How to Find a Reliable Last-Mile Partner: A Guide

How to Find a Reliable Last-Mile Partner: A Guide

Carl Addoumieh

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

As a retailer or an eCommerce business, you aim to have your customer journey in order. You offer high-quality products via an attractive website with a clear ordering process. After each online order, you immediately set to work to get the product to your customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. And if there are unexpected questions or problems? Then you make sure that your customer is still satisfied with their purchase.

Crucial last-mile:

Yet you can’t always maximize control over every part of the customer journey. Just think of the crucial last mile: the last mile your product travels before it ends up in the hands of your customer. It is increasingly difficult to deliver products to your customer on time, according to a predictable schedule, especially in crowded city centres. Finding the right reliable last-mile partner has therefore become increasingly important.

eCommerce: strong and fast growth

The corona crisis has only increased the number of delivery trips. In 2020, Dutch consumers spent 26.6 billion euros at webshops, an increase of 7% compared to a year earlier. The total number of online purchases rose by 27% to 335 million. In Belgium, consumers also shopped online more often compared to the previous year; the total number of online purchases increased by 12% to 126.8 million.

The increase applies not only to, clothing and electronics but increasingly also to daily shopping. In 2018, 43% of Dutch people still had groceries delivered to their homes at least once a week. That percentage rose to 62% his year, partly due to the COVID pandemic. Many people switched to doing their groceries online last year, and the expectation is that many will continue to do so.

This has made it even busier and has put even more pressure on the timely delivery of products than before. Not only inner-city shipping causes traffic jams, but the pollution emitted from last-mile delivery. The World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded that emissions from last-mile delivery traffic would go 32% higher and cause 21% more congestion in the cities.

Last-mile delivery: increasingly crucial

Last-mile delivery is taking an increasingly important place in the competitive strategy of many companies. By working on the smoothest possible delivery, with reliable delivery times, you can distinguish yourself from competitors who have their delivery strategy less in order.

Research by Capgemini shows that consumers have increasingly high expectations from the companies they order from. For most consumers (55%), faster delivery is a reason to switch to a competitor. Also, three out of four consumers are willing to pay more if they are satisfied with the delivery service. In that case, they order more often, and the average monthly spending amount is higher.

On the other hand, inadequate last-mile delivery can lead to disappointed customers canceling their orders or not putting in new ones. This applies to approximately half of the customers.

You want to keep the cost of delivery as low as possible, of course. Because the costs for a flawless last mile are too high, this directly impacts your margin.

Last-mile partner: what should you pay attention to?

It should be clear: how you organize your delivery strategy – especially your product’s last-mile- has a considerable influence on your image and the loyalty and spending behavior of your customers. This makes it all the more important to find a good partner who can help you optimize this part of the customer journey.

What factors play a role in selecting a good last-mile partner? And: what role can Packaly play in this?

#1: Sustainability

Urbanization is a worldwide trend; more and more people are moving to the city to live and work there. As a result, the pressure on the already often cramped inner cities continues to increase. This is not only detrimental to accessibility. It also creates extra traffic and, therefore also a considerable amount of CO2 emissions.

Many transporters are already using electric vehicles. But that doesn’t solve the problem of congested streets and speed. A much more sustainable and convenient solution: bicycle couriers. They do not emit CO2 or other harmful gases, they are maximally maneuverable in the tight or jammed streets of inner cities, and they do not cause unnecessary congestion. This makes them a perfect fit for companies that want to do business sustainably.

Last-mile deliveries by bike are good for the environment and do wonders for customer satisfaction. More and more people are aware of their ecological footprint and want to consume more consciously. Fast, emission-free delivery by bicycle is often their preference.

#2: Reliability

You are handing over an important part of the customer journey to a 3rd party. Reliability, therefore, is another essential precondition when looking for a logistics partner for those crucial last miles. After all, the faster you manage to get your order to its destination, the happier your customer will be. The success of your delivery partner directly reflects on your own brand.

