Retailers today are scrambling to meet customers’ expectations for ultrafast fulfillment. As ecommerce activity continues to rise — and customer demand for same-day delivery increases — having the right mix of last-mile solutions can help retailers meet the challenges of last-mile delivery head-on. 

While traditional carriers will remain an essential part of a retailer’s fulfillment strategy, many have begun to max out on the ability to achieve ultrafast one- or two-day shipping. Retailers must now consider alternative options to diversify their networks.

Diversifying your fulfillment strategy with options such as crowdsourcing helps retailers ensure they can meet delivery demand for any product, anytime, anywhere — building resilience into their fulfillment strategy. 

Why crowdsourcing is your winning strategy for a resilient last mile 

Last-mile delivery is the shortest step in the life cycle of a delivery, but it often takes the longest amount of time. Even the most efficient fulfillment operation can be held up by their last-mile carrier. McKinsey & Co. estimates that “once a package is in the parcel network, traveling the final mile to the customer can take an additional day or more.”

Need extra capacity to handle last-minute orders or help scaling with demand? Crowdsourcing can help. Crowdsourced delivery platforms like Roadie allow retailers to bolster their last-mile distribution, handle existing delivery volumes and comfortably grow their fulfillment capacity with demand. Plus, they can do it without making additional capital investments in their fleets. 

Many retailers are recognizing these benefits and as a result are moving away from relying on a single traditional carrier and instead toward a multi-carrier strategy. Doing so helps them serve different market sectors and connect with their customers faster while adding resilience by making sure no delivery need is left unmet. According to a survey conducted by Bringg of 500 retailers from across the globe, more than half (55%) use multiple solutions for last-mile delivery, and a third (33%) turn to crowdsourced delivery.

Real-time visibility, an added benefit

In addition to ultrafast delivery, customers today also want more visibility around their online orders’ delivery journeys. Because in-house fleets and traditional carriers typically deliver a large number of orders on a single route, they aren’t always able to accurately provide that level of insight into the last mile. Crowdsourcing has emerged as a solution to deliver real-time visibility in the crucial last mile, ensuring your customers can keep tabs on their orders as they head to their door. Real-time visibility is a built-in feature of the Roadie crowdsourced delivery platform — an added benefit to diversifying your carrier network. 

Bridging the gap between online and in-store

Having a mix of last-mile solutions, including on-demand crowdsourced delivery, can also help retailers bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping. A retailer’s existing store network gives them proximity and the possibility of quick access to their customers. As a result, retailers can use their stores as strategic forward distribution centers to help offer same-day shipping to all customers. 

Retailers and customers are recognizing this opportunity, and interest in alternative fulfillment options such as buy online, deliver from store (BODFS) is climbing. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of retailers plan to or currently offer ship-from-store capabilities. Not all retailers have the resources to implement a BODFS model on their own. Crowdsourcing can help offset the costs and complexity of same-day store delivery, while keeping customers happy and deliveries moving out the door. 

In an increasingly competitive ecommerce landscape, retailers that successfully diversify their carrier network to meet consumer demand for ultrafast delivery of any item, any time, anywhere will stand apart from the competition.   

Ready to learn more? Download our whitepaper to learn how crowdsourced delivery 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