What is Last Mile Delivery in eCommerce Logistics?
‘Last mile delivery’ in eCommerce parlance refers to the last leg of a shipment’s movement before it reaches consignee’s address or the final destination. According to Forrester Research’s Sucharita Mulpuru, the ‘last mile’ for an eCommerce company is ‘the moment that matters’. This is a crucial factor and involves long term planning. This last phase of delivery is referred to as the ‘lock in’ period for your customer.
The concept of ‘last mile delivery’ as already stated involves long term planning with a focus on customer satisfaction. This is only achievable with a loyal customer base.
Creating a Loyal Customer Base
Creation of a loyal set of customers is not an easy task and involves a thorough understanding of customer needs. The needs of customers might vary from one to another, and for an eCommerce company, it is essential to identify them and address them accordingly. For some clients, deliveries should be made during a particular period of the day, while for others packaging could be a concern. These specific wants need to be satisfied by an online retail company if it has to win over customers.
The Complexities involved in the Last Mile Delivery
Complexities in deliveries arise because in most cases eCommerce companies have to depend on logistics organizations. The responsibility of carrying consignments lies with these companies, and hence deliveries are primarily dependent on their efficiency. For even the most dependable logistics companies the ‘last mile delivery’ is often the most difficult phase of their task execution.
For an eCommerce company appointing a logistics unit is indeed a difficult task. In fact, appointing a logistics unit implies outsourcing of deliveries. Here two factors are involved, safety and punctuality. Though retail company takes the responsibility of packing material, the safety of the item during transit lies entirely with the logistics company. Further, the possibility of delayed or wrong deliveries cannot be ruled out.
It has been found that damages while carrying shipments occur mostly in the ‘last mile’. And of course, punctuality is definitely a major concern for both the eCommerce company and the logistics unit. A tracking system is always desirable for an eCommerce company. This increases the trust between the supplier and the buyer of commodities. Tracking option must be there until the time a consignment is delivered. An effective tracking system increases the trust between a customer and an eCommerce company.
The Future of Last Mile Delivery Logistics Solutions
‘Last mile’ concept is the concern of both eCommerce and logistics companies in the near future. For making things smoother between sellers and buyers, the use of technology has been increased. The changes that are expected in the near future include:
- Better interfacing between customers on one side, and eCommerce company and logistics company on the other.
- Introduction of applications for every kind of Internet accessible device so that communication becomes faster and more purposive.
- Timely data collection and interpretation for a better understanding of customer behavior.
- Improvement in warehousing and storage facilities for faster and safer movement of consignments.
Last mile delivery is an area of concern for an eCommerce company as its respectability and trustworthiness are dependent on it.