The last-mile carrier company helps a business focus on its other core processes and alleviate its concerns about delivery management. The following guide discusses all you need to know about last-mile tracking and its working, its benefits for customers, its commercial benefits, the process of last-mile tracking for carriers, and more. So, let’s get started.
What is Last-mile Carrier Tracking?
The last-mile carrier tracking tracks and reports on the last leg of the delivery process. It aims to complete these processes as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
To understand last-mile carrier tracking in detail, you first need to understand what last-mile delivery is. It is transporting goods from a transportation warehouse or hub to their last destination. Usually, the last destination is the customer’s private residence. The last-mile delivery process’ key objective is to deliver items to the customers as rapidly as possible while alleviating expenses incurred by the business.
Customers and businesses are the key to making the last-mile carrier tracking process reliable. Nevertheless, the process is more customer-focused.
The definition of last-mile carrier tracking states that it is a process that takes place when a customer (and business) can track the progress and location of an order from the moment the customer places the order until its final delivery. In other words, last-mile carrier tracking is how a business administers and follows its delivery procedure to completion.
It also mentions the status of the goods depending on their location in the delivery journey. For example, it specifies whether your ordered goods are at a sorting hub, dispatched for shipping, on the route, etc. Using real-time, precise, and transparent communication regarding the order, the last-mile carrier tracking benefits end customers with peace of mind and convenience.
A powerful last-mile tracking solution can make or break the customer experience. Considering the flourishing e-commerce industry, last-mile carrier tracking is crucial for companies that aim to offer a superlative customer experience.
What is the last-mile carrier?
The last-mile carrier is a business or company that serves a business with last-mile delivery management services. It owns an assortment of resources and vehicles to efficiently handle the supply chain’s last leg processes.
Alternate names of the last-mile carrier are last-mile delivery providers, last-mile delivery companies, and last-mile courier companies.
Businesses hire last-mile carrier companies when:
- They lack enough in-house resources and infrastructure.
- They want to enlarge their geographical reach or when they scale.
Last-mile Tracking for Customers
Last-mile delivery tracking is the information the customer receives about the order status, specifically when the shipper processes the order in real-time. Customers expect enhanced control of their deliveries. So, offering last-mile delivery tracking is crucial to provide an outstanding and satisfying delivery experience.
Last-mile tracking is beneficial for customers in the following ways.
SMS alerts when a delivery is on its way
Suppose customers placed their order, but how do they know whether their order is dispatched or has reached the delivery journey’s final stage? With SMS alerts and email notifications, the last-mile carrier company helps customers know when to expect their delivery. The alerts and notifications can include the link to the customer tracking portal. It helps customers to keep track of their orders in real time.
Ability to communicate directly with the driver
If the last-mile carrier company aims to offer an efficient and smooth delivery experience, its customers must be able to communicate directly with the delivery staff and vice versa. Customers can assist the drivers in navigating obstacles like parking directions, gate access codes, delivery instructions, etc. Furthermore, the appointed drivers can approach the customers if they face difficulties or want to guarantee their availability during delivery.
The last-mile tracking should deploy a system that allows customers and delivery staff to communicate with each other. The communication can be via phone call or the press of a button in the corresponding app. However, this may not be practicable in all cases. In those cases, communication via text messages must be enough.
Real-time tracking on a map via a mobile phone
Customers are keen and anxious to get their packages. So, they end up frequently checking the delivery progress. Real-time tracking on an easily understandable map is no more a luxury but a necessity. Whether your business deals with food delivery, ride-hailing, grocery delivery, etc., your customer’s expectations are the same.
Ability to rate the experience
Customers expect their experiences to be rated and share their feedback. In other words, they want to convey their experience to the company. The ability to rate the customer experience can be an extremely useful resource of information to help the last-mile tracking company understand customer viewpoints and know what improvements they expect.
The last-mile tracking company asks the customer to share their feedback and thoughts on the order delivery process after the completion of delivery. If the last-mile tracking company attends the legitimate feedback and works on it, they can enhance their delivery efficiency and facilitate customer loyalty. The ability to effectively address customers’ issues can lead to returning customers.
Last-mile Tracking for Carriers
The last-mile tracking is incomplete without the following aspects.
Tracking packages once they are loaded onto trucks
With the real-time order tracking service from the last-mile carrier company, customers can get predictive ETAs (estimated time of arrival) and automatic alerts (when unforeseen delays occur). Customers stay informed through regular notifications throughout the delivery process. This assures that their package is soon to reach them.
