2020 was an incredible year for online shopping in the US. eCommerce sales increased by a staggering 44% from 2019. Ecommerce sales have continued to increase in 2021. Q2 2021 US eCommerce sales increased another 9% over 2020.
Last mile software can help you reduce costs while providing a quality experience to your customers. A last mile software stack doesn’t only include the right scheduling or delivery management software, but also all of the tools you need to manage your operations. These 13 tools will streamline your last-mile delivery operations.
What is Last Mile Delivery Software?
Last mile delivery is the final step in a company’s delivery process. This involves transporting goods from a distribution center to a client’s doorstep.
Last mile software is a group of software tools designed to help businesses manage their last-mile delivery operations.
There are SaaS solutions that address the challenges of last-mile delivery, including inefficient route optimization and manual route modification, as well as poor tracking and communications for customers. A last-mile delivery software stack covers the entire logistics chain, from warehouse management to customer payment.
Delivery Management Software
You need your delivery management software to manage all of your last-mile delivery operations. The wrong delivery management tool can harm your last-mile delivery operations even if your stack of software includes the correct tools for every other category.
OptimoRoute will help you maximize your efficiency by managing last-mile delivery operations. OptimoRoute has more than 50 powerful features to help businesses run their business, but we will focus on just three that are perfect for managing last mile delivery operations:
Automated route planning and optimization
OptimoRoute is a route planning & optimizing software that allows businesses to plan thousands of orders into highly efficient delivery routes within seconds. OptimoRoute’s advanced routing algorithms generate routes that are optimized and customizable for every business. This feature allows delivery companies and third-party logistics providers to avoid spending hours planning routes manually or hiring additional staff to handle daily route planning.
OptimoRoute’s mobile app for drivers (available on iOS or Android) offers route schedules, navigation, and order information all in one location. The mobile app allows dispatch teams to track drivers accurately during delivery runs.
proof of delivery is a key feature in the mobile driver application for last-mile deliveries. Drivers can capture relevant information about each order with Proof of Delivery by taking electronic notes, customer signatures acknowledging the order receipt, or photos to show that they have delivered the order. Proof of Delivery provides accurate order information to delivery services and 3PLs at the last mile. This can help them protect themselves if their customers cannot find their packages.
Order Tracking & Realtime Updates
Realtime Tracking allows customers to track orders in real-time at the last mile. Realtime Order Tracking allows businesses to send customized text messages or emails with a tracking link that is updated in real-time, notifying customers when their order has been delivered. Realtime Order tracking increases customer satisfaction because it gives customers real-time access to their orders, including accurate delivery dates.
Warehouse Management Systems
Deloitte says that businesses that want to optimize last-mile delivery operations must also take a holistic view of their manufacturing and distribution facilities. Warehouse management software (WMS) can assist businesses in this.
Fishbowl offers a manufacturing and inventory solution that is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses. Software Advice named it a FrontRunner on its list of the Top Supply Chain Management Tools for 2020. Fishbowl allows businesses to see their inventory in real-time and automate the reordering process before they run out. Fishbowl offers integrations with popular e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Magento, and eBay, and shipping providers such as FedEx, UPS, and ShipStation so your customers can track their orders seamlessly from the checkout to the doorstep.
Sortly is a company that focuses on the management of inventory for businesses of all types. Customers range from large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, PepsiCo, and Rock Mechanical to small local businesses. Sortly allows businesses to create customized barcodes and QR codes for their products. The app also allows users to scan barcodes or QR codes from third parties using the in-app scanner. Sortly is featured in several Capterra Top 20 list, including asset tracking and inventory management.
Logiwa provides warehouse management, order fulfillment, and inventory management solutions for businesses. They focus on businesses that operate high-volume business-to-consumer/direct-to-consumer fulfillment centers. Logiwa’s features, such as shipment rule automation or dropshipping allow 3PLs to serve multiple clients simultaneously and operate across multiple warehouses. Capterra has named Logiwa to its Top 20 Supply Chain Management Software List for 2020.
