The ongoing shortage of truck drivers is colliding with shoppers’ growing appetite for on demand delivery. On top of trying to make do with potentially fewer drivers than they need, retailers that have their own fleets are also dealing with rising fuel and insurance costs. This makes operating profitably a challenge and creates another roadblock to building up enough delivery capacity to meet peak season demand surges. 

Why is the driver shortage happening? Bob Costello, the chief economist for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), explained in a recent report that several factors are driving the shortage, including the COVID-19 pandemic, age demographics of current drivers and limits on who can drive, as well as drug testing requirements, infrastructure issues, difficulty recruiting female drivers and pay. “Because there is no single cause of the driver shortage, that means there is no single solution,” Costello wrote. The ATA believes increased pay, regulatory changes and improved conditions for drivers will be among the answers. 

To combat the impact of truck driver shortages and other economic headwinds facing fleets, retailers need a multi-pronged approach to final mile delivery. This is where crowdsourced delivery networks shine: They match supply with demand, when and where it happens. 

Read on to learn how adding crowdsourced delivery with Roadie to your fulfillment toolkit can help retailers make good on the promise of ultrafast delivery while avoiding the challenges of growing their fleets. 

Why crowdsourcing with Roadie is your detour around the driver shortage

By using a crowdsourced delivery platform like Roadie, you can sidestep driver and asset shortages and add last-mile delivery capacity quickly. Crowdsourced drivers utilize passenger vehicles of all sizes, making it a more flexible and scalable option and allowing you to meet variable demand for all types of deliveries, regardless of market conditions.

While traditional shippers face diminishing fleet capacity, Roadie’s national network of more than 200,000 independent drivers can reach up to 90% of U.S. households with same-day delivery, making it easy to scale up and down with demand. That means you can sell to more customers, and offer them quick and efficient delivery without any large upfront commitments — a huge competitive advantage in today’s stressed last mile.

And even better, drivers using Roadie are available to fulfill orders on demand, so retailers aren’t confined by traditional carriers’ capacity limits and schedules — or even their own. And as peak season demand begins to slow, you aren’t tied to expensive assets you no longer need.

Use your resources and people more effectively

As the ATA’s Costello pointed out, there is no single solution to the trucker shortage. But by working smarter and not harder, you can make sure your business is insulated from its impacts without taking on major costs.

After all, recruiting your own drivers requires advertising, marketing, screenings, background checks — and time from your in-house team. Once hired, those drivers must be paid for downtime and overtime, bringing extra costs to spikes and lulls in demand. In the end, even if you manage through all of that, there are just not enough people interested in trucking jobs.

Instead, you can solve your trucking shortage problem and keep up with demand for ultrafast fulfillment by adding a crowdsourced delivery network to your team’s options for final-mile delivery. With Roadie, you can access a network of 200,000+ drivers only when you need to. This eliminates those hefty downtime and recruitment costs, along with all the work involved in hiring drivers.

4 ways crowdsourcing can soften the blow of the truck driver shortage

Drivers using Roadie work closely with retailers to pick up orders and deliver them to customers, offering a seamless and flexible option for that crucial last mile of delivery. 

Let’s look at how working with Roadie can help you minimize the impacts of the driver shortage, gain loyal customers and find new ways to increase revenue throughout peak season.

Gain loyal customers

Three in five consumers in a recent survey said they will continue to shop with brands that deliver goods the fastest, showing that quick last-mile delivery must continue to be a priority for retailers.

Roadie allows you to skip trucks altogether by enabling delivery from distribution centers (DCs). Instead of trucking orders from your DC to sorting facilities, cut out the middleman and sort and deliver same-day up to 100 miles with one solution. This is great news for retailers that want to expand ultrafast delivery into hard-to-reach markets. 

Delivering items the same or next day can increase customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. By improving your customer reach and adding the flexibility and scalability that peak season demands, you can keep customers coming back all year long.

Increase revenue

You can grow conversion and retention rates by meeting your customers’ expectations for rush shipping and by supporting the logistics models they demand, like direct-to-consumer, warehouse-to-store and buy online pick up in store.

Crowdsourced delivery also makes sending big and bulky products easy and cost effective. Shipping heavy or oversized items with traditional carriers can be costly and take a long time. But Roadie’s crowdsourced delivery model requires less packaging and utilizes a nationwide network of drivers in passenger vehicles of all sizes, making it easier for you to promise same-day delivery across all product lines.

Drive customer excellence

With dedicated account management every step of the way, Roadie makes sure your deliveries happen on time, ensuring SLA fulfillment. And with those last-mile deliveries in good hands, your employees can focus on building customer relationships and providing top-level service that will keep customers coming back season after season.

Track packages in real-time

Cost and capacity aren’t the only frustrations when it comes to final-mile delivery. Customers want to know where their packages are. But last-mile visibility can be a challenge. According to a recent survey from delivery software company Bringg, 61% of retailers find a lack of real-time visibility once their order is out for delivery to be a challenge for improving customer delivery experiences.

Deliveries often fall off the radar once retailers pass them off to a shipper. With Roadie, real-time tracking is available for every order from pickup to drop-off.

Get (and stay) ahead with crowdsourced delivery

The trucker shortage isn’t going away anytime soon. But one thing is for certain: Retailers must find new ways to thrive despite the roadblocks. Roadie can help.

With crowdsourced delivery, you can: 

  • Fulfill rush orders received after your carrier’s daily sweep. 
  • Easily send heavy and bulky shipments that traditional carriers charge extra to take.
  • Broaden your logistical models to keep up with ever-increasing customer expectations. 

Whether you need to scale your short-staffed fleet to meet customers’ same-day delivery needs or keep up with peak season surges, having a crowdsourced delivery option as part of your fulfillment strategy means you can deliver any item, anytime, anywhere.

Ready to get ahead of the game this peak season? Download our playbook to learn how crowdsourcing can help you win and keep customers in the last mile

How crowdsourced delivery can help businesses win and keep customers in the last mile