Improving Your Last Mile Delivery | Red Arrow Logistics
Improving Your Last Mile Delivery Strategy | Red Arrow Logistics

Retailers, shippers, carriers all need to create strategies to deal with the unprecedented growth in the e-commerce realm. Your last mile strategy should be well-thought-out and planned to satisfy the needs of your customers.

E-commerce consumers want their order…and they want it now!  Thanks to “The Amazon Effect” online shoppers have been trained to expect delivery within two days, or less.  A delivery time of more than one week could cost you business.  Few companies can match this quick turnaround because they do not have the same economies of scale.  Amazon’s shipping costs oftentimes negatively affect margins, but it is absorbed by the sheer amount of sales the company makes.  Not many other companies are in the same financial situation.  With last mile delivery expectations being as high as they are, companies must devise a strategy that works with their budget, as well as their customers. 

Why is the Last Mile so Important?

Last-mile delivery, which is getting an order from the warehouse to its final destination, such as the customer’s front door, is most often the most challenging and costly leg of a package’s journey.  In rural areas, delivery points could be miles apart and in cities, traffic congestion makes delivery difficult.  At the same time, it is becoming critical that e-retailers and shippers get this segment of the package’s journey right.  Last mile delivery costs comprise approximately 53% of shipping overall, meaning that companies need to find ways to optimize this part of the process.  Managing last-mile costs can make or break a sale.

What Does Your Customer Want?

Before you devise a last mile strategy, you need to know what your customers want and expect.  If your company sells a product that is unique, then the need for delivery within two days is not as important as for other more common goods.  Customers will wait for those products that are personalized or cannot be found easily elsewhere. 

But no matter what type of product you sell, it is important to meet the delivery date you commit to.  If you claim to be able to deliver the order by Monday, and it shows up the following Friday, the customer will be disappointed.  Set the expectations and stick to them. 


With customers rising expectations for frequent deliveries of fewer items, businesses need to carefully plan delivery operations.  This will lead to more efficient processes and higher levels of customer satisfaction as they are able to pinpoint their delivery times.  Being able to optimize the transportation process with planning will cut costs not only for you but what is being passed on to the customer.  Once a plan is in place, you can assess last-mile delivery and service time to improve on-time delivery rates. 

You can start the planning process by asking the following questions:

  • Is your operation affected negatively by your last-mile delivery?
  • What are your overall last-mile delivery costs? How do you optimize them?
  • What type of delivery experience do you want your customers to have?
  • Can you cut your last-mile costs while still guaranteeing a positive delivery experience for your customers?

Proper planning can lead to a reduction in costs and an increase in customer satisfaction.

Customer Experience

If you cannot differentiate your products based on uniqueness, you can still set your brand apart on the shipping experience.  For example, you might be able to offer white-glove service to cover set up, installation, and repair, depending on the product.  For smaller and less expensive products, providing a great customer experience through customer service or personalized boxes will differentiate your brand.  Creating a moment for the customer by being able to communicate with the delivery driver, or the flexibility to change the mode of delivery will further create customer loyalty.  Customers want options when it comes to the final mile.

If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, consider allowing for pickup at the location as well.  Or, the option of picking up the package at a locker or other location such as local supermarket adds to the customer’s convenience.  Don’t discount how far a well-executed customer experience can take your company.  

Retailers, shippers, carriers all need to create strategies to deal with the unprecedented growth in the e-commerce realm.  Your last mile strategy should be well-thought-out and planned to satisfy the needs of your customers. 

Your Trusted Partner

At Red Arrow Logistics, we provide expertise and white glove customer service with fast-growing, complex, and high-value supply chains. As the next-generation model of logistics companies, we offer tailored transportation and logistics solutions — from single shipments to complex over-dimensional and international orders.

Red Arrow offers the scale and scope of services including air, ocean, and ground transportation to meet the budget and schedule requirements of the largest and smallest companies alike. If we can be of assistance, please email us at or give us a call at 425-747-7914.