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Master last-mile delivery: The ultimate guide for ecommerce brands
Shipping trends

Master last-mile delivery: The ultimate guide for ecommerce brands

Versha Kamwal
February 6, 2022
mins read

As online shopping is becoming standard practice in this pandemic-ridden world, consumer demand for outstanding delivery experience is higher than it’s ever been.

Research shows that over 75% of consumers want same-day shipping and 80% of customers want the ability to track their orders in real-time. As a result, ecommerce brands are forced to adjust to a new market mindset.

However, meeting customers expectations regarding order delivery is hard. It generally means high costs, growing support requirements, and adding complexity in the entire ecommerce logistics.

Usually, inefficiency occurs in the final leg of the fulfilment journey—last-mile delivery since ecommerce brands have less or no control over the courier service. It takes a lot of work and planning but winning means long-term success for your ecommerce business.

In this blog, you’ll learn what is last-mile delivery, it's importance, the challenges it includes, and how ecommerce brands can improve last-mile delivery in various strategic ways.

What is last-mile delivery?

Last-mile delivery refers to the process of delivering an order from a warehouse (or fulfilment centre) to the customer’s delivery location.

The main goal of last-mile delivery in ecommerce fulfilment is to deliver an order to the customer as fast as possible, making the entire fulfilment experience quick and hassle-free.

Importance of last-mile delivery for ecommerce brands

Last-mile delivery is crucial for any ecommerce business because it is the final leg of their supply chain. Customers around the world don’t see online shopping as a chore—but as an experience. Nowadays, improving last-mile delivery can help you offer lightning-fast shipping, leading to a great customer experience.

Moreover, you can stay ahead of the competition in this highly saturated ecommerce landscape by reducing shopping cart abandonment and increasing conversion rates with fast shipping capabilities. Ultimately, by improving the final stage of order fulfilment, you can deliver orders faster to customers, delight them, and drive repeat purchases.

What are the challenges in last-mile delivery?

A significant challenge in the last-mile delivery is the lack of infrastructure. Although, ecommerce brands can achieve maximum efficiency with proper order management (picking and packing orders).

You can mark orders ‘ready-to-ship’ on time, but as soon as orders are handed over to shipping carriers, it causes a lot of complexity. In order to ensure fast shipping, costs shoot up incredibly high.

Once your orders are in transit, you have less or no control over the shipping carrier. Therefore, you cannot guarantee on-time delivery to your customers. You also lose the visibility of your orders when they are shipped.

If you tie-up with a single shipping carrier, it can be challenging to deliver orders across all the pin codes. Moreover, if your shipping network is weak, a delay in order delivery is bound to happen. In contrast, partnering up with multiple shipping carriers can be troublesome.

Furthermore, various reasons can affect the scheduled delivery of orders. These shipping exceptions can vary from delayed delivery, damaged shipment to failed delivery attempts.

Now that you know what last-mile delivery entails, let's see how you can improve it.

How can ecommerce brands improve last-mile delivery?

Ecommerce brands can improve last-mile delivery and meet customer demands in the following ways:

1. Distributed network of fulfilment centres

A major challenge in providing express delivery to customers is timely shipping. However, shipping can be impacted by several factors like the weather, traffic, and more. But when you store your inventory closer to your customers, you let go of at least half of these challenges. Thus, fulfilling your orders from multiple warehouse locations is a great way to increase the shipping speed.

Eshopbox enables you to split your inventory in multiple fulfilment centres across India. This automatically reduces shipping costs and decreases shipping time, ultimately resulting in an incredible customer experience.

Eshopbox's distributed network of fulfilment centres
Eshopbox's distributed network of fulfilment centres

2. Strong shipping network

To drastically improve your last-mile delivery, you need expedited courier services. For that, you have to tie up with national carriers with a proven track record. However, availing of the fastest delivery options from these carriers can be expensive as it’s unlikely for you to get access to discounts and negotiated shipping rates due to low order volumes.

Eshopbox leverages a robust shipping network to reach customers across 29,000+ pin codes in India while saving 45% on shipping costs. Furthermore, as Eshopbox has strong tie-ups and discounted rates with multiple courier companies, you can take advantage of bulk delivery discounts and provide fast order deliveries while minimising shipping expenses.

3. Optimised delivery routes

In order to improve last-mile delivery, the first thing you must do is optimise your delivery routes. You can select the fastest, most cost-effective routes possible. It means your order must be shipped automatically from the optimal warehouse based on inventory availability, customer location, and SLA (Service Level Agreement). Eshopbox leverages intelligent order routing that helps you achieve the most cost-efficient and faster deliveries.

Let’s take an example, you have distributed your inventory in different locations, i.e. Haryana, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Tamil Nadu. You received an order, and your customer location is Kharagpur. Then, the order will be allocated to the nearest fulfilment centre, i.e. Kolkata, rather than Mumbai fulfilment centre to ensure speedy order deliveries.

4. Complete visibility of order delivery

To strengthen the last-mile delivery, you need full visibility of deliveries and a tracking system in place. It will enable you and your customers to keep track of orders in transit as your brand’s reputation is at stake once your products leave the fulfilment centre. Without a system in place, important tracking information can get missed, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and ultimately returns. Thus, you need full visibility of your orders to maintain more control over order fulfilment.

Eshopbox empowers you and your customer to track orders in real-time on a dedicated tracking page and receive an estimated delivery date. Moreover, Eshopbox sends proactive updates to notify your customers about their orders.

Eshopbox enables real-time order tracking
Eshopbox enables real-time order tracking

5. Management of shipping exceptions

Shipping exceptions can cause unforeseen delays in order deliveries. To rise above such issues and improve last-mile delivery, Eshopbox enables ecommerce brands to manage them with automation.

Failed delivery attempts

  • Eshopbox automates the verification process for checking customer availability to increase the success rate of order delivery.
  • Eshopbox also empowers your customers to request another delivery attempt or change the delivery address on the customer portal whenever they want, without any assistance from the customer support team.

Eshopbox enables customers to re-schedule order delivery
Eshopbox enables customers to re-schedule order delivery

Delay of shipment

  • Eshopbox enables you to track and see order updates for your customer shipments. If there is a delay, you are notified proactively by the courier partner so that you can address the situation immediately.

Damaged shipment

  • Eshopbox takes every precaution to safeguard your customer orders in transit against any damage. By using secure dunnage and packaging materials and paying special attention to fragile products while labelling, Eshopbox ensures that your customers receive their orders in the best condition.

Bottom line

Last-mile delivery is an essential part of providing the services that customers expect from ecommerce brands. In order to maintain a competitive edge, you need greater efficiencies, scalable strategies, and advanced technology. You can also partner up with a 3PL provider to outsource your fulfilment and improve last-mile delivery while saving costs and creating a delightful experience for your customers.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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