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Last-Mile Logistics Trends to Watch in the Next 12 Months

by Mary Rooney | Feb 02, 2021

Article from SupplyChainBrain

The COVID-19 pandemic has required many organizations to rewire their supply chains at short notice — and an overwhelming majority of businesses have no intention of returning to the status quo. As eCommerce grows like never before, so too does the final-mile delivery sector. Here are a few trends to watch.

High Expectations
Last-mile delivery will become increasingly demanding over the next few years. Delivery services are all the rage, with companies including UberEats changing the way people get restaurant food or groceries. During the pandemic, some of the biggest businesses struggled to meet demand as customers turned to online shopping in lockdown. Consumers have now formed new habits and are expected to shop more online than in-store even as life gets back to normal. Managing customer delivery demands and high expectations over the final mile is a key element to growing eCommerce operations.  

Same-Day Delivery
Customers know what they want, and for many customers it's getting their products as soon as possible. Same-day delivery is expected to reach a 25% market share by 2025. Customers also don’t mind spending more to get it, meaning eCOmmerce businesses have the opportunity to make profit for speedier deliveries. However, it’s not just same-day delivery that continues to rise. In general, customers want the final-mile to fit around their lives — that means offering different options including choice of specific days, click and collect and parcel lockers. 

Real-Time Transparency
Another key trend in the final-mile is technology which allows real-time visibility and transparency. Technology enables businesses to fully track the parcel journey, enabling them to optimize routes based on disruptions or traffic. It also means that they can automatically update customers on the parcel’s arrival time. Customers now expect this level of transparency, wanting regular updates and insight on any delays. It also benefits businesses to do this, cutting down on the number of calls into customer services trying to track a parcel. Customers can tolerate a late delivery, but only if they are notified about it in advance.  

Agile Operations
If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s the need of absolute agility. The business environment remains unpredictable. Businesses must be able to quickly scale up or down, turn different services on and off, and be able to adapt to change. Nothing will remain static, and expect things to shift almost on a daily basis. That means agile operations and quick decision making will be essential to the survival of eCommerce businesses. 

Fulfillment Hubs
As consumer behavior shifts, foot traffic will continue to fall and retailers may look to turn their stores into fulfillment hubs. By transforming them into mini-distribution centers, businesses can pair them with last-mile delivery services to create faster shipping. Amazon and Apple are two retailers who are looking to take over vacant spaces for this purpose. Although businesses were already considering these options before the pandemic, the rate of eCommerce growth has accelerated this. 

Environmental Strategy
Businesses must work with multiple carriers in order to give customers the level of services they expect. However, for eCommerce businesses this can lead to a bigger carbon footprint. With customers and businesses becoming more aware of the impact of their decisions on the environment, a final-mile solution that involves a highly diverse set of carriers will become unsustainable. With one pickup rather than multiple pickups, businesses can consolidate their parcel volumes, and deliver parcels in a more environmentally conscious way. 

Read more at SupplyChainBrain.


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