What is Last Mile Delivery and Why is it Important to Your Small Business?

What is Last Mile Delivery and Why is it Important to Your Small Business

With more and more businesses selling products online in order to remain competitive in a world that sees more than 85% of consumers shopping on the internet, it is vital retailers live up to their shoppers’ expectations of having their goods delivered quickly and efficiently.

One challenge businesses face in competing with the likes of Amazon Prime, which guarantees consumers have products in their hands the next day, is the final process of a product’s journey, known as last mile delivery.

What is Last Mile Delivery?

The ‘last mile’ is effectively the final leg of the journey, which sees a package arrive at the shopper’s door, the only step of the process a consumer is really interested in.

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Having a package safely arrive at its destination is a key component of quality customer service and care. Consequently, last mile delivery problems, such as a package arriving later than expected or, worse still, not arriving at all, can be damaging to a business and its reputation.

For small business competing against the likes of Amazon, issues involving last mile delivery and the reputational damage late and inefficient delivery to a final destination creates, can be irreversibly damaging.

Improving Last Mile Delivery For Your Small Business Cost-Effectively

Any business that sells and delivers products to consumers, whether it’s online, from a physical store, or both, should be mindful of creating efficient last mile delivery.

Statistics show that as much as 28% of online shoppers will abandon their purchases if shipping costs are high. Subsequently raising delivery costs for the consumer, so that your business will be able to fund quality last mile delivery services isn’t feasible for small businesses.

Naturally, many cash-strapped small businesses simply don’t have the funds to devote to ensuring ultra-fast and reliable last mile delivery. Improving last mile delivery without breaking their logistic budget is a challenge many small businesses face.

Fortunately, there are ways your small business can encourage a smoother last mile delivery service without having to fork out on unaffordable delivery costs.

Let Your Customers Choose Their Delivery Windows

Instead of having one delivery window for every customer and item, let your customers select which delivery window they would like and charge them appropriately. Your customers will be able to choose to have cost-effective home delivery or a delivery slot that suits them.

This puts the customer in greater control over when their item is delivered and can improve the success rate of last mile delivery.

Offer Package Tracking Options

The ability to track packages in real-time is essential for busy consumers, who want to know on what day and at what time their item will arrive. Providing your customers with package tracking options can lead to higher customer satisfaction, helping your business be seen in a more professional and credible light, and not to mention ensuring packages can be kept track of and thereby overcoming some of the potential issues of last mile delivery.

Communicate Continuously

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the a customer’s experience of receiving the products they order from you, is to continuously communicate with your customers.

Provide updates via email, text, or a communications app about the stage of the order and where their item is. By keeping customers well informed about the journey of their orders will help increase confidence about your last mile delivery, not to mention reduce the number of calls and emails you receive from customers asking where their products are.

Photo via Shutterstock


Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

3 Reactions
  1. This is the issue the Post Office solved decades ago. There are more options out there, but USPS handles the “last mile” for every residential address in the US 6 days/week.

  2. This is true. Usually they are willing to wait in other parts but in the last leg, they are bit more impatient.

  3. Very helpful article about small business.
    Thanks for sharing

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