There seems to be a positive correlation between the surge in eCommerce and the rise in consumer expectations. The more people purchase goods online, the more they expect a seamless product delivery process. The increased shopping behavior of consumers (especially during the holidays) places logistics companies under pressure. And more logistics companies are turning to the last mile carriers to complete order fulfillment to alleviate this pressure.
The last mile carrier is just as the name implies. They are third-party logistics (3PL) responsible for carrying products from fulfillment hubs to the final destination, which is the customer. Last mile carriers are often independent logistics companies with their vehicle fleet who are usually responsible for capping up the entire consumer experience as consumers come face to face with the drivers as products are delivered.
Last mile carriers can be used by a logistic company with a high shipment volume or a retailer that cannot carry out a direct delivery. Common last mile carriers are FedEx, UPS, DHL, and many other local courier services that operate in specific locations.
Features of the Last Mile Carrier
Before understanding the importance of these critical logistic stakeholders, it is best to spell out what they really entail, and we can summarize them to the following:
- Real-time Transit Information
Any last mile carrier that does not provide real-time transit information is a red flag. The carrier company should provide tracking information to ensure consumer satisfaction. Real-time transit information also acts as an analysis tool to measure the carrier’s performance. The information provided by the last mile carrier should include estimated delivery time, driver location, pending deliveries, and tracking number for the consumer’s and carrier’s use.
- Delivery Notification
Many times, deliveries can arrive when a consumer is not available to accept them. One feature of an exemplary last mile carrier is the availability of delivery notifications. These notifications would tell consumers how close the driver is to the end location and delivery specifications in case no one is available to receive the delivery.
- Estimate Delivery Time
Estimated delivery time projects the time and dates the consumer can expect to receive the shipment at the end destination. The software provided by the last mile carrier should include an estimated delivery time feature.
- Proof of Delivery
Last mile carriers often incorporate a proof of delivery that can be offered through the website using the tracking number, via email/ text message, or a mobile app. The consumer should be required to send in a digital signature to prevent scam and fraud attempts.
- Rating Option
The last mile carrier should have tracking software that enables consumers to rate the delivery experience. It shows consumers that the last mile carrier company is intent on growth and intentional about the consumers.
When you consider order fulfillment from the shipping post to the end consumer, last mile carriers should come to mind. For logistics companies outsourcing the last mile of their deliveries, they should use last mile carriers that offer transparency of the shipping process. This transparency ensures that there is no hitch in the supply chain. Logistics companies should track the shipments once they leave the fulfillment centers, receive and analyze feedback from the last mile carriers to reduce cost, and ensure your shipping standards are maintained.
Significance of The Last Mile Carrier
As long as order fulfillment is part and parcel of eCommerce, last mile logistics would continue to impact the online buying and selling experience for all stakeholders, and they do so in the following ways:
- Better Control of the Process
Supply chain mishaps could always occur no matter how streamlined a company is. Utilizing the last mile carrier for product delivery from warehouses gives logistics companies better control of the shipping process. Logistics companies only need to focus on getting a product from the manufacturer to the warehouse while the last mile carrier is responsible for getting it to the consumer.
- Minimize Delivery Cost
The final mile of a delivery process can end up being the most expensive part. Information provided by the last mile carrier helps eCommerce businesses and logistic companies know what the pain points are and how to solve them. Faster shipping time equates to a lower warehouse storing cost. Resolving these issues will lead to a lower delivery cost and increased profit-making it a win for all parties.
- Give Delivery Transparency
Effective tracking software for the last mile carrier increases delivery transparency. Delivery notifications provided by the carrier company ensure that the delivery is scam-free and it provides accountability for both consumers and logistic companies.
- Drive-up the Consumer Lifetime Value
As much as eCommerce businesses and logistic companies do not like to hear it, consumers would much rather pay on delivery than pay beforehand. Consumers want to be sure they are receiving the packages in good condition.
Because the last mile carriers often come in contact with consumers directly, they can offer that payment option even for a contactless delivery. Consumers can also rate their shipping experience for which companies can use to increase consumer satisfaction. A satisfied consumer would ultimately be a return shopper.
Last mile carriers will benefit all parties involved by providing a holistic view of the shipping experience for consumers and logistic companies. With the holidays right around the corner, last mile carriers will be more in demand than ever. Past consumer behavior has proven that purchases and shipping will increase like never before. To ensure that consumers receive products in good time and pristine conditions, outsource the last mile to a reputable company like YunExpress. YunExpress has the experience and proven results as the last mile carrier allowing your brand to focus on other shipping requirements.