7 Most Common Last-Mile Delivery Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

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Created on January 8, 2021

According to the recent study conducted by Accenture, approximately 66% of the millennial shoppers want e-commerce companies to offer the option for one-hour delivery in metropolitan cities. Other statistics unveiled by the report include:  

  • Approximately 29% of the shoppers have modified their delivery time and address of their order.
  • Around 27% of the online shoppers in the United States of America have cancelled their orders because of the unavailability of the same-day delivery service.

These facts clearly reveal the significance of speedy and timely delivery. They also show that it has become necessary to provide the customers with the convenience of changing their order delivery schedule even after placing the order. Besides this, there are many other challenges that online retailers are facing in last-mile operations.

Seven of the most common ones are as follows:

1.   Inefficient routing

Route planning and optimization play an important role to control and cut down the overall cost of delivery. Efficient route planning considers fuel efficiency, environmental regulations, traffic conditions, and various other factors beforehand so that the driver doesn’t have to face any problem during the delivery. It is necessary to provide the right ETA to the customer who’s waiting for their order. With the availability of various ways for route efficiency and route optimization, it is imperative to choose the right one for your particular business requirements.

2.   Finding the right location

Not having proper addresses, especially without pin codes, can lead to failed deliveries. It also impacts directly to the delivery profitability. Apart from wrong or incomplete addresses, lack of proper signage is also a major roadblock ahead online retailers.

3.   High cost of deliveries

With the increase in the competition and the availability of various online shopping platforms, customers avoid paying additional shipping costs. Therefore, it is the responsibility of an e-commerce company to opt for such measures that can reduce the cost of deliveries. Taking care of the penalties caused by delayed deliveries is yet another challenging task ahead. On top of that, inefficient route planning and management can further lead to increased fuel cost and driving time, which can further add to the total cost of the last-mile delivery.  

4.   Unavailability of the customer

Failed deliveries due to the unavailability of the customer are quite common. A delivery agent puts all his efforts to reach the customers’ place despite unusual weather conditions or traffic. However, the unavailability of the customer at the delivery location puts all his efforts in vain. They have to make further attempts without even knowing whether the customer will be available on the next day or not. Not knowing the availability of the customer at the time of delivery is one of the biggest challenges in front of online retailers.

5.   Delayed delivery

Inability to deliver the products on time not only affects the brand’s reputation but also add up to the overall logistics cost. Moreover, it also makes customers choose other shopping platforms that guarantee on-time delivery. In the case of the food deliveries, where companies promise to deliver the order in a particular time, the inability to fulfil the delivery timelines can cause a huge loss as they cannot charge the customer for the order.

6.   Uncertainty in transit

Due to unavoidable circumstances or any other reasons, the order delivery might get delayed. It is not something customers never expected of. However, what they expect in that situation is to have a clear and updated communication so that they remain informed about the delays. This is another roadblock faced by online retailers or e-commerce companies.

7.   Inability to plan dynamic routes

A customer requesting to change their delivery address is not something we haven’t heard about. But if your last mile system is not prepared for it, the delivery agent might drop the package at the wrong location or have to make another attempt for delivery or even have to take long routes for the same. Not being able to plan routes dynamically is one of the bottlenecks in front of online retailers.

How to overcome last-mile delivery challenges?

To meet the expectations of the customers and stand strong in this cut-throat competition, e-commerce companies are finding different mediums to improve their last-mile operations. Choosing a last-mile delivery system or software is one of them.

The last mile delivery automates the entire delivery operations and makes it easy for the customers, merchants, and delivery agents to communicate in real-time. Several key benefits of the final mile delivery solution include:

  • Dynamic route planningDynamic route planning is required to re-route the delivery vehicle in case a customer reschedule the delivery date while it is already out for delivery. It is also required to track which delivery vehicle will finish its deliveries and be ready for further deliveries in the day.
  • Tracking consignments and drivers in real-time– The feature is helpful for both the merchants and the end-customers. They can track the exact location of the driver and know the estimated delivery time for the order.
  • Automatically prioritize delivery time of customers- Efficient last-mile delivery solutions come up with a smart order allocation system that not only manages your new and existing orders but also prioritize deliveries by considering various constraints as well as delivery-related preferences of the customers.
  • Auto-allocate the consignments to the right vehicles– Mapping consignments with delivery vehicles manually requires a lot of time and efforts to segregate the consignments, make a list of the available vehicles, and choose which vehicle will be suitable for particular goods. It might not vouch for utilizing a vehicle’s capacity to the fullest. However, automating the entire process can let e-commerce companies and other online retailers save a significant amount of time and manual efforts.
  • Figure out the road restrictions, traffic conditions, and more in advance- A last-mile software has the functionality to find out road restrictions and traffic conditions in real-time. The feature would help drivers to avoid getting stuck in heavy traffic, which is one of the major reasons behind delayed deliveries.
  • Complete transparency with the customers– A last-mile delivery system automatically sends a tracking link to the customer right after placing the order. Using this link, the customer can know the real-time status of their order, which would make the entire delivery process transparent. It would also reduce the number of calls to the customer support centre.
  • Improved customer engagement and better delivery experience- A final mile delivery system keeps you connected with your customers. Customers can get real-time updates and alerts if their order gets delayed due to extreme weather conditions or any other reasons. The transparency between the merchant and customer helps to deliver an unmatched delivery experience.
  • Digitized proof of delivery- Most of the last-mile delivery software come up with an option to collect and upload the proof of delivery digitally. It can be done by either capturing the photo of the order after placing it at customer’s doorstep or getting the OTP from the customer, which he/she has received on their registered email address or phone number. Digitized proof of delivery also helps in offering contactless delivery service, which has become the need of the hour in this pandemic.

To get a last mile solution with all the aforementioned ones and other advanced features, you can contact Shipsy. Shipsy’s last-mile solutions are customized to fulfil the particular requirements of your business. You can enjoy a smooth, streamlined, and transparent delivery process and get 100% customer satisfaction for your business. Why wait when you can digitize your last mile delivery operations and achieve the desired success for your business?

Final Words

Last mile delivery plays a pivotal role to ensure on-time deliveries of your products to your customers. Inability to plan and optimize routes, difficulty in finding the right delivery location, inability to deliver orders on time, and problems with planning routes dynamically are some of the challenges that may stop you from delivering orders on time without increasing the overall delivery cost. Integrating last-mile delivery software to your existing ERP can help you get rid of all your delivery-related woes permanently. Read this article to know what benefits a final leg delivery system offers to ensure smooth and streamlined deliveries.  

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