Real-time tracking of orders and vehicles
Informing customers about the location of their package is not only beneficial for customers. It also benefits the customer support team to develop innovative business strategies. Certain customers might not be tech-savvy or want to discuss their queries over the phone.
Providing a live-route dashboard significantly benefits the last-mile carrier company’s staff. Moreover, if the customer support staff can log in and quickly provide the customers with a real-time ETA for delivery if they have read-write access. The corresponding dashboard accurately mentions the order status and location of vehicles in the transit process.
Real-time tracking of orders and vehicles makes sure the support staff need not directly contact the driver. So drivers would not be distracted while driving. The success of the last-mile carrier company depends on the satisfaction of its staff, driver, and customers.
Proof of delivery
The proof of delivery offers customers peace of mind when they can’t personally receive the package during delivery. It plays a prominent role in the e-commerce industry. It has got wider prevalence with the increasing adoption of ‘porch piracy’ wherein customers’ packages may get stolen from their doorsteps.
The last-mile tracking companies must integrate a proof-of-delivery potential into their last-mile tracking available for customers and drivers. This confirms the package delivery as well as order fulfilment.
Documents included in the proof of delivery can be signatures, photographs, notes, barcodes, and more. Before offering proof of delivery, the last-mile tracking companies should take customer inputs, including information like the package destination. Moreover, the proof of delivery must include a photo of the package in the agreed location.
Contactless delivery allows delivery completion without direct contact between the end customers and the driver.
Providing contactless delivery suggests that if customers are not physically available to receive their order, the package can still be delivered. It decreases expenses. Moreover, it boosts efficiency by allowing the last-mile carrier companies to considerably decrease their failed delivery attempt rate.
Understanding customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is pivotal for the success of last-mile delivery companies. They should view and assess key performance metrics like feedback scores, success rates, distance traveled, etc. To effectively ensure customer satisfaction, these companies can segment data by hour of the day, week, drivers, and teams. Subsequently, the companies can export the data for reporting or sharing. They can use the data to modify their last-mile delivery process when they need it.
Understanding customer satisfaction encourages these companies to continually provide reliable and effective last-mile delivery service.
The Importance of Effective Last-mile Tracking to the Customer Experience
From the discussion above, it’s evident that customers receive updates on their orders. If they do not receive updates, they can’t reliably track their order and will ultimately approach another last-mile tracking company. The following points justify the importance of efficient last-mile tracking.
The last-mile tracking can be challenging because several factors affect the outcome. These factors include adverse weather conditions, closed roads, traffic jams, technology botches, etc. All these factors can negatively affect the delivery process. Therefore, it is vital to track through real-time ETA.
The last-mile tracking companies provide SMS alerts and other notifications, including a live tracking link. This link allows these companies to oversee any changes when they occur. Real-time ETA uses event-triggered messages to keep customers informed and manage their expectations.
User-friendly delivery tracking
Last-mile delivery tracking helps customers easily find their order details. The user-friendly interface familiarizes them with access to all the latest information on their order tracking in one place. Hence, customers get peace of mind about their orders’ location in the transit process. They don’t have to frequently call in for updates. The user-friendly interface of the last-mile delivery solutions makes the customer experience seamless.
Real-time driver communication
Tracking information facilitates communication between the delivery driver and the consumer. If a delay occurs, customers can mention their alternative delivery option. For instance, in the event of a delay, some customers prefer that the carrier leaves the package with their neighbors, and some other customers would prefer to convey their packages to a safe place. Allowing real-time driver communication guarantees that last-mile delivery happens considering the customers’ expectations.
How Does Last-mile Carrier Tracking Work?
Most last-mile carrier companies use last-mile delivery apps or last-mile delivery software to handle final-leg delivery tasks. The last-mile delivery solutions support features like real-time tracking, driver & vehicle selection, automatic order sharing, route optimization, and more. When an e-commerce seller receives an order, the last-mile logistics software automatically starts its pick-up and delivery procedure by notifying the driver.
After the pick-up is successful, the driver continues to complete the delivery process. Both the managers and end customers can track orders in real-time. After the delivery concludes, the software or app depicts the order’s current status. But if the delivery is incomplete, the e-commerce seller receives the notification and the delivery failure reason.
How Can Retailers Implement Last-mile Delivery Tracking in Their Business?
The e-commerce marketplace continues growing, so retailers are redefining their delivery processes and inventing ways to execute efficient last-mile delivery processes. The following solutions help retailers effectively implement last-mile delivery tracking.
Choose the right Operations Experience Management platform
Managing a customer-focused last-mile experience is challenging for retailers, specifically when managing various other contact points. Retailers can’t expand their business if they manage all operations in-house. Thus, we recommend getting external assistance by choosing a suitable third-party logistics company or operations experience management platform.
