There has never been a better time to be a consumer. As technology has advanced, brands and retailers are now achieving unprecedented levels of convenience and ease for shoppers. This holiday season, e-commerce sales rose nearly 20% from the previous 2018 season.
Partly driving this shift is the consumer embrace of next-day and same-day delivery. Nowadays, a fleet’s ability to reduce the amount of time from the moment an order is placed to arrival at the door is paramount for success. This stage of the supply chain, known as last mile, is particularly top of mind for fleet managers and drivers with 2020 just on the horizon. Consumer expectations have never been higher. As these minimal delivery times become the standard, fleets are keen on staying ahead of the latest trends in last mile to deliver exceptional customer service.
Closing out our 2020 predictions series, here are a few of our top last-mile forecasts for the coming year:
- The gig economy will play an even bigger role. Freelancers, contractors, and other part-time employees are fundamentally reshaping the nature of work. For freight, this means even greater flexibility in achieving quick deliveries, especially in urban areas where traffic is more highly condensed. If 2019 was the year where bikes, scooters, and drones emerged onto the scene, 2020 may likely be the year that gig workers master these tools to drill last mile to an even more precise science.
- Autonomous delivery will advance, but it won’t dominate. One of the top predictions from Omnitracs’ Chief Data Scientist Dr. Ashim Bose is that we’re still a few years away from achieving true autonomous vehicles – which, when developed, will have a massive impact on last mile and freight. That said, we do anticipate a number of new advancements and technologies that will bring us a step closer to short-range autonomous delivery. Among them is great computational capacity through machine learning, which will help fleets more accurately project traffic patterns and analyze that data effectively.
- Competition will lead to unlikely partnerships and innovation. As brands and retailers vie for consumer attention, more and more businesses are looking for new ways to surprise and delight through innovation. Within last mile, we anticipate a further growth of unique partnerships to deliver new value to customers through freight. Whether that means discounts or personalized experiences, fleets will be a key component in raising the bar for consumer needs.