More customers than ever before are shopping online. Shopping is already one of the most popular online activities, and by 2021, Statista projects retail e-commerce sales will reach $4.88 trillion worldwide, up from $2.3 trillion in 2017.
Accustomed to the online experience, customers want to be delighted when interacting with retailers through their other channels. They also wish to have their online orders delivered faster than ever before. Same-day and instant delivery speeds are quickly becoming a requirement, as well as alternative shipping options including delivery to parcel lockers and in-store pick-ups.
To meet these demands, many retailers have created a successful omnichannel retail experience for their customers. However, they continue to struggle to fulfill and deliver orders when customers want it. This last mile to the customer has become the focus for many retailers. Fortunately, new technologies like route optimization software are enabling cost-effective ways to reduce customer complaints, increase repeat orders, shorten delivery times, and more.
What is last mile delivery?
In its simplest form, last mile delivery services refers to the final step in the delivery process that gets a product from a distribution center or facility into the hands of the end user. How retailers manage this last stage in the process has become a key differentiator in the industry. The more products they can get to consumers, faster and more cost-effectively the more customers will come back to shop.
So far, retailers have continued to partner with large delivery carriers. However, as online sales increase, retailers are also testing new and innovative delivery solutions that can get their products to their customers faster and cheaper. These solutions include click-to-collect locations, delivering to collection points, enabling in-store pick-up, and most importantly route optimization software for delivery drivers and dispatchers.
Improve your last mile delivery services with route optimization
As retailers diversify their delivery options to meet customer demands, managing the operations will become increasingly more challenging. Keeping costs low, maximizing efficiencies, recovering failed deliveries, and managing spikes in service are just a few of the growing complexities.
Route optimization can solve this. By looking beyond the shortest path between a distribution center and a customer’s home, route optimization determines the most cost and time efficient routes. It does this by considering the number and locations of the required spots on the route, how best to preserve the quality of the product, best and nearest delivery option to dispatch, traffic congestion, and much more.
All of this delivers cost savings to the company and produces happier and more satisfied customers. From a cost savings perspective, route optimization can improve fuel efficiency by eliminating empty miles and monitoring unauthorized stops or detours. Tech-enabled route planning can also help reduce driver errors that can preserve optimal delivery speed. Traffic, road congestion, and construction delays can also keep drivers (and their deliveries) on the road longer than intended. Route optimization software can monitor streets and alert drivers to take alternative routes to their destination.
Customers, who receive their deliveries fast and in good quality, come back again. Drivers, too, enjoy a safer, less stressful workday as the GPS tracking in the route optimization system reduces the risks of driving like left turns, U-turns or getting lost.
The benefits of using route optimization will grow exponentially, even as you add more vehicles or delivery options to the last mile. Route optimization software that can analyze these possibilities in real-time is recommended to ensure effective and responsive routing that is cost-efficient and preserves the quality of the products you are delivering.
Accelerate customer acquisition and repeat business, while gaining a competitive advantage in delivery services. Start your free trial of GetSwift to see how route optimization and other delivery management tools can make your business efficient and profitable.