Covid-19 has brought about new challenges and opportunities for each industry. Last-Mile Delivery hasn’t been spared from the effects of the pandemic. Last-mile has always the most challenging part of the supply chain. So how was it impacted by Covid-19?
What is Last-Mile Delivery?
Last-Mile Delivery deals with the final step of the delivery process when a package moves from the transportation hub to its final destination which is either a retail store or a customer’s personal residence. The delivery process is the most important aspect of the supply chain and it is crucial that it is not only efficient but that it is as fast as possible. Speed is especially important in e-commerce retail industries.
COVID-19 and Last-Mile Deliveries
When the outbreak of Covid-19 began it changed a lot of Last-Mile Delivery practices from the regulations that were implemented in order to control the virus to the new customer habits and demands.
Here are some of the ways that the pandemic affected Last-Mile Delivery:
1. Unbalanced Demand
Throughout the world countries have had to implement measures in order to curb the spread of the virus. These measures have included hard lockdowns and border control measures. All these measures have resulted in companies experiencing shortages in supply even though there has been greater demand in certain products, such as groceries as supermarkets had been experiencing greater demand.
Deliveries of the products were also delayed due to the border control measures that were put in place. There was additionally a lack of delivery capacity due to a shortage of human resources as some warehouse and delivery employees were unable to work.
All these factors have made companies more cautious and led them to pay greater attention to product demands and needs of their customers. This is so that they have strategies in place to be able to support those demands and implement contingency plans to be able to secure demand.
2. Growth in home deliveries
More people have had to stay home as a way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. People are mostly working from home and home deliveries have become much more common. A lot of supermarkets and even restaurants have started home deliveries in order to work around the restrictions that were implemented and for health and safety concerns.
Most individuals will begin to use home deliveries as they are more convenient especially for those who are vulnerable and elderly. It is also easier as you don’t have to wait in long queues and there are no social distancing rules to adhere to. This has created more opportunities for e-commerce businesses and carriers.
3. Delivery experience is a priority
The most important part of the delivery process is definitely the delivery experience. Offering a substandard service to your customers will lead to them having a negative experience which will severely impact your reputation and your relationship with those customers. According to customers, the most frustrating delivery experience includes receiving orders late or damaged.
In order to give a positive delivery experience, companies need to aim to have quicker delivery such as same day or next day delivery. Secondly, they need to offer more delivery options such in-store, doorstep delivery or pick –up. There needs to be a strong emphasis on delivery transparency by ensuring that customers are given real-time updates about their orders location and automated delivery notifications regarding the shipment’s status.
4. A shift in delivery timing
There are companies that are struggling to meet delivery demands and have had to prioritize the type of deliveries they are making such as prioritizing essential deliveries. They have also increased the time in which deliveries are made; however, there are some companies who are also managing to make next day and even same-day deliveries. This has led to customers choosing companies that are able to provide “fast and free” delivery over those who don’t and it’s not something that will change any time soon.
5. Types of goods delivered
In the past, retail stores were in demand when people ordered clothing for delivery. However, due to the pandemic, there has been a shift in not only the goods that were in demand but the quantity in which they were ordered in. For one, most consumers were mostly buying medical supplies including masks and gloves. There was also an increase in grocery items as most people are spending more time at home and are eating more.
6. Priority of Safety
In order to prioritize the safety of workers and customers, companies have had to implement measures to protect both parties from contracting the virus. There has been increased satisfaction before and after deliveries. Secondly, they have had to create stricter social distancing policies such as contactless delivery and contactless payment. Both these measures ensure that social distancing measures are adhered to and that both parties remain safe.
The pandemic has greatly impacted Last-Mile Delivery logistics and has created new trends in the industry. Though not all the trends are negative, they need to ensure that they constantly meet customer demands and prioritize safety throughout the delivery process.