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Overcoming Last Mile Delivery Challenges This Valentine’s Day

Contributed By Sean Spector, CEO, Dropoff

While January is typically a slow month for retailers following the holiday rush, Valentine’s Day can be a quick turning point for retail profitability. All of the gifts, cards and celebrations may seem effortless on the surface, but comprehensive logistics begin months in advance behind the scenes. Ultimately, that planning leads up to one day — February 14th — when florists, chocolatiers, bakeries and other retailers scramble to get deliveries out the door and to their recipients within a narrow time frame.

Needless to say, the pressure is on. It only takes one bad experience, or one bunch of roses delivered a day late, for shoppers to take their business elsewhere — and let others know too.

The Logistics of Love

The logistics of getting gift purchases out the door and into the right hands on-time are extensive. Among the hurdles businesses are likely to face are:

  • Consumers are placing orders later and later. The Society of American Florists reported 38% of 2017 Valentine’s Day orders came in the day-of, while only 13% did in 2016. Planning delivery routes becomes far more complex with the rise in last-minute orders.
  • Gauging the number of drivers needed for the busy holiday is tough, especially with so many last minute orders. The process of hiring surplus staff needs to begin weeks before Valentine’s Day. Too few drivers, and you risk deliveries arriving late. Too many drivers, and you’re paying for unused time. Not to mention the fact that the need for extra drivers is only temporary.
  • Managing an even larger delivery vehicle fleet than usual can present a whole new set of challenges. Unexpected vehicle expenses arise often, and predicting these costs upfront can be a shot in the dark. The hidden expenses are easy to ignore, but tough to recover from.
  • Assigning deliveries to the right driver and gauging their availability and current location is no easy feat. Technology solutions are almost essential to keep things moving efficiently and handle unexpected complications in real-time. But these are expensive, require time and resources to develop, and are often outside the realm of a flower shop or bakery’s expertise.
  • Last mile delivery, or the final transit of a product to its destination, can be the most expensive and poses numerous challenges for businesses. But it’s also the most crucial aspect of the delivery chain for this holiday. Often, the well-known parcel delivery companies aren’t able to offer the level of flexibility that most businesses need, and that customers require.

Tackling the Last Mile on Valentine’s Day

So how can businesses better prepare for the flood of orders — many of them last-minute — on Valentine’s Day? Teaming up with a third-party logistics partner that specializes in last mile delivery can alleviate an enormous burden. Businesses can gain access to a large pool of drivers and vehicles without the extra costs, liabilities and headaches of doing it on their own.

Look for a partner that offers real-time tracking and accurate ETAs, with delivery confirmations and signature verifications. Having visibility into where each and every order is enroute, which ones have been completed, and confirmation that it was received provides the ultimate peace of mind.

The best logistics companies leverage technology that dispatches deliveries the most efficient way possible and can even adjust routes based on real-time traffic and weather conditions. If a new order is placed while en-route, or another driver is unable to complete a delivery, changes can be made and the driver’s route is updated, allowing for more deliveries to be completed in a shorter window of time.

For businesses with an e-commerce site, working with a delivery partner that offers an API that connects to your site or warehouse management software is key. It allows customers to seamlessly request same-day delivery via your website, and both parties can see live-map tracking and email confirmations.

Dropoff works with businesses across many industries, including retail, floral and food and grocery, to provide reliable and professional same-day delivery services. Not only is real-time tracking available for every order via our proprietary technology, but enterprise clients can simultaneously track all their deliveries across multiple stores, cities, regions and nationally via the Dropoff Tracker tool.

JoyBox Fine Flowers, a local floral design shop with a unique twist on the traditional flower vase, has seen tremendous growth in business in the year since it opened in Houston, TX. Owner and President, Layla Asgari, says “We wouldn’t have grown to where we are today without Dropoff. Holidays like Valentine’s Day require immense coordination outside of the delivery aspect alone. Using a service like this allows us to focus on the internal logistics, and we can rest easy knowing all of our deliveries are getting to their destinations efficiently and with care.” She added that the same-day delivery aspect is huge hit and sets JoyBox Fine Flowers apart from others. With the rise in same-day requests, being able to fulfill those orders and track them all on a mobile app is immensely helpful, especially since she, like many other small business owners, runs her business from her phone.   

Offload Last-Mile Costs without Sacrificing Customer Service

Let’s face it: last-mile costs aren’t going to fall in the near future. However, there are ways to offset them by partnering with a professional and reliable delivery partner. Taking advantage of a fleet of drivers and vehicles, backed by cutting-edge technology, can help your business meet expectations for same-day delivery without breaking the bank. The right partner can become an extension of your business and will represent your brand as you would yourself.

Contributed by Sean Spector on behalf of Dropoff, which helps solve same-day delivery challenges for business. Dropoff provides easy web and mobile ordering, flexible delivery options, transparent pricing, real-time tracking and confirmations, up-to-the-minute ETAs, delivery driver ratings and a feature-rich API for seamless logistics platform integration. Contact Dropoff today to find out how they can streamline your delivery needs. Learn more at Dropoff.com.

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