Every stage of the supply chain is crucial: After all, it's called a chain for a reason! From harvesting raw materials to stocking warehouses, no step can be skipped. However, most consumers are only aware of one — delivery. When buyers place orders or browse aisles, they're not thinking of what it takes to make their product. They're concerned only with how quickly they can get their hands on a purchase.
However, what many people don't realize is that there are multiple types of delivery during the manufacturing and distribution process, other than the one that gets their goods to them. So, in this context, we're talking about last-mile delivery: As Insider Intelligence explains, it's the last push in getting that product to a shelf or doorstep. Consumer expectations around last-mile delivery are evolving rapidly, and companies need to stay abreast of the latest developments if they want to remain competitive and relevant in their market. Let's take a look at some of them:
In a bygone era, shoppers who bought products via a catalog (online or telephonically) were content to wait several days —if not weeks or months — for their purchase to arrive. Similarly, stores would bide their time for goods to get from wholesalers to their doors.
Now, it's all about same-day turnaround. It's no longer good enough to receive an order within three to five working days when delivery in under 24 hours has become the norm. Businesses need to prioritize the pace at which they can ship their merchandise to their consumers, whether those are individuals or resale shops.
Although speed is often the primary focus when it comes to last-mile delivery, logistics companies and retailers also need to think about efficiency. It's both time consuming and more expensive to do many trips when there aren't that many products in each shipment.
Thus, logistics companies must consider their minimum-order delivery limits. Often, it just makes good business sense to wait until your truck, ship or plane is full. This reduces the time spent traveling back and forth between warehouses and destinations, and cuts down labor and fuel costs.
As with anything in life, mistakes can and do happen during last-mile delivery. What sets the pack leaders apart from their competitors is how they handle complaints and reverse logistics (that is, returns and exchanges of incorrect or faulty/damaged goods).
Consumers largely want to be able to report issues and give feedback online, and they expect speedy responses so the situation is rectified quickly. As Shopify explains, this is often a bigger concern for companies who supply to the public, rather than retail stores, but all kinds of logistics businesses need to be aware of this.
By keeping these considerations in mind, logistics organizations can work to ensure last-mile delivery success.