Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Business models are changing course in the last mile

Nick Thomas
Nick Thomas
Senior Account Executive

According to a recent SOTI survey, a quarter of North American consumers believe the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively impact businesses unable to evolve their last-mile delivery experience.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has impacted the customer experience and its deep connection to successful last-mile delivery orchestration. We don’t have to wait for comprehensive studies five years from now to assess just how much our expectations and experiences have evolved since early 2020. Further, the changes customers have grown accustomed to are here to stay.

Different facets of the last leg of delivery are becoming more prevalent in various industry spaces, including e-commerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses. Here’s what that may mean for your business.

How rising home deliveries are impacting the last mile space

Many people are growing more accustomed to tracking their deliveries from their sofas or office desks, waiting to see if their packages or loads have shipped, where they’re currently located, and how far away they are from their endpoint.

Before we were all confined to our homes, home deliveries were by no means a foreign concept. Yet, the pandemic has dramatically increased what people are willing to order for delivery, along with the frequency of items being delivered to their front doors and how long they’re willing to wait for their packages. As e-commerce and online shopping first began making waves, we were initially willing to accept weeklong shipping times. Now, the increasingly acceptable timeframe is two days or less.  

Along with e-commerce, platforms like rideshare applications are now bleeding into the commercial space. Simply put, our demands are being met with ever-growing speed. Whether we need a ride to the airport from our small-town neighborhood or we want to ship fresh fish from coast to coast, our expectations as customers continue to evolve. This, coupled with the pandemic’s propelling impact on e-commerce, will influence our behaviors in the aftermath of the pandemic and far beyond. Retailers that have pivoted their business models will have to abide by the new sets of expectations we’re holding dear.

The tie between DTC priorities and last-mile delivery

With demand for home deliveries rising, more over-the-road companies are entering the last mile space. This sector expansion will result in additional volume and couriers establishing themselves as Amazon delivery partners or competitors.

The supply chain process has traditionally included four distinct players: the supplier, producer, distributor, and consumer. DTC combines all these key players under one umbrella, with the exception of the consumer. DTC businesses gather the supplies, produce the items, and distribute them. In the grand scheme, many companies find this to be a promising and profitable approach. While long-term industry impact remains to be seen, many retailers are juggling between deciding if they will develop their own last-mile fleet to deliver their products versus relying on dedicated haulers or couriers. Fleets can remain prepared for changes, like DTC expansion, in the last-mile space with enhanced fleet technology.

Trust your technology in place

In the last mile, the golden trifecta of technology is route optimization, route execution, and proactive alert messaging. We have a holistic platform that utilizes the same algorithm across route optimization, route execution, navigation, and proactive customer notifications and alerts. Through this single source of truth, customers have greater visibility into their order lifecycle. Additionally, tracking these routes as they’re happening in real time enables teams to make up-to-the-minute changes along driver routes.

In the DTC and home-delivery space, customer experience is everything. Measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) around vital metrics, such as time-window performance, can help your teams swiftly make necessary changes to day-to-day operations. KPIs are made possible with the connected data from the single source of truth from enhanced solutions. With this data, you can view and measure your KPIs and grade your business model. How timely and efficiently last-mile professionals can deliver to customers are liable metrics that indicate how well your business is performing. With robust solutions, reliable KPIs, and a flexible business mentality in the last mile, you’re well on your way to furthering business success.

Discover the last-mile solutions that will help you leave a lasting impression on your customers!