date11 November 2021

Last-mile delivery trends in 2022 and beyond  

In the past 18 months, there has been a major shift in consumer behaviour thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online shopping has become increasingly popular, and necessary, and it looks like this trend is here to stay. Changes in consumer behaviour mean eCommerce businesses are also having to change with an increased focus on customer service and delivery.

Part of this new demand is last-mile deliveries. Streamlined by technology, the importance of this logistics process will continue to grow with last-mile deliveries becoming more efficient and partially automated. We’re already starting to see some of these changes and trends, but what will continue in 2022 and beyond?  

What is last-mile delivery?

The term last-mile delivery refers to the last part of the supply chain when an order moves from a warehouse or distribution hub to its end destination. It’s the most expensive part of the supply chain and where possible, is streamlined or outsourced to make the process as efficient and productive as it can be.  

Top last-mile delivery trends in 2022 and beyond  

1. Increased Implementation of last-mile delivery technology  

Some businesses will start, and continue, to use delivery management software and electronic proof of delivery (EPOD) systems to manage every aspect of the last-mile delivery process. From order management and optimized route planning to driver tracking and proof of delivery, everything can be in one place with these technologies.

Both software and EPODs allow for higher productivity levels and ensure seamless day-to-day operations. More and more businesses are adopting these last-mile delivery technologies and will continue to do so in the future as this technology continues to develop.  

2. Contactless deliveries  

Social distancing has been part of life since the beginning of the pandemic, when the necessity for contactless deliveries suddenly grew. Although we’re starting to return to normal, the expectation is that contactless deliveries will still be wanted and needed by many customers. By using self-service parcel hubs or leaving the parcel in a pre-disclosed safe location, there are many ways contactless delivery can continue to be used for last-mile deliveries.   

3. Increasing use of the hybrid delivery model  

Many businesses have profited from increased demand, but it has also caused some to consider their existing workforce. For many, their own fleet of delivery associates has not been sufficient to cover the demand, resulting in the need to outsource work at short notice.

A hybrid delivery model combines a businesses' delivery drivers with third-parties who can take that extra load during busy periods, including the festive season. This flexible model allows business to scale their operations up or down depending on demand. It’s extremely likely this trend will continue from now on, with more companies adopting this hybrid model.  

4. Advanced Route Optimization and Planning  

Route optimization for many last-mile deliveries is key. It helps ensure every delivery is as efficient as possible, planning out the best route available for drivers considering different variations including traffic and roadworks. Many systems also allow for drivers to be tracked in real-time, ensuring all deliveries are carried out as they should be. By investing in route planning, many businesses can truly optimize their delivery process and cut any unnecessary time or money from the last-mile delivery.  

5. Customer experience   Many customers now expect a streamlined and easy browsing, purchasing and delivery process. And some aren’t afraid to voice their opinions online or via social media if their expectations aren’t met. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to make all aspects of the customer experience, including making last-mile deliveries as efficient as they can be.

To help ensure customers are satisfied, most businesses now offer online tracking of parcels to give customers visibility on their order’s progress. Some have even gone a step further and use real-time tracking during the last mile delivery, including giving customers the ability to communicate with drivers and change their safe place for the parcel to be left.  

How TouchStar can help

At TouchStar, we’re proud to be combining the latest handheld technology with our software to guide your organization towards a paperless and streamlined environment. This includes our electronic proof of delivery (EPOD) solution which can work for any size business to continue with contactless deliveries. Get in touch today to speak to one of our expert team on how our solutions could help your business.