In today’s world, quick and efficient delivery is very important to customers. Businesses are focusing on last-mile fulfillment to keep customers happy.
In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about last-mile fulfillment.
What Is Last-Mile Fulfilment?
In the world of eCommerce, there’s a whole lot that happens before customers even get their product. The last mile is the final step in the fulfillment process, where those packages are picked, packed, and shipped to their doorstep.
Check out our guide on pick and pack fulfillment and logistics.
How Different Business Processes Rely on Last-Mile Fulfillment
Here is how last-mile fulfillment impacts different business operations.
1. Customer Experience and Last-Mile Fulfilment
It’s no secret that the customer experience is shaped by every interaction a person has with a business. From their initial awareness through post-purchase support, each touchpoint shapes how they perceive you as a company.
When things go wrong with last-mile fulfillment, it has a bad impact on the customer experience. That’s why it’s so important for companies to have a strategic last-mile fulfillment process in place. By carefully planning and managing each step of the process, companies help ensure a positive experience for their customers.
2. Delivery Speed and Last-Mile Fulfilment
When a company takes an order, they are committing to customers that their purchase will be shipped in due time. To keep this promise, it’s essential to have clear processes ready. It starts with taking the customer’s order and ends with the customer receiving their purchase.
Several steps need to be done perfectly to ensure faster shipping. These steps include checking that the order is correct, picking and packing the items, and shipping them using the most efficient method possible. If you delay any of these steps, it will most definitely slow down the delivery.
3. Logistical Costs and Last-Mile Fulfilment
Fast & accurate delivery of orders is key to any business’s success. The best way for companies to get this without sacrificing efficiency? Invest in automated systems that track and manage your inventory from start to finish!
When businesses ship their products, the delivery time will impact profits. To reduce costs and maximize efficiency in this area, they need to use large shipping containers instead smaller ones. The difference in volume will make any extra costs worthwhile.
The cost of shipping varies depending on location. If customers are located nearby, shorter distances will be cheaper because they won’t involve as much fuel or added fees for storage and handling.
3 Different Ways to Cover Your Last-Mile Fulfillment Needs
Let’s take a closer look at three different ways you can optimize your last-mile fulfillment needs:
- Have your own center
- Outsource with a third-party logistics provider
- Use the hybrid model
1. Having Your Own Center
There are a few different ways to cover your last-mile fulfillment needs. One way is to have your own place. Many new businesses are setting up micro warehouses, or micro fulfillment centers closer to where their customers live. This was first done by Amazon when they launched their two-hour delivery service.
Putting the most popular items close to urban centers means a faster, more effortless delivery experience and higher customer satisfaction. But it’s really up to the company to decide what works best for them to meet customer demands.
2. Outsourcing with a 3PL
The logistics industry is a popular choice for businesses looking to outsource their last-mile fulfillment needs. Working with a 3PL like Dropoff can provide you with the space and expertise needed while also helping improve customer satisfaction.
Plus, 3PLs provide real-time inventory management and better shipping rates. A centralized system for last-mile fulfillment that integrates multiple channels is very useful in tracking orders and providing holistic customer service – it’s like having one integrated team with all the power.
They can also scale up or down as needed, lowering costs during slower periods.
Find out how 3PLs make reverse logistics easier.
3. The Best of Both Worlds: Hybrid
A new model that businesses are using is the hybrid model. It uses various delivery methods, including insourcing, gig and crowdsourced drivers, and third-party logistics providers.
This system relies heavily on transportation management systems (TMS), which help them plan routes and avoid traffic congestion as well as other software functionality like last-mile delivery tracking.
Although using multiple options is helpful, it’ll be hard to manage all the different options and make sure they meet customer needs.
The Future of Last-Mile Fulfillment
These are the existing innovations and trends in last-mile fulfillment that are most likely to evolve in a few years’ time.
1. Complete Fulfillment Automation
Order volumes are growing, making it more expensive for retailers to keep up with the demand. Hence they need more manpower and infrastructure, which will end up costing a lot of money.
Rather than hiring more people, automated fulfillment systems use robots to perform tasks that would’ve taken valuable time and cost.
Additionally, logistics and transportation automation is becoming more important as organizations invest in e-commerce. The global warehouse automation market will reach nearly $30 billion by 2026, with many 3PLs planning to implement this technology soon.
Further, the 3PL’s role is changing as they become an integral part of the supply chain. Brands are slowly turning to them for solutions.
2. Rate Shopping to Lower Shipping Costs
The shipping industry is in a constant state of change, thanks to the pandemic and year-round surcharges. Businesses have found new ways to cut costs by working with delivery partners within regional areas.
The best way to reduce shipping costs is to partner with a last-mile fulfillment provider with real-time rate shopping software.
How Dropoff Can Help with Last-Mile Fulfilment
Dropoff is a same-day delivery service that partners with local businesses to fulfill orders. We work with last-mile fulfillment centers in major metropolitan areas near high-traffic areas, making them perfect for handling large volumes of deliveries.
Our partnership with last-mile fulfillment centers offers our customers a reliable delivery experience. Our team of expert couriers simplifies the last-mile delivery process so you can focus on what you do best.
Talk with a Dropoff expert if you’re looking for a partner to help manage your last-mile fulfillment.