Top 9 Last Mile Delivery Trends to Watch

Many changes in the last-mile delivery industry have taken place in recent years. This is largely driven by consumer demand for faster delivery times and increased shipping visibility and tracking (“Where’s my package?”). Many third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are affected because they are the intermediary between receiving products from manufacturers, and getting orders to shipping carriers. 

The push to improve last-mile delivery accelerated in 2020. The pandemic turned that section of the supply chain on its head as more people began shopping online due to quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and health concerns over in-person shopping.

To gain a competitive advantage in last-mile delivery, companies need to understand the top trends in last mile delivery and adapt to the ever changing landscape and improve the customer experience.

Last Mile Delivery Explained

Last mile delivery is defined as the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination. This is typically home delivery or a commercial business. The focus of last mile logistics is to deliver items to the end user as fast as possible.

Last mile logistics has become a popular area of interest for ecommerce businesses due to the growing demand for integrated omnichannel fulfillment. Changing omnichannel fulfillment needs have forced businesses to evaluate current transportation delivery network capabilities and make adjustments accordingly.

An increased focus has been placed on last mile logistics because, in many cases, this is a key differentiator for businesses. Because consumers can easily change where they choose to order from, ecommerce businesses and their supply chain partners must provide exceptional service to gain market share and build brand loyalty.

Top Trends in Last Mile Delivery

Here are ten trends that companies are actively testing and implementing in an effort to enhance the last mile delivery process and keep up with growing consumer expectations to get their orders faster and be able to track every step along the way.

1. Smart Technology to Enhance Supply Chain Visibility

Visibility and tracking are major concerns for ecommerce companies and their customers. Letting customers know the current status of their order and when a package is on route to its end destination are only the beginning of what to expect in the future. Shippers and logistics companies are exploring ways to pinpoint the exact location of orders. From using GPS and RFID tags to track the movement of shipments in real time to embedding sensors in packages in order to monitor their temperature and humidity, smart technology has enabled companies to provide their customers with the transparency and traceability they desire.

2. Cutting Costs with Analytics

The amount of information coming from the smart technology mentioned above can also help to bring down overall fulfillment costs when combined with analytics and forecasting. Analytics allow companies to monitor and discover areas to cut costs throughout every area of their supply chain.

It might not seem like minor changes will have a major impact on initial costs, but when applied to economies of scale, data analytics provide insights that can help lower costs while not sacrificing the level of service that customers expect. As a result, the overall costs of last mile delivery can be pushed further down, allowing more companies to be able to offer expedited shipping options like two-day and even same-day delivery services.