6 minute read

What Is Last-Mile Technology? 7 Ways It’s Improving Delivery

Explore last-mile technology in delivery. Dive into its definition, brands harnessing its potential, and how it’s revolutionizing the delivery experience.

last-mile-delivery-technology

Use Circuit for Teams to improve your last-mile delivery services and save time and money in the process.

In case you haven’t heard, online shopping is kind of a thing now. The eCommerce industry in the United States is projected to be worth around $925 billion by the end of 2023. 

As eCommerce continues to grow in popularity, so does the importance of delivery services and last-mile technology. Last-mile delivery refers to the last step in the delivery process before the customer gets their items. 

Efficient last-mile delivery is important if you’re going to meet customer expectations in the modern era. After all, if customers can’t get their items quickly and without damage, they won’t hesitate to look for another retailer.

This article explains the different ways last-mile technology is improving delivery services. We’ll talk specifically about the transformative power of technology in refining and redefining this crucial segment of the supply chain.

We’re doing this because we want to make your life easier while also saving you time and money. We’re on your team, and we think this approach could be helpful. 

Key takeaways

  • As the eCommerce industry continues to expand, last-mile delivery technology can help companies keep up with the increased demand. 
  • Last-mile delivery technology uses features such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning to optimize final-mile delivery.
  • Using last-mile delivery software can help you reduce failed deliveries, increase customer satisfaction, and plan for the unexpected. 
  • Large eCommerce companies like Amazon, Uber Eats, and Walmart have already incorporated last-mile delivery technology into their work.
Circuit for Teams is a simple software for optimizing routes with multiple drivers. Click here to start your free 14-day trial.

What is last-mile technology?

Last-mile is the final step in the delivery logistics process. It’s when the items move from a warehouse or distribution center to the customer’s doorstep or place of business. 

Usually, it involves delivery drivers transporting packages or shipments directly to customers. When used effectively, it can bridge the gap between your internal logistics operations and a high-level customer experience that keeps them coming back.

In today’s world, technology can make or break the success of your last-mile delivery efforts, especially given the recent boom in eCommerce and online shopping. We’ll spend the rest of the article talking about how you can use technology to your advantage in your delivery operations.

last mile delivery tech

Key technologies fueling last-mile delivery

We explain some of the key technologies driving the last-mile delivery process.

  • Internet of Things (IoT) for real-time monitoring. IoT tools can collect and analyze data in real time. They help with last-mile delivery by giving you a comprehensive understanding of your current level of effectiveness.
  • Machine learning for route optimization. Machine learning facilitates real-time route optimization by taking into account factors such as distance, traffic, and weather.
  • Autonomous vehicles. Many companies are testing or implementing the use of self-driving cars for autonomous delivery. When used effectively, autonomous vehicles cut down labor costs and free up workers for other tasks. 
  • Last-mile delivery software. Last-mile delivery software such as Circuit for Teams improves delivery accuracy, reduces failed deliveries, and provides real-time tracking and estimated times of arrival (ETAs) for customers.

How last-mile technology improves delivery

Today, the growing popularity of online shopping has changed what customers expect from deliveries. We all want to get our orders quickly and accurately without experiencing any hiccups or delays. 

Even when you don’t see it happening, last-mile delivery is what makes this process run smoothly and efficiently. In the next few sections, we’ll talk about some of the most important ways that last-mile delivery can help customers and businesses. 

Reduced delivery times 

Last-mile technology shaves delivery times and offers faster delivery through route optimization and predictive algorithms.

Many technology solutions only ask you to input a list of delivery stops to quickly produce a fully optimized delivery route. This automation can lower costs and save you several hours each month since you’ll no longer have to spend time designing delivery routes yourself.

Once you begin optimizing routes automatically, your drivers should spend less time figuring out what routes to drive and more time driving routes that have already been optimized for success. 

Increased customer satisfaction 

Customers love the real-time tracking and precise ETAs that last-mile technology can offer. They won’t have to wonder when their package might arrive or whether their items are running late. 

Route optimization can also improve customer satisfaction because customers are less likely to experience late or delayed deliveries. 

As they experience these benefits in real time, they may develop greater trust and brand loyalty that’s likely to result in future business and positive referrals. 

