Holiday Sales 2021: Opportunities in Last-Mile Delivery

February 14, 2022

This year’s holiday shopping season will surely look different from previous holiday seasons, both for buyers and retailers. Why? With the major impact of the pandemic, the increasing majority of customers now prefer online shopping over in-store purchases. They have become accustomed to the comfort of accessing goods with a single click (with the bonus of not getting sick!). 


As this has accelerated the market size and pace of purchases tremendously, it has also noticeably increased competition. According to Deloitte, eCommerce sales are projected to grow 11% to 15% compared to 2020.

Thus, brands that want to stay competitive have to make serious investments in perfecting their online shopping processes, customer service experience, and especially delivery services. So what’s holding them back?


Challenges of Holiday Season Last-Mile Delivery



Holiday season supply chain management has a significant impact on the eCommerce landscape today. To provide greater last mile deliveries and accelerate growth during the current holiday season, let's first take a look at the most common obstacles retailers face:


Data Blindness on Supply Chain


Data is at the heart of eCommerce. And simply storing customer data is never enough. Instead of being data blind, making data visible, especially during peak seasons, enables businesses to manage processes in the most accurate way. 

Data on product inventory, number of open orders, delivery fleets, and many internal and external delivery-related processes provides valuable insights. And these insights help businesses understand, track and manage the delivery network and operation. It also paves the way for providing a higher quality final mile delivery service for customers.


Labor Shortage and Managing Fleets


A spike in orders, especially during peak holiday season, causes labor shortages and shipping delays for businesses. This is why retailers today prefer to work with third-party fleets periodically, instead of building a new or expanding their current internal fleet.

This creates the need for full control throughout the entire delivery process due to trust-based concerns. In last-mile logistics, providing end-to-end tracking and control in the delivery process naturally becomes an important obstacle to overcome.


The Major Shift in Customer Expectations


The speed achieved in evaluating, comparing and ordering products has also re-shaped customer perception. In each step of the online buying process, their expectations are higher than ever, and their patience dwindles day by day.

Customers are now just as intolerant about supply chain issues as they are about out-of-stock problems, especially during peak seasons like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Holiday Shopping. Free shipping used to be the most important demand of customers when buying holiday gifts, but today the need for hassle-free, fast delivery seems to exceed most expectations.

This puts supply chain management at the forefront of retail sales during peak seasons, since the time concern of gift buyers adds an extra layer to the challenge of providing a seamless experience. 

On the other hand, delivery networks, or retailers, are expanding during peak seasons. Despite this, the shorter the time between the moment the customers decide to buy and their doorbell rings, the higher their satisfaction.


How Optimizing Delivery Services Can Help


Peak seasons are challenging indeed. But why not use this as an opportunity to stand out from the competition by creating a flawless customer experience? 

The wisest way to ensure excellent customer service is to provide a smooth delivery experience. Programs that offer route optimization services for the supply chain offer refreshing benefits for businesses during such congested periods. 


Automation in Delivery Network


A route optimization software enables management optimization by providing automation. Smart algorithms in optimization software use data such as locations, order sizes, fleet options, restrictions, preferences, road distances, traffic and costs to create the most accurate routes.

This is an excellent way to prevent labor shortage by increasing efficiency, lowering shipping costs, providing faster and more effective delivery, improving user experience and providing customer support with a seamless delivery experience.


Data Centralization in Last-Mile Delivery


Delivery network data can come from many different data centers and channels such as fleets, external providers, or internal systems. Regardless of the number or source of these channels, businesses should centralize their data flow. 

Centralized open data that is easily accessible to everyone helps in quickly avoiding any possible obstacles during each delivery. A sudden breakdown in a vehicle or a last-minute address change becomes quickly manageable. This creates the most accurate way to keep track of orders and vehicles during the delivery and the most efficient last-mile delivery experience.


Efficiency in Operations Management


All of the benefits offered by optimization applications in delivery services, such as real-time viewing, instant communication, and transparency, ensure that the main operation proceeds flawlessly. Efficiency in operational processes also manifests itself in operational management. 

In addition, the automation of manual processes with smart algorithms and innovative technologies prevents many potential human errors in operational management and maximizes efficiency.


Smart Logistic Solutions Have Your Back


At Optiyol, we enable you to transform your delivery management and meet the standards in your supply chain management processes. Our comprehensive data model feeds flexible and tunable algorithms for each operation. You can discover our solutions or take a look at the resources our team of experts shares to overcome possible challenges during Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any challenging peak season.

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