Delivery lorries stuck in traffic jam

Last-mile delivery is the final stage of the delivery process. (Read about first- and middle-mile delivery in this article.) Last-mile delivery involves getting the product or parcels to the customer’s door. The last mile delivery can be a challenge for many retailers because of the various factors that need to be considered. Things like carrier management, route planning, customer demands, first-time delivery success, on-time deliveries, outdated logistics technology, costs and overall efficiency can all be challenging. So, let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Route planning

One of the biggest challenges of the last-mile delivery process is route planning. Carriers will need to map out a delivery route that’s efficient, avoids traffic congestion, and gets your products to their destination on time. This can be a tricky task, especially if you’re shipping from multiple locations or delivering to multiple territories. However, your carrier service should be able to manage and overcome this with route planning software.

Customer demands

Another big challenge of last-mile delivery is meeting customer demands. Customer expectations have risen massively in the last few years. People expect faster delivery times and more flexibility when it comes to shipping options. They also expect to use branded tracking to track their orders every step of the way. Meeting these demands can be difficult, especially if you’re using outdated delivery software.

To keep up with customer demands, you should invest in modern technology. This might include partnering with a specialist delivery experience platform to implement real-time branded tracking for all deliveries, or with carriers to offer varied shipping options (eg standard, next day, weekend). By staying up to date with customer demands and expectations, you can avoid failed deliveries, and ensure customers are satisfied when your last-mile delivery operation is successful.

On-time deliveries and first-time delivery success

Ensuring on-time deliveries is another big challenge for retailers and brands that ship products. Customers expect their orders to arrive on time, and anything less than perfection can result in lost business. There are many factors that can impact delivery success and “promise met” rates, including traffic congestion, weather conditions, carrier network overwhelm and driver error.

That’s why you need to have systems and software in place that help ensure timely deliveries. This could include offering the customer a variety of delivery options, branded delivery communications and tracking pages so they can get self-service delivery updates if there’s a delay. By having these systems in place to ensure on-time deliveries, you can communicate effectively and keep customers happy.

Outdated logistics technology

Another big challenge facing retailers and brands is outdated logistics technology. Some fulfilment centres still use paper inventory management or manual processes to track shipments through disparate systems. This can lead to errors, delays and wasted time for your warehouse and logistics teams.

If this is something you’re facing, it’s probably time to invest in modern logistics software to help streamline your operations. There are tonnes of software solutions available that can help automate various tasks related to inventory management, and modern shipment and carrier management systems will transform how you operate.


Shipping costs associated with last-mile delivery can be challenging for retailers and brands. The delivery cost of labour, fuel and vehicle maintenance can make carrier partnerships and shipping costs an expensive outlay.

To make things more cost-effective, many businesses are turning to technology solutions such as parcel locker systems and route optimisation software. These solutions can help save money on last-mile delivery by reducing labour costs and increasing efficiency.


To keep costs down and customers happy, you should ensure your last-mile delivery operation is as efficient as possible. This means having real-time visibility of your deliveries so that customer service agents can quickly resolve incoming customer delivery enquiries. By working with a carrier who specialises in last-mile delivery, you can gain insight into delivery status and provide customers with accurate updates.


The final challenge is timelines. Because last-mile deliveries often involve lots of moving parts and tight timelines, it’s important to have carrier partners who can guarantee a fast and reliable service. This might mean having a well-trained team of experienced drivers who know how to navigate city traffic and avoid common delays. It could also mean having a robust fleet of vehicles.

When it comes to choosing a carrier partner for last-mile delivery, be sure to ask about their timeline guarantees and what steps they take to ensure a fast and reliable service.

Last-mile delivery comes with its fair share of challenges for retailers, but by being prepared and using the right technology, you can overcome them. Sorted’s shipping and carrier management platform can help you track and manage your shipping from start to finish, to make navigating the challenges of last-mile delivery much easier.

Customer demands, on-time deliveries, technology, efficiency and timelines are important factors to consider when crafting your last-mile strategy. Keep these challenges in mind as you develop your strategy and you’ll be well on your way to success.