How To Nail Final Mile Delivery

3d illustration of a continuous line surounded by seven houses linked by doted lines. Last mile or kilometer delivery.

When you’re involved in a business that requires timely deliveries to customers, one of the most expensive mistakes you can make is a failed delivery. 

The last mile of the supply chain is already the most expensive component. When we fail to meet consumers’ expectations for delivery — either by not delivering the goods at all or by missing the scheduled delivery date — the costs rise. 

More than just paying for another delivery, it can cost your company more in terms of customer loyalty and revenue.

That’s why prioritizing final mile delivery performance matters. Your business’s finances and reputation are on the line, especially during busy seasons when customer sentiment is at an all-time high. 

When we can meet demand and delivery successfully, the rewards of a growing business and customer satisfaction are well worth it. 

To achieve those goals, we’re looking at just what missed deliveries can cost us and three strategies for nailing final mile delivery. 

The Cost of A Missed Delivery

According to consumer studies, deliveries that are missed or unsuccessful are costly.

More than half of all transportation expenses may be attributable to last-mile delivery. 

Additionally, according to one survey, 8% of domestic deliveries are unsuccessful on the first try. Those unsuccessful attempts can cost retailers $17.20 on average per item.

More than this one-off cost, the brand’s reputation takes a hit, too.

When deliveries are missed, customers are unlikely to remain silent. 

According to Metapack’s recent Ecommerce Delivery Benchmark Report when asked how they would react to a bad delivery experience (which 81% of customers had reported in the previous 12 months), these were some of the reactions:

  • 59% of respondents stated they would get in touch with the store and complain
  • 36% of customers said they would switch merchants for their upcoming purchase
  • 29% left a bad review
  • 6% posted about the experience on social media.

Rather than deal with damage control for any of the above situations, let’s learn how to avoid those situations completely. 

Below we have three strategies for improving final mile delivery.

3 Ways To Nail Final Mile Delivery

Even though there are challenges in the final mile that must be overcome for deliveries to be successful, your business doesn’t have to suffer because of them. 

Strategy #1: Avoid Incorrect Or Incomplete Deliveries By Starting Earlier

Some deliveries appear to proceed according to plan and reach their destination on schedule. 

However, if the wrong item is delivered, there are missing goods from the order, or the order is sent to the wrong customer, it is not a successful delivery. 

In peak seasons, like the holidays, mistakes can cause customers to react strongly.

In many cases, though, these errors can be avoided by implementing in-store procedures that ensure precise order picking and efficient store-to-driver hand-off. 

To make it simple for store staff to link the packaged order with the correct driver, start by barcoding each order. 

Next, make sure delivery drivers have access to designated pick-up counters or loading locations that are easily accessible and well signposted.

These procedures aid in ensuring that deliveries are efficiently given to drivers and arrive at their destinations on schedule.

Strategy #2: Avoid Wrong Addresses With Delivery Tracking

Human address-related mistakes are the most frequent causes of missing deliveries. 

It’s possible for senders to enter addresses erroneously in the system. Then, using GPS to find this mistaken address – especially in rural situations – can be challenging.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent these issues. The first one is to utilize API integration. 

Fields like customer-entered addresses will immediately populate on the delivery end thanks to the integration of delivery with retail-level order management systems. This lowers the risk of human mistake when creating deliveries. 

Customers are also able to provide delivery drivers directions, especially if they reside in a difficult-to-find location. 

Senders can also add these turn-by-turn directions to their delivery instructions for those areas.

Finally, with features like picture delivery confirmation, recipients may verify whether a “lost” package was simply overlooked or possibly left at the side door rather than on the front porch. 

Strategy #3: Communicate To Avoid Inaccessible Mailboxes Or Properties

Some deliveries are easier to make than others. 

Densely populated neighborhoods can be a delivery headache due to excessive traffic and parking restrictions, especially during the busy holiday season. 

If drivers are not included on a list of authorized guests, gated communities and structures can also pose a problem. 

The solution to overcoming these difficulties is effective communication. 

To avoid confusion and unpleasant surprises, inform recipients about accessibility needs when scheduling your deliveries. 

Ask for any gate codes, parking directions, and check-in procedures, and include the necessary details in the delivery notes where drivers can see them. 

By enabling real-time tracking, the end user may also keep track of the delivery process and react if drivers contact them with inquiries. This high level of customer awareness is also essential for purchases needing the end customer’s signature.

Improve Your Final Mile Delivery Today

With last-mile delivery being the final point of contact between a sender and a recipient, smart businesses know to prioritize it. With best practices and an expert delivery partner, nailing final mile delivery leads to better business results and better customer satisfaction.

Looking to improve your business’s delivery management? Contact the expert team at Expedite Delivery System today for customized delivery solutions.

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