How Last Mile Delivery is Evolving and How Retailers are Adapting

scanning a package for last mile delivery

The spread of the pandemic has dramatically changed the way shoppers purchase goods. While there was already an increase in online shopping prior to the pandemic, that has jumped to record numbers amid shutdowns. Customers have grown accustomed to the convenience of receiving their products straight to their door. An Oracle survey reported that not only did the pandemic accelerate online shopping trends, it has made them permanent. From big-box retailers such as Walmart to e-commerce giants like to small local businesses, all are struggling to manage that critical “last mile” in the purchasing chain.

While consumers like contactless delivery and will expect it post-pandemic, they balk at delivery fees, resent having to wait at designated window times, and worry about packages arriving safely. New technology that incorporates the latest in Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and mobile apps can give retailers a competitive edge in reining in delivery costs and keeping customers happy.

Amazon created options that include its Key program, which gives delivery personnel access to customers’ garages (and home and car trunk, post-COVID). It has also installed locker locations in more than 900 cities across the country. These efforts are in part to address the fact that more than a third of Americans report items being stolen by “porch pirates” and unattended items being vulnerable to the elements. Extreme heat or cold can destroy valuable cosmetics, medicine, food and a wide variety of other goods.

To secure unattended packages, lessen the chances of theft and weather the elements, a temperature-controlled lock box that combines custom hardware and software seems like the most comprehensive solution. Several companies are racing to fill this need with boxes that retailers and consumers can unlock with a mobile app as a way to ensure loyalty.

Products like Porch Pod provide insulated lock boxes that scan a code from the package to give the delivery person access and a mobile app for consumers to open it. DynoSafe also provides the temperature control needed to ensure food safety and protect fragile orders such as medications. For both of these solutions, the combination of IoT-enabled hardware with a mobile app gives consumers the ability to accept deliveries remotely and in a safe, contactless way.

Consumers have forever adapted to online shopping, and retailers need to elevate their game to assure that what the customer buys gets to them safely and quickly. Last-mile delivery solutions are imperative to retailers’ very survival and can ensure continual growth in the years to come.

Source: Total Retail