1. Introduction to Last-Mile Delivery Companies and Startups in Ecommerce
Online commerce has changed the way people shop forever and the major force behind making the eCommerce revolution a reality has been last-mile delivery companies. The ever-evolving ecosystem of eCommerce with the introduction of Amazon Prime’s Same Day delivery service has skyrocketed customer expectations. In the light of growing customer demands in terms of faster, same day, next day, and on-demand delivery, last mile delivery companies have geared up to help eCommerce businesses in meeting customer demands.
Last-mile delivery is the costliest part of eCommerce shipping operations and is also fraught with a lot of difficulties and challenges. The main roadblocks to ensuring a smooth last-mile delivery experience are failed deliveries or delivery exceptions, delayed orders, lack of proper order tracking mechanism, etc. All of these pain points make last-mile delivery a problematic aspect of eCommerce shipping. Customer satisfaction and customer retention are every online business’s goals. Therefore, it’s crucial that e-commerce enterprises do their very best to enhance customer satisfaction by streamlining their last-mile delivery operations.
In this article, we are going to list the top 10 last mile delivery companies that provide shipping services to eCommerce customers. We will also take a detailed look at what last-mile delivery means, what challenges it faces, and whether or not picking a last-mile delivery company is right for your business. Let’s start!
2. What is Last-Mile Delivery in eCommerce Shipping?
Last-mile delivery or final mile delivery, as the name suggests, is the final leg of the shipping process. The forward logistics or the forward journey of a product from a warehouse or seller to the customer is divided into three logistics phases - the first mile, the middle mile, and the last mile. Last-mile delivery begins the moment an order is picked up from the hub of the destination city and ends with the order being delivered to the customer. The last mile delivery is carried out by a delivery or carrier agent who picks up the order and carries it in a delivery vehicle to the customer.
3. Top 10 Last Mile Delivery Companies and Startups for Online Business [Updated List 2021]
There are too many logistics and courier companies that provide last mile delivery services to eCommerce companies. We have decided to shortlist the industry-leading last-mile delivery companies & startups so that it’s easier for you to pick one that suits your needs.
FedEx needs no introduction in the field of e-commerce logistics and supply chain management. FedEx is one of the largest eCommerce shipping giants with a vast network of warehouses and carrier vehicles across the globe. In 2020, FedEx doubled up as the last mile delivery company by opening up last mile delivery solutions for eCommerce companies.
ClickPost is an intelligent logistics SaaS platform that automates last-mile delivery shipping processes for eCommerce stores. ClickPost comes pre-integrated with 150+ carriers so that your orders can reach anywhere across the globe. It offers warehouse management, inventory management, and shipment tracking for online businesses. Like a last-mile delivery company, it sends order updates to customers and gets feedback from customers after the completion of the order fulfillment process.
USPS (United States Postal Service) is the official government-led postal service system of the United States. It offers last-mile delivery solutions to eCommerce businesses at extremely reasonable rates. It works through its massive connection of post offices across the country and also makes doorstep deliveries. Even FedEx and UPS make use of USPS’s amazing supply and delivery network to provide last-mile deliveries for their customers.
United Parcel Service is a logistics and parcel delivery company that can also be called a last-mile delivery company because of the solutions it provides to online retailers in managing last-mile delivery woes. UPS is operational all through the US and in several other locations in the world. It manages large warehouses and specialized delivery fleets that can carry orders across land, sea, and water. UPS SurePost came into being to deliver last-mile delivery solutions to customers with the help of USPS’s vast postal infrastructure. However, the company is currently trying to open up a last-mile delivery service of its own at even lower costs.
OnFleet is a last-mile delivery company that offers eCommerce shipping services to hyperlocal delivery companies. With OnFleet online businesses can connect with as many online marketplaces, inventory management systems, websites, and carriers as they want. OnFleet sends automatic tracking updates to customers and enables real-time tracking on all orders. It also sends eCommerce companies Proof of Delivery (PoD) after every successful order fulfillment.
Track-POD is a logistics and last-mile delivery management company that works entirely through a mobile app to provide last-mile delivery solutions to eCommerce stores. The Track-POD app integrates with online marketplaces and eCommerce selling sites to provide accurate EDDs to customers at the checkout window. It also pushes for a green paperless transaction by providing digital Proof of Delivery certificates where customers sign on the delivery agent’s mobile. This helps online businesses avoid a lot of unnecessary paperwork.
3.7) StarShip Technologies
StarShip Technologies uses robots to deliver orders to customers. Its services are a cross between hyperlocal and last-mile delivery solutions. StarShip Technologies has revolutionized last-mile delivery operations by bringing in automation and security to package delivery. The software works through an app which is also the key to opening the delivery robot’s cargo bay. This last-mile delivery company provides immediate ETAs as soon as an order is placed.
Purolator is a Canadian logistics and supply chain management brand that provides last-mile delivery solutions to global eCommerce businesses. Purolator guarantees on-time delivery for every shipment and helps online businesses stay ahead of the curve with their QuickShip feature. QuickShip offers all-day, everyday shipping. You can expedite deliveries and reach your customers even before they expect you.
DHL is a multinational logistics and parcel delivery company that has recently started to up its last-mile delivery game. DHL has numerous warehouses and distribution centers all over the world which allows them to push out orders faster. DHL acts as a last-mile delivery company by expediting the order fulfillment process, providing expected delivery dates, and allocating vehicles and drivers for making the drop. It also has a shipping rate calculator on its website.