Cost-efficiency gains 

Implementing last-mile delivery technology can save you money in the long run while also providing a better delivery experience for everyone involved. 

Drivers will spend less time on the road when they are driving optimized routes, meaning that you’ll spend less money on fuel and maintenance costs.

In addition, you’ll have fewer failed deliveries, meaning you won’t need to spend as much on unnecessary extra delivery attempts or additional labor costs.

As drivers get closer to arriving at customers’ homes or businesses, last-mile delivery software can send dynamic notifications to make sure someone is available to sign for the package.

Who doesn’t want a more cost-effective delivery experience that also meets or exceeds consumer expectations? 

Enhanced sustainability 

Improving last-mile delivery can have a positive effect on the environment. You can reduce carbon emissions when your drivers aren’t spending as much time on the road. 

You may also choose to use electric or hybrid delivery vehicles as another way to have a more positive environmental impact. These cars emit less gas than traditional vehicles and reduce energy consumption.

Scalability for businesses 

It doesn’t look like the growth of eCommerce will slow down anytime soon. This means that scalability should be a top priority for your delivery business.

Last-mile delivery technology can help. As you improve your operations, you’ll be able to successfully increase your capacity without investing large amounts of money in additional labor or resources. 

You’ll automate tasks such as route optimization, which will also allow you to make more deliveries in less time.

Scalability doesn’t just help your business stay afloat. It also helps you grow your business, which means more profitability and security for everyone involved. It’s a win-win. 

Improved accuracy and reliability 

By implementing last-mile delivery technology, you’ll minimize errors and make sure that items always reach the right location. 

Your system will provide real-time delivery notifications to customers and ensure they know when they should be available to sign for packages. As a result, you’ll spend less time working backward to address failed deliveries or help upset customers

When your percentage of accurate and precise deliveries goes up, you’ll garner more customer trust and loyalty for your brand. I don’t know how you feel, but this sure sounds nice to us.

Adaptability in changing environments 

You never know when an unexpected storm, a spike in order volume, or a traffic jam might force you to change your delivery plans. It’s a pain, isn’t it?
Thankfully, last-mile delivery technology can help you adapt to each of these situations so that your delivery services remain uninterrupted. Software like Circuit for Teams is built to respond to dynamic factors, updating routes in real time to make sure these factors are taken into consideration.  

You’ll keep order fulfillment within the desired time frame, even in the face of obstacles, regardless of whether you’re serving rural areas or urban areas. 

brands with last mile delivery strategy

4 examples of brands using last-mile technology

Let’s look at some popular brands that are using last-mile delivery technology to grow their businesses and keep their customers happy:

  • Amazon. You may have heard that Amazon is using drones for deliveries in certain areas to expedite deliveries. Perhaps you’ve also seen Amazon Lockers in public places, which represent centralized drop-off points that customers can visit to get their items faster. Finally, the company has incorporated a crowdsourced delivery model called Amazon Flex to allow individuals to use their own vehicles to complete deliveries.
  • FedEx. FedEx currently uses route optimization software to improve the efficiency of its deliveries. Despite the uptick in eCommerce shipments during the pandemic, FedEx was able to keep customers happy thanks to its route optimization software. 
  • Uber Eats. Customers can see live maps of their order’s location, making it possible for them to know when their food should arrive at their door. The company also uses machine learning to predict order prep times and optimize drivers’ routes.
  • Domino’s. Domino’s is currently testing self-driving cars for deliveries. They are also using GPS tracking to enable customers to follow their pizzas in real time. 

Improve last-mile logistics with delivery software

The logistics industry should continue to transform and evolve with the growth of technology. However, one thing is certain — retailers and logistics companies can always benefit from looking for ways to optimize the last leg of their delivery process.

Circuit for Teams can help you take your last-mile delivery to the next level. Our software can optimize many of the features you’ve read about here. 

Our software allows for real-time delivery optimization to make sure your drivers never spend more time on the road than necessary. You can also provide real-time ETAs and delivery updates to customers so they know exactly when to expect their packages. 

Since we ask for proof of delivery in the app, you’ll cut down on your number of failed home deliveries and eliminate the amount of time you spend backtracking or solving issues.
Give Circuit for Teams a try today, and you could save up to 20% on your in-house delivery costs!

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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Logistics map interface showing the New York afternoon delivery run with route lines and list of addresses