What is Last Mile Delivery and How Does it Work?

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Simply put, last mile delivery is defined as the last part of the journey of goods from a warehouse, or some other transportation hub, to their final destination. More often than not, that is your doorstep.

Last mile delivery is a vital link in the logistics chain, it’s the most consumer visible, it’s often the most demanding and it’s the costliest. In fact, 53% of the delivery cost is incurred in the last mile.

Despite what you would presume the term means, the last mile is typically a journey of around 30 miles or so.

How does Last Mile Delivery Work?

A quick step by step guide to last mile delivery:

  • Orders are placed into a centralised system for tracking purposes.
  • Goods arrive at a warehouse or transportation hub.
  • Drivers are assigned deliveries based on route efficiency.
  • Packages are scanned and loaded onto vehicles.
  • Proof of delivery is obtained upon end-user receipt of package.

last mile delivery complete

The Challenges

Let’s go through some of the challenges the logistics sector faces with last mile delivery…

The Ecommerce Boom

Did you know 85% of Australians expect a package to be delivered in three days? It’s safe to say that it’s a similar story in countries where the boom has become an explosion of home delivery. From two-hour ketchup delivery through Prime, to white vans stuffed to the gills with products making their final trip.

In fact, 24% of all retail sales worldwide will soon be completed in ecommerce transactions.

That’s a lot of demand to keep up with.

happy delivery

Customers’ Great Expectations

Delayed, or incomplete, deliveries are nightmare fuel for sellers and drivers. All the costs are absorbed back into the business through refunds and returns to avoid damaging customer experience.

According to a Descartes Systems Group survey 75% of consumers have had delivery problems when shopping online.

Clear the Air

Clean Air Zones (of which ULEZ is one) are springing up all over the country. One of the most recent being implemented in Newcastle in January 2023. They are designed to clear the air for pedestrians and residents as air pollution is thought to be responsible for many forms of illness.

Yet, with the shift to an ecommerce society, heavily weighed against customer expectations CAZs or ULEZs can make things interesting for last mile delivery.

Lorries over 3.5 tonnes that do not meet Euro 6 Standard for emissions are charged £100 a day in ULEZs. Vans are charged £12.50 a day, depending on if they meet Euro 6 for diesel emissions or Euro 4 for petrol.

Throw in a cost-of-living crisis and that’s a lot of extra expense to cover.

emissions above the clouds

The Solutions for Last Mile Delivery

Focusing efforts on last mile delivery will make you stand out from the competition and grow your business.

Your logistics operations need to meet customers’ expectations as their demands are not changing. The jack is well and truly out of the box on that front.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and cargo bikes can diversify and future proof your business and open up the opportunity for you to make critical deliveries in a CAZ.

There are schemes and incentives for small businesses to purchase EVs and have charge points fitted to applicable businesses.

Allott and Associates is a specialist B2B PR and Marketing agency with expertise in niche sectors such as logistics.

  • We have turned an unheard-of company, SmartFreight, into an international freight labelling behemoth with our email marketing campaigns and content creation.
  • We ensure our clients are in front of key stakeholders and decision makers through our trade show marketing for exhibitors.
  • Lastly, we have run social media campaigns for logistics companies that have garnered hundreds of views and very impressive click through rates.

So come and join us, and we will help you along your marketing journey.