Proactively communicate with customers
The update is crucial when it comes to listing mile delivery and tracking. Without communication, customers can get real-time updates on their orders. Consequently, they end up dissatisfied and with bad experiences. Instead of keeping customers waiting for retailers to solve their queries on order status and delivery speed, the retailers must proactively keep them informed of everything about their orders. They can do these by using a website tracking hub or SMS updates.
The demand for last-mile delivery can increase during peak sales or the holiday season. In such scenarios, it can lead to scalability issues. Retailers can crowdsource drivers and fleets to mitigate demand fluctuations and guarantee flawless service.
A crowdsourced delivery model connects retailers and customers with local couriers driving their vehicles. The flexibility of this model minimizes costs and lets customers schedule deliveries depending on their availability. This reduces the odds of failed deliveries.
Retailers must deploy storage warehouses in regions with many customers. Mostly, it implies setting up huge storage warehouses in urban areas where businesses can fulfill quick delivery expectations (like same-day or next-day delivery).
Alternatively, retailers can use smaller locations for storing smaller quantities of their best-selling inventory. This accelerates delivery time. Rather than adding more warehouses nearby, e-commerce retailers can transform parts of their stores into fulfillment centers for accomplishing online delivery orders. This approach helps them save costs significantly.
Retailers must use the shortest and most economical route for last-mile order deliveries. Implementing technologies like ML and AI can help them supervise road conditions, update the driver in real-time, and automatically list routes. Recommending the optimum route can avoid re-routing, reduce delays, and enhance the efficiency of the last-mile order fulfillment process. A full truckload (FTL) model can optimize mileage costs and fuel consumption.
Last-mile tracking accelerates delivery and tracking operations to fulfill customers’ expectations. It helps e-commerce businesses work more efficiently and thereby increase their profit margins. Last-mile carrier tracking is a crucial element in the post-purchase experience that solves delivery anxieties among customers and benefits them with a smooth delivery experience. Creating customer-focused delivery and tracking strategies that prioritize communication and real-time updates leave a favorable impression of the e-commerce retailers among customers.
How long does the last-mile carrier take to deliver?
The time last-mile carriers take to deliver a package depends on the final destination and the shipment type. Usually, the total last-mile delivery time varies from eight to ten days for economy services. You can receive the product on the same day or within two days when using premium delivery.
How can last-mile delivery benefit your business?
The last-mile delivery can benefit your business in the following ways.
i. Order flexibility:
Occasionally, things don’t go as per the plan for the last-mile delivery drivers. The ability to adjust the plans if needed provides great flexibility. For example, a customer may not be available at home to pick up the package or leave a message to the delivery driver to dispatch the item to a secure location. So, the last-mile delivery tracker must be flexible to make these last-minute changes. This flexibility helps them handle more successful last-mile deliveries in the future.
ii. Efficient order management:
Disruptions and delays are bound to happen in the last-mile delivery process. For example, traffic, road-site construction, vehicle failure, poor weather conditions, etc., can lead to delays. In such scenarios, last-mile delivery tracking helps customers stay informed about the delay. So, it improves customer experience and enhances order management.
iii. No intervention of the customer service team:
Relying on a trustworthy last-mile delivery tracking service keeps customers informed about their order status. The customers need not contact customer support.
What does the last-mile mean in shipping?
In shipping, the last-mile is conveying goods from a distribution center or warehouse to the final destination. It is usually the customer’s home for B2C deliveries. On the other hand, it can be an office, restaurant, or construction site for B2B deliveries. In both cases, the last-mile delivery service has to handle the fundamental inadequacies of making a massive number of drop-offs.
What are the different Last-mile carrier models?
Last-mile logistics companies adopt various models based on the services they offer.
i. Parcel carriers: It handles the delivery of smaller goods or parcels.
ii. White glove carriers: It provides logistics services for goods like frozen foods, electronics, jewelry, large appliances, and the like that need special handling.
iii. LTL carriers: It provides shared trucking capacity services for order deliveries. It is impeccable for low-volume shippers.
iv. FTL carriers: It transports huge amounts of freight to a single location. Generally, it is appropriate for high-volume shippers.
What are the emerging trends and the future of last-mile tracking?
Shipments will continue becoming faster, and the focus will be to continually streamline the last-mile experience. Flexibility, personalization, and communication will be the key metrics that define customers’ expectations about the last-mile experience. Achieving reliability, speed, and delivery transparency needs innovative thinking to centralize the last-mile tracking experience.