Last-mile tracking involves tracking the movement of a package from the time it is dispatched out of the warehouse till the time it finally reaches the customer’s doorstep. With last-mile tracking, businesses get visibility in their last-leg operations which helps manage customer expectations. When customers get a clear picture of the whereabouts of their package, it enhances customer experience and increases brand loyalty.
E-commerce consumers not only want their favorite products but they also want them delivered quickly and on time. Delivery speed is of paramount importance in this new age of online shopping with customers ready to pay more for same-to-next-day delivery.
Almost 70% of consumers look at order tracking ability as one of the top three considerations they consider while purchasing products online. With rising customer expectations, more and more enterprises are investing in technologies that provide last-mile delivery tracking.
Last-mile delivery tracking can be divided into two categories:
1. Last-mile delivery tracking for consumers: Once customers place their order online they get real-time updates on the location of their product.
2. Tracking for last-mile carriers: Last-mile carrier tracking gives enterprises real-time visibility into their delivery operations.
Last-Mile Tracking for Consumers
Last-mile delivery tracking has several benefits for both the customers and enterprises who are in the business of making deliveries. Consumers get a sense of control over the products they’ve ordered online. Last-mile tracking gives online shoppers complete visibility into their delivery.
Last-mile tracking solutions provide the below-mentioned features to the end consumer:
Last-mile tracking technologies keep customers informed about their packages through text alerts. These alerts usually contain the order number, delivery vehicle, and delivery agent’s phone details. It also provides customers with information on the specific time slot they can expect the delivery agent to bring their order.
Real-time vehicle tracking
At a click of a button, customers can access a map and can pinpoint the location of their delivery vehicle, and get real-time ETAs.
Direct communication with drivers
It provides excellent value addition as consumers are able to directly communicate with the delivery agents assigned to get their orders.
Customers are also provided with a feature where they can rate their delivery experience. This further helps in building customer trust that directly impacts brand loyalty.
What is the Last Mile Carrier?
Last-mile carriers are the shipping logistics companies that transport the packages from the nearest hub to an end customer at a relatively lower cost and less time.
Some of the last mile carrier companies are FedEx, DHL, UPS, USPS, and other local courier companies operating in specific geographies.
These carrier companies always strive to provide delightful experiences to their customers by optimizing the deliveries in the last mile.
Last Mile Tracking for Carriers
Last-mile delivery tracking is often the trickiest and the most expensive aspect of the supply chain. Mistakes in the last-mile experience can severely hurt the brand value and lead to customer loss. With last-mile tracking, carriers get much-needed visibility into their last-leg operations.
Visibility helps businesses become more customer-centric. Last-mile tracking technologies help carriers ensure that the product reaches its destination on time and in proper condition. Last-mile tracking solutions provide the below-mentioned features to the end consumer.
Real-time package tracking
Businesses can track the movement of goods from the time they are loaded onto the truck until the time it safely reaches the customer's doorstep. It enables businesses to have real-time information on the loading and unloading of packages, on the assigned delivery agents, and how near or far these agents are from the package drop location. This can help in getting accurate ETAs and communicating the same to the end consumer.
Proof of delivery
Last-mile technologies enable drivers to collect electronic proof of delivery and verify it through the mobile app, helping delivery managers get real-time updates on the status of the dispatched orders.
Last-mile carrier tracking technologies also provide the ability to analyze data and get valuable consumer insights. Real-time data can be used for predictive analytics that’ll facilitate inventory management. Centralized data dashboards will provide actionable insights that can be used to improve supply chain management.
Overcoming Key Challenges
Robust last-mile technologies can help enterprises overcome these key challenges:
Manage Customer Expectations
A happy customer often is a loyal customer. By providing complete information on the flow of goods from the warehouse to the customer’s home, enterprises can reduce post-purchase anxiety and increase brand value. Last-mile technologies can help managers easily identify any errors that lead to broken delivery experiences. Managers can quickly put their fingers on the problem and rectify the issue.
Last-mile delivery tracking technologies enable enterprises to overcome visibility problems. And with one eye always on customer packages, businesses can efficiently track any route deviations due to traffic hiccups or any other unexpected issues. Tracking technology can help send out updated ETAs to customers and smoothly communicate any delay in deliveries.
Inefficient routing operations and managing costs
With sufficient routing data available via last-mile tracking systems, enterprises can solve issues related to inefficient routing which in turn can help reduce operational costs and bring down the loss of productivity while improving operational efficiency.
Tracking vs. End-to-end Delivery Orchestration
End-to-end delivery orchestration begins with digitizing and process automation that enables enterprises to optimize last-mile delivery management. Last-mile tracking can only happen if enterprises have invested in technologies that facilitate data collection and analysis.
Data is the building block for features like route optimization or rate card management or a control tower that provides operational visibility into total orders, shipment status, delays, and on-time deliveries. Last-mile tracking is a part of end-to-end delivery orchestration.
Last-mile tracking and its impact on organizational costs
Last-mile tracking has a massive impact on reducing organizational costs. Carriers can monitor delivery vehicles and then use the data to optimize routes and reduce fuel costs.
Unsuccessful deliveries not only impact consumer loyalty but also have massive financial implications. Last-mile tracking provides much-needed visibility to enterprises and improves first-attempt delivery rates. Last-mile tracking reduces documentation costs with everything recorded electronically.
Online shoppers have forced enterprises to recalibrate their last-mile operations. It’s not just the products, businesses now have to offer a smooth delivery experience to win the trust and loyalty of the end consumer. Enterprises must invest heavily in last-mile delivery tracking technologies to ensure they provide an awesome experience to the final consumer.
Gone are the days when customers would wait for 2 to 3 days when free delivery was offered. Today, customers are ready to opt for paid delivery if it can happen on the same day. This has turned the deliveries in the last mile very challenging and critical. Carrier providers are required to move faster to tackle these growing demands. Therefore, efficient last-mile carrier tracking is the need of the hour for online retailers and logistics providers.