19 May 2020

6 steps to ensure Last Mile delivery success

In this article, James Thomas gives us 6 handy tips on getting the last mile delivery process right.

James Thomas

How to solve last-mile delivery challenges in 6 easy ways


As the popularity of online retail has grown, so have shopper expectations of the delivery process, which has been accelerated further by the pandemic. This means, when it comes to the all-important ‘Last Mile’ consumers expect fast, free and convenient delivery, and if a retailer can’t provide this, they then simply take their business elsewhere.

The Last Mile is no longer an area of the buying journey that retailers can afford to get wrong, with 83%1 of consumers stating they will not return to a brand after just one poor delivery experience. Getting this right is a challenge for retailers when a large proportion of this journey is out of the brand’s control and in the hands of the carrier. This is why choosing the right carrier partner is so important.

Good Delivery Experience Infographic


Here are six factors retailers should consider when choosing a carrier to ensure Last Mile delivery success…

1) The delivery promise

At the point of checkout, a retailer makes a promise to the consumer that their items will arrive within a set time frame. Be that next day, 3-5 working days or, as we are seeing increasingly, same day. But if the package is delayed or, worse case, the package goes missing in action, this can have a detrimental effect on the retailer’s reputation and customer’s trust.

Greater Delivery Choice Infographic


Retailers need to consider what delivery promise they want to make to shoppers and find a carrier that can deliver on that promise. Opting for multiple carriers allows for greater delivery choice and ensures a back-up is in place during times of unprecedented delivery demand, such as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to delivery management software, partnering with multiple carriers is no harder than teaming up with one and delivers countless benefits.

2) Delivery cost versus value

Cost and value can be tricky to juggle. Retailers need to be able to provide multiple delivery options without paying over the odds.

While there’s a need to keep costs down, this needs to be weighed-up against the value the right carrier can add to your brand. Cheap delivery is all well and good, but if the parcel is thrown over the customer’s fence and its contents broken then the opportunity to achieve repeat business will be significantly depleted.

Whatever delivery options a retailer chooses to offer its shoppers, these need to be totally transparent up front. Many retailers make the mistake of not showing the delivery cost until the point of checkout, often leading to cart abandonment at the final stages of the buying cycle. Providing this information early helps shoppers make an informed choice and creates a frictionless checkout experience.

3) Convenience is key

Shoppers don’t just want to choose when they receive their goods, but also how they receive them. Whether it’s to home, an alternative address, store or a local pick-up point – such as Collect+ or The Post Office – they want to choose how that Last Mile takes place.

Give consumers greater control infographic


And they want the option to change their minds. By choosing a carrier that offers inflight amends, retailers not only give shoppers greater control of the Last Mile, but also save themselves the cost and inconvenience of returned parcels and redeliveries.

This service is already offered by several carriers, with Royal Mail launching its own inflight delivery options, Royal Mail Tracked, later this year.

4) Customer communications

Keeping the customer in the loop is a key to a happy shopper and, hopefully, a repeat purchase. Being able to deliver personalised, branded communication throughout the delivery process will not only help strengthen the brand persona but also improve the shopper experience.

Retailers should look to onboard with carriers that send regular delivery notifications to the customer throughout the delivery journey. Or, for even greater customer retention rates, provide both personalised and retail-branded communications.

Why? Firstly, it helps give the retailer some ownership of the Last Mile and improves the shopper’s brand experience. Secondly, it allows retailers to feature relevant promotions or ‘recommended products’ within the communication. Figures show 70-80%2 of personalised post-purchase messages are opened. An impressing stat, given that the average email open rate in the UK is just 13%3. What’s even more impressive is that 0.5-1%4 of this 70-80% result in customers immediately making a new purchase

5) Delivery service

Ensuring a parcel arrives when it should, where it should with delivery notifications throughout the journey are all great steps in ensuring a successful Last Mile. But it could still fail on the doorstep.

Careful consideration needs to be given to packaging and how the item is handed over to the customer. For example, does the packaging reflect the brand? Does it protect its contents without being deemed excessive or wasteful? And don’t forget to quiz potential carriers about their delivery staff too.

6) Safe and secure

Consider more secure delivery options for higher-value goods, such as Signed, Guaranteed and Insured. These not only give the customer peace of mind, but also protect retailers from less-genuine shoppers, providing proof that deliveries have been made.

Intersoft has over 25-years’ experience in delivery management software and works with a broad range of carriers. For further advice on how to ensure Last Mile success or helping integrating with multiple carriers, please get in touch.

1 https://www.getconvey.com/resource/research-last-mile-delivery-save-retail/?utm_source=RTP&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=byline&utm_campaign=2019-Press
2 Delivery Revealed – Results of the First UK eCommerce Shipping Survey”, IMRG – https://www.freshrelevance.com/resources/case-study/herring-shoes-ltd-achieves-its-highest-sales-conversion-rates-with-fresh-relevance
3 “Email Open Rates”, SuperOffice – https://www.superoffice.com/blog/email-open-rates/
4 “Delivery Revealed – Results of the First UK eCommerce Shipping Survey”, IMRG – https://www.imrg.org/blog/delivery-revealed-results-of-the-first-uk-ecommerce-shipping-survey/