of a trained workforce that can help in inspecting the whole package at the time of pickup.

Incorrect Details

Many sellers do not provide absolute details of the buyer. This causes a problem for courier companies as they fail to process the order on time without full information. Authorities can moreover detain the products in customs or during interstate transport.

Challenges Faced in Last-Mile Delivery

According to a report by Statista, the biggest challenges faced in last-mile delivery worldwide include responding to last-minute changes, alignment with warehouse operations, minimizing rebounds, reducing logistics costs, and on-time delivery.

India is a diverse country with different geographical zones. Hence, providing a uniform last-mile delivery experience can be difficult across zones. Here are a few challenges that are faced by courier companies –

Cost

The high fulfillment cost of a business arises from last-mile delivery. Most firms charge their customers additionally for the same. However, it is not the most feasible option for many. Resultantly, the budget management for last-mile deliveries has become a prominent challenge, along with substituting for the additional spending. It is getting all the more testing with omnichannel retail and same-day deliveries surfacing in the ecosystem.

Granular Tracking

The next major issue with last-mile deliveries Is granular tracking. When buyers place an order, they are perennially curious to find out where it has reached. It gets tough to form a single chain and track the whereabouts of every shipment until it reaches the buyer. Giants like Swiggy and Zomato, who work on the last-mile delivery model, have successfully attained this. Whereas eCommerce is yet to witness a breakthrough. 

Fast Deliveries

Due to the lack of expert resources, companies fail in bestowing a quick delivery experience to their buyers. Mostly, the order gets delayed due to intense traffic conditions. In metro cities like Bangalore and Mumbai when peak hours can lead to traffic jams of 2-3 hours, fast deliveries cannot be maintained. Also, in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, the roads, and transport infrastructure is not adequately built. Therefore, due to a lack of resources, orders might be delayed. While in the remaining time, it is delayed due to a lack of technology and a seamless supply chain process. 

Conclusion

First-mile and last-mile deliveries are the core of your supply chain process. Consequently, you must pay extra attention and work on ways to make these processes more effortless for faster deliveries and your buyers’ maximum fulfillment.

What is the importance of first-mile delivery?

First-mile delivery forms the foundation of the logistics process. It makes sure your orders are picked up on time and taken to the courier hub securely. Hence, it is a critical aspect of the logistics supply chain

Why is last-mile delivery important?

Last-mile delivery is important because it is the last leg of the supply chain and ensures that orders are delivered properly and on time to customers.

How can I reduce first-mile challenges?

By educating your customer to always send the correct address, packaging the product adequately, and scheduling deliveries systematically can help you work faster on first-mile delivery.

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