The term ‘last mile’ refers to the final stage of the supply chain, where goods move from a distribution center to their final destination. The last mile represents a time of huge pressure for brands and carriers alike.
For brands, last mile delivery is not only the most expensive part of the customer journey but is also a make-or-break time for customer satisfaction. If something goes wrong in the last mile, it can result in delayed or damaged products – an infallible way to tarnish customer relationships.
For carriers, the unprecedented growth of e-commerce in the past five years has forced them to adapt. More people want more products delivered, more frequently. And with the rise of globalization, speed and organization is vital for any logistic and supply chain supplier to succeed during the final mile.
What is last mile delivery tracking?
One of the biggest problems with last mile delivery is a lack of transparency and communication. Due to the wide range of variables at play, it is difficult to manage expectations and provide updates. In recent years, the logistics and supply chain industries have leveraged technology to increase visibility.
As the name suggests, last mile delivery tracking enables a person to monitor the last mile process from a separate location. There are many ways of enabling last mile tracking. Internally, a logistics partner may enable their teams to track the progress of a delivery using a unique order ID number. Some use status codes that enable their colleagues to infer how the journey is progressing. Others in retail use GPS location tracking, and so on.
But the term ‘last mile tracking’ also refers to a consumer’s ability to monitor their order’s progression. In 2022, people expect to receive personalized, real-time updates on their order. But this is often not the case. While some logistics partners provide tracking links, their quality, accuracy, and functionality often leave a lot to be desired. As a result, consumers have ‘post-purchase anxiety.’ They worry about the order not arriving on time, or missing the delivery slot etc. So, it’s clear that there is a lot to be improved in final mile tracking.
How last mile delivery tracking benefits customers
It’s clear that customers want to be updated on their order. Our recent research found that 49% want regular updates throughout the delivery process. And 56% of people want to be notified if something goes wrong, like a delay. So how does last mile delivery tracking benefit customers?
1. User-friendly delivery tracking
Last mile delivery tracking makes it easier for people to find information about their order. People know where to go and what to do to find all the latest information in one place. This means customers don’t have to worry about where their order is. They don’t have to call in for an update. Last mile delivery solutions make the customer experience feel easier and more seamless.
2. Live ETA
A live tracking link allows a person to monitor any changes as they occur. A significant challenge of the last mile is that there are so many factors that could affect the final outcome. Traffic jams, closed roads, breakdowns, poor weather conditions, technology failures and so on. All of these extraneous components can change the course of a delivery in a second. That’s why providing live tracking capabilities is so important. Event-triggered messages can manage expectations, so people are kept informed.
3. Real-time driver communication
It is possible to foster communication between the consumer and the delivery driver via their tracking information. So, in the event of a delay, a customer can share their alternative delivery preference. For example, some people would prefer for their item to be left with a neighbor, where others would prefer an order to be put in a safe place. Enabling this communication ensures that everything is done in line with the customers’ wishes in mind.
Last mile delivery tracking features that benefit carriers
1. Proof of delivery
Last mile solutions can be helpful for showing not just where a driver is before a delivery, but after it. If people claim that they didn’t receive a parcel, the tracking enables a driver to show when and where they left it. This can safeguard the carrier, but also help to understand where a mistake may have been made.
2. Contactless delivery
Contactless delivery enables deliveries to be completed without any direct contact between the driver and end consumer. While the idea was initially introduced for health and safety purposes, carriers soon realized that it has additional benefits. Enabling contactless delivery means that if a person is not available to receive their order, the package can still be delivered. This reduces cost and increases efficiency as brands can reduce their failed delivery attempt rate considerably.
3. Alternative delivery requests
In the event of a delay, a carrier can send an event-triggered, automated message to a customer to let them know that something has changed. If necessary, the customer can then advise on how the carrier should proceed. For example, they may provide an alternative delivery location – like with a neighbor – or they may give permission to leave the parcel in a porch, shed or garage. Without customer last mile delivery tracking, this communication between customer and driver would not have been possible.
Our Operations Experience Management platform makes personalized customer experiences a priority throughout all operational processes.
Last mile delivery tracking features that benefit brands
By owning the end-to-end customer experience, brands can create a communication workflow in their own look and feel. Instead of sending customers generic carrier emails, brands can reassure customers with familiar, personalized updates.
1. Extended brand engagement
Adding branding to your post-checkout emails helps to create a recognizable experience. This elongates your customer’s engagement with your brand. If they have a really good last mile experience, you want to make sure they remember it was with you! Add subtle brand details, like font, logos and graphics to stand out. Then, when they consider where to shop, they’ll be more likely to remember your brand.
2. Reduced inquiries
Keeping customers engaged with your brand throughout the customer journey means that it’s easier to keep them updated. Providing proactive notifications means that customers no longer have to call in to ask for information. This means that brands can expect to see a reduction in customer inquiries. This can help to reduce the cost of customer service teams.
3. Commercial cross and upselling
Staying connected with your customers after purchase means that you have new opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. For example, you can add embedded product recommendations to your operational emails. If a customer bought a wardrobe, why not recommend some hangers, or storage boxes? This is a great way to improve your retention rate and increase traffic back to your site.
4. Reporting and analytics
Last mile delivery tracking gives you access to a wealth of data. You can identify trends in performance and improve your ability to forecast lead times. The data enables you to understand how a carrier’s efficiency compares with other providers. You can see firsthand if your carriers are meeting your agreed SLAs and identify any areas of improvement required.
5. NPS and feedback
When your last mile delivery tracking is user-friendly and personalized, it’s going to have a huge effect on how your customers remember you. So, take the opportunity to request feedback when you know your customer is satisfied. For example, send an automated, event-triggered message to your customer a few hours after a product were successfully delivered on time, and ask them for feedback. This proactive communication has been proven to generate more engagement.
Last mile delivery solutions benefit all
In summary, last mile delivery tracking has advantages for everyone. In particular, it enables all parties to stay informed. How the information is displayed can be adapted to best suit the needs of the brand and the end consumer. And as technology continues to evolve, we foresee that tracking capabilities will improve.
Above all else, last mile solutions enable brands and carriers to be more efficient. They can manage customer expectations without manual work. And for customers, the increased visibility into their order journey creates a streamlined, worry-free experience.
Explore our last mile delivery solution
To improve the last mile experience your brand delivers in 2022, use our leading Operations Experience Management platform. Reconnect with your customers after checkout and deliver proactive, regular updates to your customers from within your own ecosystem.
You know your customers better than anyone. So, we will work with to create a journey of your own design – communicating the messages that matter most to your customers in the most streamlined way. We will advise and support you to deliver the best last mile experience possible. In other words, parcelLab’s last mile solution works for you.
Build lasting relationships with Operations Experience Management