Four out of five Americans are still uncomfortable with returning to “normal” out-of-home activities, according to McKinsey’s consumer sentiment survey during COVID-19. Due to the persistent in-store slump, many businesses are looking toward last mile home delivery to increase their profits.
Because costs can add up so quickly in your product’s last mile journey to the customer, it’s vital that you have all the information you need to choose the right last mile carrier for your business. With the right last mile carrier partner, businesses can reduce last mile delivery costs and significantly improve profitability.
FIDELITONE has compiled this resource to help you understand the different types of last mile carriers as well as FIDELITONE’s unique advantages as a last mile carrier service provider.
Learn how to optimize your last mile carrier partnerships to help increase profits, and discover how FIDELITONE’s last mile solutions can help your business provide exceptional delivery experiences to earn customer loyalty.
What is a last mile carrier?
Simply put, a last mile carrier transports a product from the final shipping processing hub and delivers it to the end customer. Carriers differ by the method of transportation, level of customer service provided and the size and quantity of products delivered.
Types of last mile carriers
For businesses shipping a variety of products to a mixture of consumers and businesses, a single last mile carrier likely won’t be enough. Many businesses use a mixture of LTL (less than truckload) carriers, truckload carriers, parcel carriers, and white glove delivery carriers, because each carrier type offers unique services.
Review the capabilities of each last mile carrier type, and choose the right composition of last mile delivery partners to optimize and reduce your supply chain costs.
White glove last mile carriers
White glove last mile carriers deliver larger products—usually over 50lbs—to homes and businesses. White glove carriers offer multiple service levels, making room-of-choice and in-home assembly deliveries a positive experience for customers.
White glove carriers are preferred by brands that need to ensure product quality upon arrival. Larger goods, like furniture and appliances, are often delivered by white glove carriers, because white glove services reduce return rates, improve customer satisfaction, and earn customer loyalty to improve profit margins. (See Last Mile Delivery for Furniture Retailers: Obstacles & Opportunities, a study conducted in partnership with Furniture Today Strategic Insights)
FIDELITONE specializes in high-touch, white glove delivery to homes and businesses. With expertise in both commingled and dedicated last mile delivery warehousing, FIDELITONE’s last mile services gain the cost-efficiencies of scale without sacrificing high-value customer experiences that earn loyalty.
Technology and convenience play a big role in making exceptional delivery experiences, and FIDELITONE helps its partners offer convenience to customers with appointment window self-scheduling and tracking technology.
Additionally, the FIDELITONE scheduling and routing experts help ensure that your carriers are efficiently routed to reduce your last mile delivery costs.
LTL last mile carriers (less than truckload)
LTL carriers transport products that do not require a full truckload. Often carrying palletized loads from multiple clients, LTL carriers charge shippers based on the freight class of the items shipped and the distance between pickup and delivery locations.
LTL is often chosen for its cost-efficiencies for smaller shipments or by smaller businesses that do not consistently ship enough to warrant a more robust solution. However, these cost-efficiencies may come at the price of consistency and customer experience.
When choosing a LTL carrier, be sure to be wary of some of the trade-offs, like:
- Slower deliveries and little flexibility. LTL carrier deliveries tend to be slower, because they’re retrieving products from multiple hubs. LTL carriers also can’t reliably offer customers much choice in delivery time.
- Single level of service. LTL carriers aren’t going to be familiar with your brand, and are less customer-centric. Many LTL carriers simply pick up the order from a loading dock, never cross the threshold in home delivery, and often provide limited tracking.
- Logistical burdens. Coordinating with LTL carriers can be a logistical challenge for your business and accounting, especially if the distance to end customers changes frequently.
Parcel last mile carriers
Parcel last mile carriers transport small packages, usually weighing under 50 pounds. Instead of being secured and palletized, parcels sit loosely in delivery trucks. Parcel delivery is an obvious choice for retailers shipping many small packages to addresses across the country (although the ring-and-run delivery experience does leave something to be desired on the customer experience side of things).
However, there are times when businesses that ship small parcels would want to choose another carrier model over parcel delivery.
Nowadays, parcel carriers often charge additional fees when shipping to residential addresses, making multi-level carrier service providers that can deliver to home or business more attractive.
Additionally, white glove delivery services are preferred for larger deliveries over 50 pounds. These bigger purchases usually warrant the higher level of customer service that white glove carriers provide. When parcel carriers and large parcel delivery carriers face off, both B2B and consumer customers prefer the level of service and care of multi-level carrier service providers, because orders arrive in better condition and on a more timely basis.
Full truckload last mile carriers
Finally, full truckload last mile carriers service clients whose delivery hauls are large enough to occupy a whole truck. Full truckload is preferred by businesses shipping freight in large quantities or unbalanced loads. Oftentimes, the freight is destined for a single location, making a full truckload more efficient.
While full truckload is faster and more efficient for high-volume shipments, full truckload is often cost-prohibitive, even for large regional businesses.
FIDELITONE’s last mile carrier expertise
As a multi-level last mile carrier service provider, FIDELITONE is uniquely positioned to give customers control and convenience through last mile delivery solutions that allow businesses to retain loyal customers and grow sales. FIDELITONE provides exceptional customer experiences in B2B and home delivery with white glove, room-of-choice, threshold, and curbside delivery solutions.
Dedicated last mile delivery services
FIDELITONE can dedicate delivery teams and trucks solely to your business. In this model, last mile carriers are outfitted with branded uniforms and trucks, and warehouse and office staff are assigned to coordinate the delivery operations from your warehouse, ensuring high-quality service and improving brand perception.
This model is ideal for brands who have their own warehouse space and seek to provide customers with high-touch delivery experiences, including white-glove delivery services like in-home assembly and room-of-choice delivery. Furniture retailers, appliance retailers, and big and bulky shippers with their own warehouse space often consider this model to provide cost-effective last mile delivery to their customers.
Multi-client last mile delivery services
Multi-client last mile delivery services allow businesses to leverage FIDELITONE’s nationwide network of last mile delivery warehouses to improve service, gain cost-efficiencies, and provide scalability. In this model, your products are commingled with other products in shared last mile carrier trucks, all while ensuring high-quality delivery experiences.
This model is ideal for brands trying to break into a market without dedicated warehouse space in the region. Clients who choose this model benefit FIDELITONE’s attention to detail, which helps businesses grow into new markets.
Last mile carrier technology
In both models, FIDELITONE provides important insights through last mile delivery technology. Businesses benefit from real-time visibility into their inventory and are able to track deliveries through the FIDELITONE partner portal. Customers can also self-schedule and track and trace their deliveries, helping to ensure a positive experience that earns customer loyalty.
FIDELITONE: Flexible, customer-centric last mile carrier service provider
FIDELITONE offers value to its last mile delivery clients by bringing cost-effective tactics to the table. By investing in the capacity to earn customer loyalty through high-touch delivery services, FIDELITONE is helping its clients grow their sales in a time when more consumers than ever are seeking high-quality delivery experiences.