last mile delivery services

Driver Quality and Reliability: The Key to Effective Last Mile Delivery Services

Jim Waters

Retailers can’t relax when e-commerce orders leave the warehouse. The so-called “last mile,” when drivers place packages into customers’ hands, matters most. 

Our recent survey of 95 supply chain professionals highlights the importance of the last mile, with 79% of respondents indicating that effective last mile delivery services are “very or extremely important” in creating a competitive advantage. Another 42% are implementing new technologies to help master the last mile, but don’t overlook the importance of drivers — the human beings your customers see and interact with. 

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of driver quality and how it can affect your business. Have questions about mastering the last mile or working with a last mile partner? Our team is always here to help.

The Importance of Driver Quality Within the Last Mile Experience

E-commerce accounted for 15.4% of all retail sales in 2023’s second quarter, up from 9.6% in Q2 2018. As retail shifts to online sales, the productization of delivery has emerged as a critical pillar for retailers.

The “productization of delivery” means elevating the delivery process to part of the brand experience. Reliable, affordable, and fast delivery are paramount to meeting the expectations of customers who want an Amazon-like experience. Driver quality is a critical component of matching these heightened customer expectations.

Drivers are uniquely positioned to influence the service experience your customers enjoy. A quality driver can create cost-efficiency and help boost customer retention, but a poor driver can have the opposite effect.

The Consequences of Poor Driver Quality & Reliability

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) highlighted the importance of turbocharging delivery to meet expectations in its report, “Retail Speaks: Seven Imperatives for the Industry.” As expectations shift toward fast delivery, a single misstep by a driver can be catastrophic. Here’s a look at three consequences of poor driver performance within the last mile.

1. More Cancellations

According to Mitto research, 55% of consumers have canceled delayed shipments because of a poor customer experience. Unreliable drivers increase your total number of delayed shipments, opening the door for poor customer experiences and cancellations.

2. Higher Costs

The last mile is the most expensive, representing 53% of the overall cost of a shipment. When you work with unreliable, inefficient drivers, the cost of the last mile only increases, cutting your margins.

3. Less Repeat Business

Perfecting the delivery experience makes your customers more likely to buy from you. Conversely, create a poor delivery experience, and your customers may look elsewhere the next time they purchase. Your drivers are in the perfect position to help create positive and timely delivery experiences.

The Benefits of a Broad Last Mile Delivery Network with Qualified Drivers

There are consequences for poor driver performance, but good drivers can help you scale your business and stay ahead of the competition. Here’s a look at three benefits of using qualified drivers within a broad, powerful last mile delivery network.

1. Increased Efficiency

You can implement tools to create efficient routes, but those technologies are only as good as the drivers following the optimized routes. Efficient drivers can help you maximize your investment in routing technologies while helping your retail brand meet and exceed consumer expectations.

2. Enhanced Flexibility

A broad last mile delivery network that boasts a large fleet of high-quality, on-demand drivers allows you to scale up or down as needed. This adaptability is beneficial during peak seasons, empowering your business to meet heightened demand without needing a costly in-house delivery fleet — and without sacrificing the quality of your drivers.

3. Greater Trust

Your brand is your most valuable asset, and every interaction between your brand and customers impacts your reputation. Ensuring you have a pool of trusted, qualified drivers minimizes risk and increases the chances for positive customer experiences.

Accessibility is Key for Last Mile Delivery Software

The effectiveness of your last-mile delivery program relies heavily on the quality of the software that powers it. The best last mile technologies are intuitive, versatile, and, above all, accessible. Here’s why:

  • Usability: The importance of usability cannot be overstated. Whether it’s easy-to-navigate dashboards, quick-loading pages, or intuitive route optimizations, these features directly impact the efficiency of your delivery operations and, by extension, customer satisfaction.
  • Cloud-Based Access: With cloud-based last mile delivery software, you and your team can manage operations from anywhere — in the office, at home, or on the road. 
  • One Platform, Multiple Devices: Your logistics manager might prefer working on a desktop while your drivers rely on mobile devices. A last mile delivery app must cater to this multi-device ecosystem without compromising features or usability.

Usable platforms and cloud-based, cross-device access provide the flexibility and efficiency that retailers need to meet evolving expectations.

Find a Partner to Perfect the Last Mile

As e-commerce reshapes the retail landscape, last mile delivery services are more crucial than ever. At FRAYT, we work with retailers to elevate the last mile experience by offering quality drivers in major markets and the technologies needed to power effective programs. 

With FRAYT you can bundle deliveries for multi-stop service, optimize your logistics, and save money. And, with real-time tracking, you and your customers stay informed from pickup to drop-off, increasing trust and satisfaction.

Are you ready to optimize your last mile delivery service? Ship with us at FRAYT and offer your customers an experience that keeps them returning for more.

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