2021 Last Mile Delivery Trends
Many industries were forced to rapidly adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the logistics industry. As a result, many companies have begun to reevaluate their business models. Four last mile delivery trends likely to persist in 2021 are contactless delivery, real-time order tracking, delivery speed, and micro-warehousing.
- Contactless Delivery
- One of the most prominent trends that arose due to COVID-19 –and likely here to stay-- is the increase of contactless deliveries. Curbside pickups and the use of technologies such as e-POD (electronic proof of delivery) have allowed contactless deliveries to thrive during the pandemic, as it became imperative to limit person to person contact and prioritize safety. Contactless delivery is likely to continue, allowing customers to still receive deliveries even once the reliance on telework has subsided and consumers return to the workplace.
- Real-time Order Tracking
- Tracking and traceability of orders has improved significantly. Various technological advancements, including location intelligence (LI) and geofencing, allow customers to receive real-time updates regarding their orders. Keeping customers informed with transparent order tracking is imperative for customer retention.
- Rapid Deliveries
- Online shopping grew exponentially this year, as COVID-19 resulted in mandatory stay-at-home orders and the temporary halt of in-store shopping for many businesses. Consumers began to online shop for household essentials that they would normally purchase in-store – such as grocery items, cleaning products, toiletries, etc. This online dependency for basic needs resulted in expectations for faster and more efficient deliveries. Companies have implemented the use of dynamic route optimization software in order to meet customer demands for accelerated deliveries.
- Micro Warehousing
- The spike in online shopping and subsequent demand/expectation for faster deliveries has resulted in the need for micro-warehousing. This additional and temporary warehouse space closer to customer location facilitates more efficient and faster deliveries. The spread of such order-fulfillment centers in strategic locations can also serve as a solution to parking-related issues, allowing deliveries to be made on foot depending on how close the warehouse space is in relation to the delivery address (especially pertinent in areas such as extremely urbanized locations).