Successful last mile delivery and returns

15. April 2021

We can see that in 2019 more than 500 million packages were shipped to France. For the majority of consumers, delivery is a major criterion when buying a product on the internet because it determines the completion of the purchase journey but also the satisfaction of a customer.

We talk about the importance of the last mile, as the last step in the logistics chain, and which must be flawless at all levels.

In addition, innovation in last mile logistics represents a major economic challenge and a key resource for optimizing urban delivery, but also customer satisfaction.

The different aspects of the last mile

Last mile logistics can have different aspects depending on the characteristics of an individual's supply chain, but here are a few examples:

  • For production supply chains (B2B): the last mile deals with the supply of material as part of the production process, such as the delivery of spare parts or spare parts to a factory.
  • In the case of distribution logistics for physical stores (B2B): here, the last mile is used for supplying store stocks, where products are marketed directly to customers.
  • And finally, for logistics focused on the end consumer (B2C): the last mile is set up to ensure direct delivery to the customer or to a relay point that he has chosen beforehand, for example for purchases made on a Online Store.

Delivery or the face of customer satisfaction

Today, consumer expectations for delivery are more and more important; thus delivery becomes a powerful lever in the field of e-commerce.

For online shoppers, the whole value of a delivery service is in the last mile. The purchasing experience is directly linked and judged to the quality of the delivery offered by the e-merchant.

In addition, delivery is recognized as being the first source of stress for customers when shopping, so the last mile appears to be a key step in customer satisfaction. Indeed, it is pointed out that 55% of online buyers no longer order on an e-commerce site following delivery problems.

To remedy this, e-commerce players are banking on the promise of shorter delivery times to ensure a successful delivery experience in the age of omnichannel. However, the major challenge of the last mile remains customer satisfaction, which is based on the ability of the carrier service provider to offer a flawless experience.

It becomes more than a simple service to offer, but then the last point of contact with the consumer. The last mile thus represents the face of customer satisfaction.

Arguably, then, the last mile is shaping up to be the real weapon of war for e-commerce today.

Customize and optimize your logistics service

In a world in perpetual change and where competition as well as services are increasing, the various players in the Supply Chain wish to reinvent their offer, to be as close as possible to the needs of consumers.

Among the choices of services, there is appointment setting in reduced time slots, delivery in one hour, 7 days a week, on-demand, etc ... The transport world is listening to the smallest requests from its retail customers and their consumers. The challenge is to offer a personalized service, which will then be a guarantee of the performance of an ever more effective and efficient last mile delivery.

In addition, it is also important to be able to offer a personalized and digital service to consumers.

Nowadays, omnichannel distribution channels and immediacy are at the heart of the consumer's buying journey. And so that the experience is flawless, the transporter, an expert in the last mile, is working on the digitization of its services in collaboration with online stores but also warehouses, through mobile applications, order modules integrated into online sales sites, online appointment booking, tracking, reporting, interactive kiosks making it possible to collect data but also to get closer to visitors, in order to know their interests and their satisfaction. Thus, urban delivery has no other choice than to support the phygital revolution (physical point of sale integrating digital data and methods) of connected commerce.

Control the cost of the last mile

The last kilometer represents 20% of transport costs for companies, because the more a commodity approaches its final destination, the more the transport cost increases; the overall cost of last mile delivery grows by around 10% each year and is estimated to reach 2.6 billion euros in France by 2025 according to estimates.

Thus, the last mile is considered to be a significant economic issue for retailers. The challenge is to optimize it effectively by choosing a responsible and innovative carrier service provider, who will be able to both simplify and also optimize this last link in the logistics chain.

In order to reduce the cost of last mile delivery, the use of returnable handling units is also recommended. Thanks to a good management of the return of these returnable packaging, you will be able to reuse these handling units, which represents a considerable saving of money, and leads you to follow an ecological logic in your deliveries to limit your waste.

Have an ecological logic for its delivery

Each year, delivery is responsible for the emission of more than one million tonnes of CO2 and more precisely 25% of CO2 emissions in urban areas.

In order to ensure good delivery, it is therefore necessary to know how to measure its environmental impact, especially in a context of global warming, but also to raise awareness among consumers about the responsible approach of distributors. To meet this demand, last mile professionals seek to offer their customers clean delivery without CO2 emissions through concrete actions, such as:

  • The use of electric or hybrid cars,
  • The construction of car parks for recharging vehicles,
  • The establishment of ULS (urban logistics spaces) or even eco-driving.

In addition to this, measures are being put in place to restrict access to polluting vehicles within city centers. These measures mainly concern vehicles intended for parcel delivery, which are now responsible for greenhouse gas emissions of 30%.

The success factors of last mile delivery

The e-commerce sector has been booming in recent years, but in return it is beset by incessant demands from consumers in order to obtain more convenience and faster, more precise and punctual deliveries. However, there are factors that allow e-merchants to be able to successfully deliver last mile deliveries to their customers. Here are a few :

  • The transfer of responsibilities: it becomes a delicate subject in the logistics chain because very often companies want to be able to follow the delivery of goods step by step in order to know who has taken over during the different stages of its journey until its arrival. final destination.
  • Contradictory delivery: for companies, it is essential to have complete visibility of the delivery of parcels to customers, in order to better qualify their relationship with them in the event of a problem and thus adapt their speech at the right time by having all the necessary information.
  • Traceability: in the field of e-commerce, it is essential that companies can quickly and efficiently track the delivery of various packages / goods to customers throughout the journey.
  • Urban hubs for massification: they allow visibility and full traceability of the goods that are delivered, in order to be able to better dispatch them between the different carriers to better serve urban areas and reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Reverse Logistics: the management of returns is becoming an important issue for e-merchants, as customers are becoming more and more demanding. So they have to face an incessant demand about their parcel / merchandise return policy, especially in the context of last mile deliveries.
  • Management of multiple carriers and transport methods: good carrier management allows end-to-end follow-up of deliveries made by different carriers and thus obtain real-time monitoring, while limiting risks.
  • Real-time information on disputes / problems: better visibility on its last mile delivery gives the possibility of collecting real-time information during the journey of the products. In addition, customer service gets all the keys in hand to effectively resolve the various disputes / issues that may arise.
  • Route optimization: by having a Smart Supply solution, it is possible to optimize the deliveries made by carriers, so that they can save time in deliveries. In addition, a good optimization of routes allows companies to have better customer satisfaction and also to be able to reduce various costs related to deliveries.

To achieve the best possible last mile delivery, retailers but also carriers are seeking to resolve various issues.

These include customer satisfaction when finalizing a buying journey using a digital and personalized delivery service. There is also the importance of knowing how to control the economic cost of the last mile without affecting the quality of the service offered and finally monitoring its ecological impact in order to be able to reduce its carbon footprint while meeting consumer requirements.

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