Small Business

Last mile delivery and the growth of creative solutions amongst retailers

Last mile delivery refers to that last leg of getting the product to the consumer, and e-commerce has changed the face of this forever. There are many ways that both e-commerce and bricks and mortar retailers are trying to minimise the cost of the last mile, without passing that cost onto the consumer. The problem with the last mile is that it’s the most expensive bit to fulfill. So what are the latest solutions?

Innovative solutions

Companies such as Amazon are coming up with some seriously innovative solutions, such as the use of drones. Whether this will ‘take off’ is hotly debated as there are numerous issues with the use of drones.

Click and collect

Click and Collect eliminates the need for the last mile by encouraging the customer to collect from the store. With the goods usually already in store, it’s a simple solution. Retailers can incentivise click and collect by offering it for free. There are many ways that both e-commerce and bricks and mortar retailers are trying to minimise the cost of the last mile, without passing that cost onto the consumer. The problem with the last mile is that it’s the most expensive bit to fulfill.

Employee drop-offs

This is being road-tested in some Walmart stores in the US, where the store itself is a distribution centre, but instead of using parcel delivery firms to drop the products off, staff are doing it on their way home for extra pay. If this works it could revolutionise last mile delivery. Staff are already in place and parcels can be prepared during the day, staff can select which to drop off depending on where they live and can enjoy extra pay as a result. When using the store as a distribution centre, retailers may need to consider increasing their storage space as many products will remain ‘out back’, never even making it to the shelves. Click and Collect eliminates the need for the last mile by encouraging the customer to collect from the store. With the goods usually already in store, it’s a simple solution. Retailers can incentivise click and collect by offering it for free. This may require purchasing new shelving and those looking for the most competitive residential shelving Ireland has to offer should head to suppliers such as rackzone.ie/shelving/industrial-residential-shelving.


Urban lockers

You may have seen these ‘lockers’ pop up in your area. The idea behind these is that a delivery driver needs only do one drop-off in a certain area and customers can collect at a time that suits them. This can be cheaper than house deliveries and actually more convenient for the customers.

Although we may not see drones for while, we are likely to see various other innovative tweaks to last mile delivery.

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