Postmates is a logistics and last-mile delivery company that provides flexible delivery services for online shoppers. Ecommerce companies can give their customers the opportunity to schedule deliveries to a time when they are available. It also does a thorough validation check at drop-off that includes ID verification. Postmates is equipped to carry and transport items of high value. Postmates also helps eCommerce businesses to add a delivery channel to their website or mobile app for easy handling.
4. How Does a Last-Mile Delivery Company Work?
A last-mile delivery company takes care of shipping processes beginning at the last mile. In most cases, a third-party logistics company (3PL) will manage the entire shipping operation of an eCommerce company. A last-mile delivery company can easily integrate with various carriers and courier delivery companies to deliver orders to numerous locations and in the shortest amount of time.
It can also tie up with online storefronts so that eCommerce companies can upload all their orders into one platform for easy order management. Last-mile delivery logistics companies can also provide accurate EDDs (Estimated Delivery Dates) at the time of checkout on your online store. By delivering orders on the date promised, eCommerce stores can gain customer’s trust and see increased footfall to their e-store. And finally, it goes without saying that last-mile delivery shipping companies and startups provide customers with real-time tracking features so that they never feel out of the loop.
5. Things to Ask Yourself Before Picking a Last-Mile Delivery Logistics Company
We strongly recommend hiring a last-mile delivery company to look after your shipping operations and deal with last-mile delivery challenges better. But we also believe that this is a decision that every eCommerce business has to make for itself. Therefore, we have put together a list of questions every online entrepreneur should ask themselves before hiring a last-mile delivery company. We believe that answering these questions will also give you a better understanding of your own expectations from your last-mile delivery company.
5.1) How much of my shipping operations are affected by last-mile delivery?
5.2) What kind of delivery expectations do you want to set for your customers?
5.3) What is the cost of last-mile delivery operations for your eCommerce company?
5.4) Is there any way to bring down last-mile delivery costs without sacrificing quality and efficiency?
5.5) Do you want to oversee last-mile delivery operations on your own or outsource this shipping operation to a last-mile delivery company?
6. How to Choose a Last-Mile Delivery Carrier Company for an Ecommerce Store?
6.1) Shipping Costs
Looking at shipping costs is an obvious reminder. Last-mile delivery operations are fraught with difficulties. Therefore, it’s no wonder that last-mile delivery companies charge a decent sum for their exceptional services. Look at what your last-mile delivery company charges and weigh it against the services they offer to get a better picture of the deal.
Serviceability refers to the number of locations, zip codes, or areas a carrier or third-party logistics company delivers to. A last-mile delivery company should deliver to as many locations as you want to reach to be beneficial to your business. Speak to your last-mile delivery partner to ascertain they cover the areas you want or if there is any way they can add those areas to their serviceable regions.
6.3) Order Tracking Feature
No matter the eCommerce business you are running, an order tracking feature is a must. Customers don’t want to stay in the dark about the location and whereabouts of their orders. In the age of changing consumer needs and growing customer expectations, an online business that doesn’t prioritize its customers’ needs is going to lose big. Choose a last-mile delivery company that features a decent order tracking mechanism so that clients can keep track of their orders.
6.4) Speed of Delivery
Many people confuse hyperlocal delivery with last-mile delivery. Even though hyperlocal and last-mile delivery shares the last or final mile of the shipping journey, they are not essentially the same. And neither are the delivery times the same. Hyperlocal delivery offers much faster order deliveries. Still, last-mile delivery can be made to be faster if carrier agents and logistic teams work together to avoid any delays. Technology too has a big part to play here by automating manual processes.
6.5) Payment Options
Lack of payment options at the time of checkout can deter customers from completing their orders that result in cart abandonment. Take care that your last-mile delivery company offers several payment gateways to avoid such scenarios. Payment options can include bank transfers, PayPal, credit points, UPI, etc.
6.6) Returns Management
Product returns in eCommerce are extremely common. Therefore, it is a good idea to look for a last-mile delivery company that also provides returns management services. It can take a lot of load off your shoulders by handling pickup and drop-offs, refund processing, reverse shipping, stock management, and other such services.
6.7) Tech Abilities
A lot of last-mile delivery problems are caused because of manual handling and interventions. Managing an influx of orders, allocating them to the right carriers, and designating drivers to delivery vehicles puts too much pressure on the staff and ground force. For all these reasons and for the sake of better efficiency, last-mile delivery companies use highly advanced technology and software. This allows them to automate many of the shipping processes and cuts down delays and losses. When choosing a last-mile delivery company make sure they use the latest technology to make order fulfillment a breeze.
7. Final Thoughts
Last-mile delivery is the costliest segment of eCommerce shipping because mapping routes, assigning drivers to find the exact address, and make the delivery within the stipulated time is a hard task. Yet, today’s customers want nothing less than perfection when it comes to ordering fulfillment. So, eCommerce companies must oblige. As industry experts, our honest suggestion for any eCommerce company is to outsource last-mile delivery operations if not the entire shipping process to a last-mile delivery company. Not only is that immensely cost-effective and efficient, but it also leaves businesses with a lot more time to do what they do best. Create, network, and sell. We hope this article gave you an insider’s look into what last-mile delivery is and how last-mile delivery companies can help to ease the process. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!