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How Last-Mile Tech Solutions Can Help Logistics Firms Win During Festive Season Sales

With the festive season right around the corner, here are a few ways in which businesses can meet the challenges of last-mile deliveries by adopting advanced technologies

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It’s that time of the year again when the festive season is right around the corner. What has recently added another fun dimension to the celebrations is the festive season sales offered by e-commerce businesses, which are quickly growing in popularity. 

According to a report by RedSeer Consulting, the value of goods sold online during the first week of the festive sales period in 2021 in India stood at approximately USD 4.6 billion. It is safe to say that these sales periods are crucial to the overall growth of the e-commerce sector in India, which according to the India Brand Equity Foundation, is estimated to grow to USD 74.8 billion in 2022, a 21 per cent increase from last year. 

This growth comes with some tough challenges. The RedSeer Consulting report also mentioned that 40 million of these consumers came from Tier II cities.  Rapidly scaling up last-mile delivery networks to meet demand over a wide geographic area is a tall order, especially considering that the last-mile is known to account for more 50 per cent of shipping costs. There is also the added pressure of making these deliveries in time frames that are becoming ever shorter. The moment will not be far off when same-day and two-day deliveries will become the norm.

E-commerce and logistics companies are leveraging cutting-edge last-mile technology solutions to meet these challenges head-on and to stand apart from their competition. Here are the three key things that businesses can accomplish by adopting such advanced technologies:

Bring scalable efficiencies: When the scale of orders rises to millions in a day, digitisation is the most viable option to fulfil them. Modern dispatch management platforms can automate repetitive, but crucial tasks to bring about efficiencies at scale.  The order management feature captures and allocates the millions of orders coming into the most suitable vehicle in a fleet. It even factors in returns and reroutes orders that missed delivery on the first attempt. 

Often, delivery addresses are quite ambiguous, which could lead to confusion among drivers and create delays. Geocoding converts these addresses into latitudes and longitudes to a high level of accuracy, which significantly reduces instances of drivers delivering to the wrong address or unable to find the right location.

Similarly, the advanced algorithms of route planning solutions can compute optimal routes for each vehicle by considering hundreds of real-life variables such as distance, fuel spent, service level agreements, traffic weather etc. This ensures that every driver reduces the number of empty miles driven, saves time and fuel, and completes more orders in his shift than before. These benefits add up over time to reflect as greater growth for the business.

For captive fleets that are not large enough to meet demand, carrier management feature makes it possible to scale up capacity by outsourcing deliveries to third-party providers at competitive rates. 

Bringing new levels of customer delight: Consumers shopping during the festive season would be more emotionally invested in their purchases as they would likely be gifts for their loved ones. This is why it is more important than ever before to ensure customer delight, and providing complete transparency on their order’s status is the first step.  

Tracking pages show consumer turn-by-turn updates on the status of their package, which adds to the excitement of its arrival.  It also lets consumers know that they are valued, and in the event of unavoidable delays, businesses can seamlessly communicate with them to manage their expectations. Failure to do so in this high-stakes situation would mean their trust might be lost for good. Tracking pages can even collect feedback on what works and what can be improved to further amplify consumer delight around future orders.

Providing end-to-end visibility for superior decision making: No matter how well-tuned a fulfilment process, some snags or delays are unavoidable on the ground. Minimising the time lost requires complete knowledge of what is happening as quickly as possible. Control Tower solutions allow for logistics personnel to keep track of the progress of drivers on their routes in real time. In the event of an unscheduled stop, a reroute deviation, or even a vehicle breakdown, the solution sends automated alerts to the personnel in advance to fix the problem.

Powerful analytics engines offer a different kind of visibility, namely on the hidden inefficiencies and new growth opportunities. The billions of data points generated from delivering millions of orders can be analysed for growth insights and aid in superior decision-making. These insights can be easily gleaned from customizable dashboards to make more impactful decisions.

The festive season shopping sales for e-commerce companies present a tremendous growth opportunity, provided they can scale up their fulfilment capabilities while catering to growing consumer expectations. Last-mile technology solutions, with their sophisticated features and powerful algorithms, enable businesses to do just the same by scaling up capacities and performance, prioritising customer delight, and delivering end-to-end visibility for better decision-making.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Last-mile Delivery Locus

Nishith Rastogi

Nishith Rastogi, Founder and CEO at Locus, is responsible for business expansion across geographies and heads product globally. Prior to founding Locus, he worked for Amazon, where he built algorithms to counter credit card fraud. Nishith also co-founded RideSafe, a real-time route deviation detection application for women’s safety. He is a published author in the field of experimental physics and holds patents in Machine Learning. Nishith has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and a Master's in Economics from BITS Pilani and was profiled by Fortune India for 2022 ‘40 under 40’ list and by Forbes Asia in the 2018 ’30 Under 30’ list.

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