Good in this respect to know: Packaly scores very high when it comes to reliability. That’s why customers like Decathlon prefer to work with Packaly, with a delivery success rate of 99.9%.

#3: Flexibility

Ideally, your last-mile partner should be as flexible as possible when it comes to delivery and be able to handle both urgent and ‘normal’ deliveries. 

Packaly responds to this by offering multiple delivery services, 7 days a week. For deliveries that require extra urgency, Packaly offers the so-called Express Delivery. The end customer will receive their order within 120 minutes. In addition, Packaly provides solutions for scheduled deliveries on the same or the next day.

#4: Technology

Last-mile logistics is increasingly leaning on smart technological solutions. Of course, a bicycle in itself is not a new solution. But the logistics behind it are. At Packaly, we use our easy-to-use Delivery Dashboard. The Delivery Dashboard is plug & play: via the dashboard, retailers can quickly and easily schedule a delivery themselves within a few minutes, without any subscription fees. The product is then delivered to the customer within the delivery area precisely on time – if necessary, within an hour.

The sender can follow the route of the package in real-time. A smart algorithm also continuously determines the optimal route for the courier based on current weather and traffic conditions. This way, we always arrive at the most efficient route.

Furthermore, Packaly offers several possibilities for integrations. Shipping is easy via integration with the Packaly API. Packaly can also be linked to widely used e-commerce platforms such as LightspeedPaazlWooCommerceWix, and Shopify.

#5: National stores network

With eCommerce exploding due to the corona crisis and more and more people discovering the convenience of ordering online, companies are looking for ways to make their entire delivery channel as efficient as possible. For some time now, we are seeing a shift from large, regional distribution centers in outlying areas to smaller, local warehouses in or just outside the city for some time now.

In line with this, more and more companies are choosing to use dark-stores or micro-hubs: small-scale stock locations (or brick-and-mortar stores) with a focus on local sales. Such a dark store can be (part of) an existing store outside opening hours or a separate location where stocks from different stores are stored together. 

Dark stores differ from a ‘normal’ warehouse by their location (close to the end customer) and the fact that customers can also pick up or return products themselves. In this way, the dark store holds the middle ground between online and offline sales, making them a great solution for omnichannel retail strategies.

Combined with a local last-mile partner that knows the area well and can get to the heart of the city quickly and easily, local warehouses and dark stores offer the opportunity to serve customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Packaly’s Riders are now active in more than 35 cities in the Netherlands and Belgium. We’re actively working with clients who want to shape their local distribution quickly and efficiently from a store, hub, or dark store.

#6: Costs

In pure kilometers, the last mile may be the shortest part of the entire journey a product takes, but at the same time, it is also by far the most expensive part of your total supply chain. Research by Capgemini shows that last-mile delivery is responsible for an average of 41% of the total supply chain costs. 

All the more reason to look for the most efficient solution for this part of the supply chain in particular. Because before you know it, you will see your margin shrink rapidly. This makes it all the more important to look for a transparent last-mile partner who charges reasonable rates – without hidden costs.

To keep costs as low as possible, Packaly doesn’t charge any subscription fees; as a customer, you only pay for the parcels you send. That way, you always have maximum control over costs, and you’re never faced with unpleasant surprises.

#7: Customer service

In 2021, speed in the delivery process is no longer a luxury but a crucial precondition for commercial success. Therefore, the ideal last-mile partner is, as we have seen – fast, agile, and sustainable. And what if there is a hitch? Then your last-mile partner will resolve any issues quickly and efficiently so that the end customer can still complete the purchasing process with a good feeling.

In that light, it’s good to know that Packaly offers excellent customer service. We’re available 7 days a week from 10 am to 9 pm for all technical and other questions. We’ve also set up a separate enterprise support team that constantly works with you to devise the best delivery strategy for larger customers.

Discover the advantages of a sustainable last mile!

Would you like to experience how Packaly can help you as the reliable and sustainable last-mile partner for ambitious companies? Then contact sales and start shipping soon.