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Why and how retailers must be proactive with last mile delivery

Why and how retailers must be proactive with last mile delivery

In a recent blog, we gave tips for small retailers who wanted to successfully add delivery services. In today’s blog, we will talk about why and how retailers must take a proactive approach to managing their last mile deliveries.

Why does it matter?

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates consumers spent $513.61 billion online in 2018, up 14.2% from 2017. As e-commerce skyrockets, more retailers are finding it necessary to offer delivery service to both maintain and grow their loyal customer base.

This phenomenon creates both challenges and opportunities. While needing to add delivery creates new obstacles to overcome, e-commerce also allows even the small mom and pop stores to spread their reach through delivery.

Retailers of any size must be proactive when it comes to their last mile delivery services. Even if they aren’t managing the deliveries in-house, retailers need to work closely with their delivery providers to ensure quality and efficient service is the standard even after the items leave their store.

The truth is, if there are problems with deliveries from your store, it will be your reputation that potentially suffers. It only makes sense to manage your reputation both in your store and beyond. You can accomplish this by proactive control of your supply chain.

What does all this mean? Well, the tips in that first blog are what you should do first.  But here are some ways you can be proactive when dealing with last mile deliveries.

5 tips for being proactive with your last mile delivery

Direct communication with your providers

Communication goes a long way to reduce mistakes and to ensure quality service. For example, what is the procedure for keeping track of deliveries? What’s the procedure for getting updates on deliveries and problems that arise? Do you provide a single point of contact for your delivery provider to work with to ensure streamlined information?

If you don’t have a strong relationship with your provider and you don’t have a set standard of which updates you receive and how you receive them, that can cause problems down the line.

Tailor delivery to customer needs

It is easy to think that most people want two-day delivery or even same-day delivery but in some cases, quick may not be helpful. Residential customers especially are interested in delivery that is both quick and convenient. Some may be willing to get a delivery a little bit later if the delivery can be made at a time when they are home to receive it. This is especially important for larger items that can’t be left on the front porch, such as furniture. You need to offer options that meet what your customers need, not necessarily what is popular from other providers.

Share data

We’ve all heard the cliché “on the same page” but this is incredibly true when it comes to last mile delivery. If you, your logistics provider, and all other stakeholders can share data about inventory, delivery status, and overall satisfaction from the customer, you can each improve performance.

Know your metrics

What do you want to be known for? Retailers of any size, as well as their logistics providers, are realizing that fast service often usually means more expensive service. However, many retailers are often finding that customers are not willing to pay more to receive their items faster. This usually leads to overall prices going up to cover the costs.

The question is, what do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known for fast delivery or better prices? You have to know your limitations and work within them—all while trying to still make a profit.

Find out which metric is more important for your customer and find ways to make that possible.

Hire a consultant

It’s usually wise to hire a consultant or gain some form of outside expertise before even starting these endeavors. But if you get to where the delivery process isn’t working the way you would like, or if you want to make major changes, you should consider hiring a consultant to give an objective view of what can be done to improve.

We can help!

As small business owners ourselves, we understand the value of quality service for each customer. That’s why we work hard for each last mile delivery client to provide clear communication with both the retailer and the delivery customer. We encourage retailers to be proactive participants in the process and would love to help you grow your business with efficient delivery services. Give us a call!

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