The Benefits of Last Mile Delivery for Small Businesses
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Last mile delivery is the final journey a product takes from storage or warehousing to the end user at a commercial or residential address. It’s the last portion of the supply chain, and it may also be the most important portion of the supply chain — especially for small businesses.
Why is last mile delivery so essential to smaller businesses? It’s a big investment, accounting for 53% of all shipping costs. But effective last mile delivery is also an opportunity, a chance to delight customers, to reduce risks, to lower costs, and generally to compete with larger brands operating in the space.
Whether or not you believe in the power of last mile delivery, perfecting the last mile for your business can offer a number of benefits. Here’s a look at 8 last mile delivery benefits you and your company can take advantage of.
1. Create a Great Customer Experience
Customer expectations are increasing, driven by fast and free delivery options provided by Amazon and other huge retailers. Effective last mile delivery for your business is a way to match customer expectations and generate repeat business.
Delighted customers are even willing to pay more. Reports indicate that 86% of customers will invest more into products and services when they have a great customer experience.
As your small business strives for growth and fights for market share, last mile delivery can be a real differentiator for your brand.
2. Real-Time Visibility Into Order Status
In recent years, the global supply chain has operated in a consistent state of chaos. Consumers have experienced unusually long lead times for electronics, cars, clothing, pet food and even chicken. The chaos and uncertainty have only enhanced consumers’ emerging desire for transparency in shipping — 93% of customers want to know exactly where their delivery is located in the world at each step in the process.
A quality last mile partner can provide that level of visibility to your customers. Real-time tracking can take your customers along on the journey from storage and warehousing to final delivery. There won’t be any uncertainty, and you’ll be able to create a customer experience that matches expectations.
3. Optimize Delivery Routes
In the 21st century, optimized delivery routes were based on experience and word-of-mouth. Today, optimized delivery routes are based on advanced technology that taps into real-time circumstances to guide drives on the most efficient journey possible.
Unfortunately, not all businesses are optimizing their delivery routes. A report indicates that:
- Missing information about building entrances costs logistics companies 7 million minutes a day.
- Maps directing drivers to the wrong locations costs $2.5 billion each year.
- Faulty routes cost U.S. logistics companies $611 million each year.
That’s a lot of time and money that’s wasted due to a lack of route optimization. A quality partner can help you take advantage of last mile logistics benefits by leveraging new technologies for efficient delivery.
4. Increased Flexibility
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a new level of flexibility to pickup and delivery options. Omnichannel has become a buzzword in recent months, as retailers launched curbside pickup and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) options for their customers. In fact, according to Adobe, 23% of all online orders in November and December 2021 were fulfilled either through curbside pickup or BOPIS.
The bottom line is that today’s consumers are accustomed to having options and flexibility. They want to pick up items when and how they like, and they want a similar level of control over deliveries.
Consumers are busy these days, and they are rarely sitting at home waiting for packages to arrive. About 70% of all consumers want more flexible delivery options, including the ability to change delivery times and even locations. An experienced last mile company can help you create flexible delivery options that match consumer expectations.
5. Reduce Carrying Costs
Inventory carrying costs typically account for 25% to 40% of a company’s investment in inventory. But what if you could reduce the amount of inventory you carry at any given time? That would significantly reduce your overall investment in carrying costs — allowing you to dedicate those funds elsewhere.
When you find the right last mile delivery partner for your market, your products spend a lot less time on the shelves. A last mile delivery partner can help your company accelerate the fulfillment process, which means less in carrying costs and also a better overall experience for the customer.
6. Lower Risk
Owning and operating your own fleet can be risky in the legal sense. If you choose to buy your own trucks and employ your own drivers, you open your business up to negligent entrustment and other liabilities.
This is one of the great benefits of choosing a last mile partner. Your partner owns the trucks and employs the drivers, which means your partner takes on all the risk. Of course, because your partner operates in the last mile delivery business day in and day out, they are in a much better position to manage those risks effectively. A last mile partner brings the peace of mind that’s missing when you own and operate a fleet.
7. Access to the Right Equipment
Fleets can also be expensive. Trucks cost tens of thousands of dollars, and then you have to absorb costs related to ongoing maintenance. You’ll also need a diverse fleet depending on the nature of your business. For example, you may need small trucks for short trips, large trucks for longer trips, refrigerated trucks for goods that have a short shelf life, etc.
Last mile companies have existing fleets that they can provide access to. If you need a small truck, they have it. If you need a large truck, they’ve also got it covered. If you need a refrigerated truck, even if it’s just a one-off situation, they have that too.
When you take a step back and think about the cost of creating and maintaining a diverse fleet of delivery trucks, the value of a last mile partner becomes evident.
8. Scale Your Business
As a small business owner, you have enough to worry about. You shouldn’t have to create and perfect your own last mile delivery system. It’s better to let a last mile partner bring capacity to your operations and give you access to the benefits of last mile delivery mentioned above.
With a last mile partner in place, you can focus on strategy, new products or services, new partnerships, and other initiatives to fuel growth. You can spend your time as a business owner on the high-value tasks when you choose a partner to handle last mile deliveries.
Metrobi: Your Last Mile Partner
When you need wholesale and residential last mile services in the largest markets around the country, Metrobi delivers. We create outstanding customer experiences, provide real-time visibility in order status, optimize routes for efficiency, offer a diverse fleet of trucks, and help your business grow.
When you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of last mile delivery, get in touch with us to discover what Metrobi can do for your business.