Insights to Help Your Business

Last Mile Delivery Trends to Get Excited About in 2024

With e-Commerce’s rise in popularity, the last mile has become the most crucial part of the delivery process.

Semi-truck driving down an empty road surrounded by green land

With e-Commerce’s rise in popularity, the last mile has become the most crucial part of the delivery process. As the final stretch where a package goes from distribution center to the customer's doorstep, the last mile can make or break the customer experience (CX). In a UPS Capital report, 90% of online shoppers surveyed said their shipping experience accounts for more than half of their online shopping experience.

As we approach 2024, several exciting trends are emerging in the last mile delivery landscape to meet demand, including predictive analytics, delivery density, personalized shipping, and more.

Predictive Analytics for Proactive Problem Solving

Predictive analytics harness the power of data – leveraging both historical and real-time data to offer strategic insights that can help your business anticipate potential events and outcomes. By applying predictive analytics tools to shipping and loss data, you can make better-informed decisions about your shipping strategies to help deliver a premium CX and, in turn, help bolster your bottom line.  Imagine a scenario where you can identify a delivery with a high likelihood of porch-pirated theft or another delivery-related loss and take preventative measures before a package even leaves the facility to help achieve a better delivery outcome.

Through the utilization of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, SaaS solutions can analyze delivery and historical loss data to evaluate loss patterns and generate an address confidence score, indicating the likelihood of a successful delivery to each applicable address. This valuable information allows merchants to anticipate potential losses and consider taking corrective actions, such as sending the package to an alternate location — like a UPSAccess Point® location — or requiring customer signature upon delivery.

Delivery Density and Urban Logistics

As urbanization continues to grow, optimizing delivery routes and increasing delivery density present opportunities for companies to become more environmentally friendly while keeping operating expenses down. In 2024, we expect to see more innovative solutions designed to address the challenges of delivering in densely populated areas. Companies are exploring strategies such as micro-fulfillment centers, shared delivery hubs, and urban warehouses to reduce delivery times and costs. Others are partnering with third-party technology companies to “hold” an order in an order management system until it can match another shipment to the same address. By consolidating deliveries and optimizing routes, your business can reduce its carbon footprint, lower operating costs, and offer faster deliveries in urban environments.

Personalized Shipping to Meet Customer Demands

Today’s online shoppers seek control and personalization in their shipping experience. In fact, most surveyed respondents (87%) in a UPS Capital report indicated a stronger inclination to shop with an SMB if they were able to personalize their shipping.

We will continue to see more tailored delivery options that cater to individual preferences, including offering customers the ability to choose delivery time slots and locations or elect shipping insurance for peace of mind. By offering customizable delivery experiences, your business can strengthen customer loyalty and create a more memorable shopping experience.

Sustainable Delivery Practices

Environmental sustainability is also a growing concern for both businesses and consumers, and it's influencing last mile delivery trends in 2024. Consumers are likely to favor businesses with sustainable practices such as using biodegradable products and prioritizing green last mile logistics. They have even gone so far as to ask companies to provide sustainability reports to outline how they will minimize their impact on the environment. As a result, companies are increasingly adopting eco-friendly delivery options, such as electric delivery vehicles, bicycle couriers, and even drone deliveries for short distances. 

Contactless and Autonomous Deliveries

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of contactless deliveries, and looking ahead, we can expect this movement to continue. Contactless options, including autonomous delivery robots and drones, will continue to gain traction as they offer safe and efficient delivery solutions, especially in situations where human interaction needs to be minimized. By embracing these technologies, your business can enhance delivery capabilities while prioritizing safety.

Looking Ahead

As we look ahead to 2024, last mile delivery is poised for exciting developments. By staying attuned to these trends and incorporating them into your shipping strategies, you can gain a competitive advantage and meet evolving customer expectations.

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