Retailers are feeling the pressure to offer same-day delivery. According to Statista, the number of consumers opting for same-day delivery when ordering from a pure-play online retailer jumped from 24% in 2020 to 36% in 2021, and no doubt it’s even higher today. But many retailers struggle to meet the stringent timing and last-mile shipping demands that same-day entails.

As a result, retailers commonly outsource fulfillment of same- or next-day shipping to third-party logistics (3PLs) providers, driving up costs and requiring early cut-off times. That means retailers miss out on a lot of same-day revenue opportunities — and often disappoint customers in the process.  

The Roadie Direct™ warehouse delivery solution provides expanded same-day delivery options for your customers without increasing costs. 

Eliminating 3PL constraints

Roadie Direct™ allows retailers to self-manage their own logistics and achieve many of the same benefits offered by 3PL sorting centers with minimal labor, no excess inventory transfers and without a dedicated third-party facility. Combining Roadie’s proprietary consolidation and routing algorithm, streamlined pre-sorting capabilities using Roadie SmartSort™, and access to the Roadie driver network makes giving their customers ultrafast delivery easier and less expensive than hiring a full-fledged 3PL provider or making extensive technology investments.

By cutting out the 3PLs, retailers can extend the cut-off time for same-day shipping orders as late as their warehouse can handle them — midnight or even the next morning. Roadie Direct™ enables businesses to reach as far as a 50-mile radius around each warehouse location with last-mile delivery, and the Roadie driver network covers 97% of U.S. households.

Fanatics, a global digital sports platform, turned to Roadie Direct™ to offer a local next-day delivery option for fans craving sports gear on a moment’s notice. The move has been a great success, giving customers a memorable experience while providing them quick access to their favorite sports merchandise. 

Direct Warehouse Delivery vs. 3PL fulfillment

When retailers use a 3PL for same-day shipping, the 3PL sets a cut-off time, then retailers pick, pack and consolidate these orders for bulk pickup by the provider, which tenders those parcels to carriers the following day. 

While this strategy meets a need, it comes with some significant drawbacks: the cost of the 3PL’s services, transport fees to move the bulk shipment to warehouses and strict cut-off times. When the 3PL is coming for that bulk same-day order shipment at 5 p.m., it forces retailers to implement early cut-off times for shoppers to place those orders. That means missing out on many same-day shipping revenue opportunities and disappointing customers.  

Using a 3PL also means you can bump up against capacity constraints, reduced service levels, locations they can’t support or other provider limitations — conditions a retailer can’t control even though they impact the customer experience. Getting last-mile delivery right is critical because 84% of customers are unlikely to return after just one negative delivery experience. 

With Roadie Direct™, the retailer controls the same-day shipping experience by setting cut-off times and following the same process of picking, packing and consolidating orders. Then, instead of loading those onto a truck, retailers move consolidated orders to a small, dedicated staging area. A single employee using the Roadie SmartSort™ app on a scanner or other mobile device can sort roughly 500 orders into bins or by routes within 1-2 hours. When each Roadie driver arrives, retail employees use Roadie SmartSort™ again to match the driver to their parcels.

This approach allows a retailer’s customers to place orders later in the day and still receive ultrafast delivery. Cut-off times aren’t decided by when a 3PL will last arrive, but instead the retailer’s warehouse team choosing how late they can pick and stage the orders. And Roadie’s platform lets them see their order every step of the way, so they don’t need to call a customer support desk for information. 

Setting up Roadie Direct™

Retailers can add Roadie Direct™ to their toolkit in as little as a few weeks with no additional hardware investment, space or new staff. With this solution, retailers gain efficiencies in the following areas:

Orders: By integrating Roadie’s API with your ecommerce software, retailers can designate specific SKUs and locations eligible for Roadie Direct™. Starting small and scaling over time with demand ensures a seamless, efficient experience. It pays to experiment with different cut-off times to ensure the process works for both the retail warehouse and customers. 

Space: Set aside a small warehouse area to sort same-day delivery items into bins for each route. If space is at a premium, consider a racking system or picking and staging in waves. 

Staffing: Roadie Direct Warehouse Delivery requires only two tasks from the warehouse staff: sorting orders into delivery bins and ensuring the right bin goes to the right driver. You can scale staff numbers on your order volume, scaling up or down according to demand. For example, a retailer might devote two workers in smaller markets and up to four in areas of higher volume. 

Sortation: The Roadie SmartSort™ app automatically groups orders into routed pickups. This data is delivered right to the retailer’s scanning devices, so warehouse employees can simply scan the barcode on each item and determine to which pickup it belongs.

Routing: Advanced routing and clustering algorithms in Roadie’s platform enables the grouping of a set of orders in the most efficient way. Each driver receives up to 30 items, based on the characteristics of the orders.

Deploying: The same software helps warehouse staff hand-off the orders to drivers. Set aside dedicated parking spaces, and provide clear directions for drivers on where and how to pick up their shipments.

Seizing the same-day opportunity

Consumer expectations and competitive offerings are pressuring retailers to find a way to offer ultrafast delivery. According to Invesp, more than half of retailers offer same-day delivery and 65% plan to offer it within two years. It’s up to each retailer to make ultrafast delivery work for their businesses and customers.

Roadie Direct™ puts retailers in full control of same-day and local next-day delivery experiences, avoiding many of the costs and limitations of 3PL services. With a flexible, scalable solution to same-day shipping, retailers of any size can drive higher revenue and fast, seamless customer delivery experiences.