Going the "final mile" for customers
Consumers expect convenient, dependable delivery of their orders. Even if you ship truckloads of merchandise efficiently, "the final mile" is about customer satisfaction. That aspect of the delivery process, which is about providing a superior customer experience, is undergoing major improvements to make sure customers receive the correct order, and promptly. Smart final mile delivery solutions create a competitive advantage for e-commerce retailers by allowing them to offer superior speed and accuracy in order fulfillment and “white glove” service. These new features of last mile delivery are a new way for retailers to distinguish themselves from competitors. Meanwhile, shippers are implementing security procedures to ensure that consumers receive the orders you send, and innovations in delivery models encourage online purchasing that used to be restricted to brick-and-mortar outlets.
Inefficiency and waste
Final mile delivery is handled by carriers such as the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx. The system, in which e-commerce retailers use different carriers and ship packages separately, is incredibly inefficient and wasteful. Even when packages are shipped to the same destination, they may arrive at different times, creating headaches for the customer. Recently, there has been discussion about simplifying the last mile delivery process to the customer home or organization.
A model for the future
In one notable example, a landlord on London's Regent Street dictated to all retail tenants that they must receive inbound goods from a consolidation center and that they be delivered by one carrier on a single truck. Not only is that approach more efficient and cost-effective, it is environmentally friendly. It could be a model for future final mile delivery solutions, especially if the public sector collaborates with e-commerce retailers to simplify the process.Another development likely to become integral to final mile delivery is use of self-driving trucks, drones and robots to improve speed and efficiency while cutting labor costs. "White glove" delivery is also becoming a means for e-commerce retailers to set themselves apart, as more customers go online to purchase heavy goods that require assembly or setup at home.
Improving Final Mile Delivery
As final mile delivery solutions evolve and improve in the future, customers can expect a much more satisfying experience when ordering from e-retailers. Development of an infrastructure of consolidation centers, and use of self-driving delivery trucks and drones, promises to revolutionize the process of delivering goods. With improvements to final mile delivery, customers will be able to select a specific time frame for delivery, and have the ability to reschedule deliveries on short notice. E-retailers will also be able to get instant confirmation of delivery, reducing lost revenue because of package theft.In addition to meeting the logistical advantages of improving final mile delivery, e-retailers are faced with the challenge of implementing "white glove" services to provide customers with the type of individualized attention they come to expect as a given. Although improved final mile delivery solutions will require a host of changes in the way packages are shipped and delivered, the benefits to the customer and the retailer will be immeasurable. Contact Rakuten SL to discuss how our eCommerce shipping solutions can help your business!
Rakuten Super Logistics, now ShipNetwork, is a leading eCommerce order fulfillment company that provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand.
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