e-Commerce is the cutting-edge manner of doing successful business today. The traditional method of doing business, especially in the retail sector has now revolutionized into e-Commerce – Internet-based shopping / online shopping.
In the fast-moving world of e-Commerce, one terminology that is most important for maintaining the respectability and dependability of the business is their ‘last mile delivery’ process. It is a fine line that defines the futuristic relationship between the buyer and the seller. Today’s modern-day customers look for certain key factors, while they look forward to the last mile delivery – quick delivery, timeliness, accurate order tracking, security aspects, insurance details, specialization, flexibility, convenience to name a few.
And to suffice these requirements, there is a need for an effective last mile delivery business model that can leverage technology to speed up the entire delivery process, making both the stakeholders happy and satisfied.
Last Mile App – An Overview
Last mile is a term used in supply chain management and transportation planning to describe the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination. – Wikipedia
In any supply chain and logistics process, delivery of goods / products is incredibly important right from the time it leaves the sender’s place till the point at which it reaches the customer. In this entire process, the most crucial point is the last mile delivery portion, where the products get transported to their final point of delivery.
In the traditional way of business, there was a waiting period of about 5 to 7 working days for any product to get delivered. But no more! Today, if any retailer attempts such a long time, they are out of the queue. Today’s customer needs the product as quick as possible. And that is where the last mile delivery comes into play!
The main objective of an effective last mile delivery technology is to facilitate organizations in transporting their products to its clients in the fastest and smoothest manner possible. Of course, there are factors such as market demands, customer experience etc. that play an important role.
Last-minute delivery has been instrumental in helping organizations achieve their business targets, in their stipulated time, clubbed with high customer satisfaction levels. The direct delivery market size in Saudi Arabia from 2010 to 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)
Last Mile delivery in e-Commerce refers to
- The last leg of a shipment’s movement prior to reaching the buyer’s destination/address
- An integral part of the business with long-term planning
- Lock-in time for the client
- Timely and strategic planning with a goal to establish a dedicated client base
- Delivery of the product/goods to the client as soon as possible
One great example of a last-mile delivery application in Saudi Arabia is HungerStation – a food delivery application that has been giving its clients an easy and great ordering experience. It is a single stop solution to satisfying your hunger pangs without any hassle to keep searching for different numbers here and there
Challenges Faced While Last Mile Delivery
- Access to Complete Delivery Details
Customers, today, ask for more. They are not satisfied with small chunks of information as to where their product has reached and when will it exactly reach them. This turns out to be a big hassle for suppliers sometimes. It is tough to offer complete detailed information about the product shipment. Clients are keen to study the entire journey of the last mile delivery research which is not possible all the time.
- Maintaining Fleet of Vehicles and Resources
The main crux of having an effective last mile delivery is the prompt availability of resources and vehicles that can immediately take up the task of delivering bang on time. This turns out to be a challenge as sometimes, access to them is not possible instantly. There is a direct impact on the effectiveness of the entire delivery cycle thereby leading to customer dissatisfaction.
- High Operational Cost
With lack of planning and ineffectiveness, there could be huge operational costs involved in the last leg of the entire process of supply. The last mile delivery could turn to be one of the greatest hurdles in terms of putting great pressure on the total budget of the e-Commerce activities.
- Handling Client Queries
The customer is the king! Attending to the client’s queries, answering them on time and at a satisfactory level is a tough task. It is manually not possible to do so and hence there must be technical assistance to help satisfy the customer queries.
Key Benefits of Last Mile Apps in e-Commerce
A last mile delivery in e-Commerce ought to have certain in-built features that makes it effective, profitable and customer friendly. Here are some of the key advantages to such a technologically superior application:
- Computerized delivery route planning
There is a provision to automatically keep track of the entire delivery route, delivery schedules, resource competence for all types of last mile delivery modes like single / multiple drops or single / multiple pickups. This enables the suppliers to keep a detailed track of where the shipment is, when is it likely to reach the destination.
- Automatic real time resource allocation
At times, there is a need for changing the resources and reallocation of the same. At such times, the application helps in giving inputs to who can be allocated the task, who is nearby, can easily reach the location and is trustworthy. This helps managers to reassign the task to others, if needed.
- Online payment methods
The best part of any software application that deals effectively with different payment modes, which is a critical part of these last mile delivery business model. As the product reaches the client, they can pay for the goods through the different online payment mechanisms, which are safe, secure, and highly integrated with the main system.
- Electronic Proof of delivery
There is provision to manage different card types and cash along with electronic proof generation in terms of images, digital signature, or timestamps. Owing to this, the customer is confident of having given a solid proof of delivery and the supplier is rest assured that the delivery has taken place at the right destination. This makes the entire payment process hassle free and transparent.
- Route optimisation and dynamic re-routing
The software application has modules that consist of all possible routes that can be taken, the best route possible and in case of any hurdle in the route, the best re-route that can help the delivery person reach the customer, in the same time as stipulated. Even with change in circumstances, it helps the suppliers maintain their expected time of arrival. This avoids all the downtimes or delays that can happen with last moment upheavals. This dynamic feature helps in making the last mile delivery an effective one.
- Real-time tracking of shipment order
The application tracks the order in a real-time mode with a map interface, that can be communicated via push notifications or highly secure links. This helps the stakeholders – the customer, store owners, in knowing the exact progress of the last mile delivery.
- Flexible dispatch system
Because of the multiple delivery options and routes available in the system, the delivery person has an opportunity to avail the flexible dispatch modes. They can choose amongst the best possible option, looking at the then current circumstances.
- Continuous chat system with delivery person
Through the automated system, there can be a seamless communication through different modes like chatbots, video conferencing, query handlers etc. This helps all involved stakeholders to keep in touch continuously, thereby, lessening the anxiety of delivering the product. It provides a smooth interface between customer, the e-Commerce organization, and the suppliers.
- Interactive and In-depth Dashboards / Reporting
The software application has a detailed reporting system that extracts the best data possible and comes up with different kinds of interactive dashboards and reports that can offer an insight into the data interpretation and client patters / behaviour.
- Scheduling and Prioritizing of Orders
Owing to high-end technologies like AI and ML, last mile apps can facilitate in organizing and selecting of orders. This activity depends upon different factors like delivery inclination, favoured delivery time of clients etc. Depending upon the type of vehicle, skill set of resources and product specifications, order allocation can be done automatically, which helps the delivery people big time.
Popular Last Mile Apps in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has been a great market for implementation of last mile delivery applications and as years go by, there is a steady increase expected in its implementation. There are many players who are in the race, for implementation of last mile apps. Technical experts are now garnering expertise in such apps through mobile app development. m-Commerce is the latest jargon now.
Saudi Arabia has been on a roll in terms of digital transformation and implementation of software solutions. There has been multiple last mile delivery in e-Commerce sector in Saudi Arabia, focussing on the supply chain and logistics sector, region wide. The future is sure to see advantageous returns with multiple implementation of such apps and thereby, generating a higher customer satisfaction ratio.
We @ Alareeb ICT support companies and government organizations with a range of IT and digital transformation services. We are a Saudi Arabian company, and we serve the whole of the GCC with our bouquet of industry-related services and solutions. Write to us at [email protected] for any software requirement of yours, and we shall be happy to assist your requirements.