4. Infoplus Commerce
InfoplusCommerce is a flexible WMS that handles order management and shipping. The company offers core WMS for 3PL and warehousing needs as well as add-on modules such as analytics, billing, and returns. Infoplus offers e-commerce companies a number of custom features, such as rate shopping where they can compare rates and find the best shippers to fulfill their orders. They also offer warehouse planning where they can optimize their warehouse layout.
GPS Navigation Apps
You need to let your drivers know the exact location of each order. GPS navigation apps can help them get there.
1. Google Maps
According to The Manifest’s and Statista’s surveys, Google Maps is the most used navigation app. This free app offers real-time navigation while driving, walking, or using public transportation. The app also offers live ETAs, road traffic conditions, and real-time updates. Google Maps provides both online and offline navigation, so drivers can use it in areas without internet connectivity.
Waze is a great navigation app for drivers. While Google Maps offers all-purpose navigation, Waze has specialized features. The crowdsourced traffic and accident alerts it provides are considered more accurate than Google Maps, even though both apps belong to Google. App is free and available for both iOS and Android. Waze does not have offline navigation. This could be a problem for drivers who live in places where there is no connectivity.
3. Garmin DriveSmart 55
The Garmin DriveSmart55 could be an ideal GPS navigation system for drivers who are uncomfortable with using their phones to navigate. Wirecutter has chosen the DriveSmart 55 as its pick for the best car navigation. The DriveSmart 55 has a 1200×720 pixel touchscreen, as well as driver alerts and turn-by-turn navigation. Garmin’s iOS or Android apps can be used by a fleet of delivery vehicles that prefer to use their smartphones for navigation.
Confused about which mapping app you should use? It’s true that the GPS your driver uses is the best GPS. OptimoRoute allows you to send optimized routes straight to the mapping app your driver prefers for easier navigation.
A delivery run can be unpredictable. Things can happen in a matter of seconds. These communication apps will help you stay in touch with your fleet.
Slack provides a platform for communication with businesses of any size. Businesses can organize discussions by projects or teams. Slack offers over 2,000 integrations, so teams can easily coordinate updates between multiple tools. Slack allows delivery companies and logistic providers to communicate across their entire organization. Slack can be downloaded on iOS, Android Mac, Windows, and the Web. It also has a free trial plan for teams that want to test it out.
Recently, Discord has gained popularity as a platform for team communication. Its interface is very similar to Slack and the conversations can be organized into teams or topics. Discord can be accessed on iOS, Android and Mac OS, Windows, and the Web. Discord has fewer limitations in its free plan than Slack. This makes it a great choice for small eCommerce companies and logistics providers.
WhatsApp is a great option if you only want to communicate with your fleet and don’t need the extra features or integrations of Slack or Discord. Group chats are available on the messaging platform, and up to 256 users can participate simultaneously. The messaging platform is available for iOS, Android Mac, Windows, and the Web. WhatsApp is available for free and users can also back up their chat histories.
Mobile POS Systems
Some businesses also collect payments during last-mile deliveries. You can collect payments using a mobile point of sale (POS) without having to delay deliveries.
In the realm of optimizing last-mile delivery operations, the integration of efficient payment solutions is crucial for a seamless transaction process. EFTPOS providers like Smartpay offer robust mobile POS systems that can facilitate on-the-spot payment transactions, ensuring that businesses can collect payments during last-mile deliveries without any delays. This capability is especially beneficial for companies looking to enhance their delivery operations with a streamlined payment process, thereby improving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Square offers POS (Point of Sale) systems to businesses. Square’s chip and contactless (NFC), as well as its magstripe reader, allows businesses to accept payments from customers that have not yet paid for the items. This is particularly useful for businesses that perform in-house delivery or in cases like towing services, where they need to collect payment on the move.
Square charges 2.6% + 10C/per transaction and does not charge extra for its device readers.
NCR is a technology and services company that offers businesses a variety of technology, banking, and payment solutions. MyMobileMoney is their mobile POS system that allows businesses to accept payment with a smartphone and a device reader.
NCR charges 2.4% of the transaction volume plus 15c/per transaction for qualified or mid-qualified businesses and 3.55% + 15c/per transaction for nonqualified businesses.