min read

Last Mile Delivery: 2023 Trends

eCommerce is a constantly growing sector and has grown at an accelerated pace over the last several years. In fact, e-commerce is projected to reach 27% of all retail sales by 2026 according to Brian Nowak, an equity analyst covering the U.S. internet industry. As eCommerce continues to grow, optimizing the order fulfillment process will become more integral for online retailers in the future.  

The final step in the order fulfillment process is last-mile delivery. In this article, we’ll talk about what last-mile delivery is, how it affects a brand’s reputation and what trends we’re seeing in the industry.  

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery describes the last leg in the fulfillment process in which the product is delivered to the customer’s residence.  This is a major focus of retailers and customers because it is arguably the most important step in the process—getting the product into the customer’s hands. On the flip side, if the last mile experience goes awry, it can leave a bad impression for a consumer on a company’s brand.

Last Mile Delivery Trends

Last-mile delivery can also be one of the most expensive steps in the fulfillment process. According to a recent Insider article, the cost can be up to 53% of the total cost of shipping. With the high cost and big impact on customer relationships, it’s no wonder that last-mile delivery is a hotbed for innovation. Whether it’s technology changes or shipping strategies, we’ll highlight some of the trends influencing last-mile deliveries this year.  

Gig Economy

We’re all familiar with gig economy apps, like Postmates and UberEats, which deliver food and groceries directly to your door. But there’s an emerging trend in this sector in which apps are beginning to offer delivery and return services for certain retailers. While this type of delivery is relatively new and may be less predictable than traditional last-mile delivery, it provides a good option when retailers need a parcel delivered quickly.  

New Technology

Tech updates are constant and innovations in the last-mile delivery sector are no exception. Two pieces of tech are becoming paramount for a great last-mile delivery program. First, the internet of things, IoT. These are (as the name suggests) devices that are enabled to connect to the internet. This allows for a multitude of real-time visibility from anywhere in the world.  

Second, is new tech in delivery vehicles. There are delivery robots, carts, and drones that allow for automated delivery. Major last-mile delivery retailers like Walmart and Amazon have begun to use some of this technology for a limited number of deliveries. Keep an eye on industry news for updates about the application of this technology.  

Omnichannel fulfillment

Having a diverse fulfillment network offers greater flexibility in delivery options. For example, USPS and DHL have expanded their last-mile delivery services, especially for eCommerce packages, in the last several years.  

Additionally, USPS offers free package pickup in many locations. This is a great opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses looking to expand their reach.  

Real-Time Visibility  

If you’ve ever ordered a package from an online retailer, it’s likely you’ve seen a breakdown in visibility, especially at the last mile. Often, the delivery status will say ‘out-for-delivery' then the package will not be delivered for several days. These instances are more than likely a result of the parcel being passed off to a last-mile carrier and the status becomes unknown. Improving this visibility is a great way to create a more dependable brand image and build customer relationships. One strategy to improve this visibility is to partner with software companies that specialize in this.  

Great last-mile delivery strategies are integral for a functional order fulfillment process and good customer experience. As eCommerce continues to grow, optimizing every part of the process will be vital to success and building long-term customer relationships. Data visibility and a strong grasp on customer feedback are the foundational strategies. Keeping an eye on the rising trends will help businesses identify other tools for success.  

If you’re interested in learning more about developing last-mile delivery and other fulfillment strategies, reach out to our team today here: https://shipcaddie.com/contact/

Unlock your shipping data with iDrive iQ

Gain valuable insights into your shipping data and drive business growth today.

Get started now