Last Mile Delivery Trends for 2021

January 14

The improvement of shipping logistics will be a central theme for manufacturers and transportation firms in 2021. Consumers and businesses have come to expect low-cost speedy delivery, as shipping conditions now play a role in shaping customer satisfaction. Here are significant last mile delivery trends to look for this year.

Final Stage of Delivery

The phrase "last mile delivery" refers to the final stage of delivery from a parcel terminal to a resident or retailer. Demand for shipping has increased during the pandemic due to social distancing and online shopping convenience. Ideally, packages are delivered as quickly as possible in the final shipping phase for a seamless delivery process that reduces disputes and boosts customer satisfaction.

Steps in the Final Stage of Delivery

  1. Orders are placed in a centralized system - During this phase, orders and requests are tracked by the sender and recipient through tracking numbers.
  2. Orders arrive at the parcel center ready for delivery - The delivery process enters the crucial phase that determines whether the journey from the transportation hub to its destination will be successful.
  3. Orders routed based on recipient addresses - Packages are sorted and routed strategically for the most efficient delivery from point A to point B.
  4. Orders are scanned and loaded onto vehicles - Scanning updates the order, allowing the sender and recipient to track the final checkpoint before completion of delivery.
  5. Proof of delivery upon arrival- The delivery person updates the tracking to confirm the package has reached its final destination.

Trends Impacting Service in 2021

Faster Order Handling - Logistics will become increasingly important as supply chains find ways to rapidly fulfill orders to meet customer expectations, especially for same-day delivery.

Enhancement via Traceability - Package traceability is evolving to become more sophisticated, reliable, and accurate thanks to smartphone apps with GPS features.

In-House Delivery - Various companies beyond Amazon are using their own in-house fleet of vehicles for deliveries from warehouses to recipient destinations.

Rise of Micro Warehousing - Amazon uses over 50 transportation hubs in the United States for its Prime Now same-day delivery service. The online retailer's model has inspired many other companies to expand warehouse space to accommodate their own delivery system.

Exploring Carrier Upsells - Delivery personnel can take advantage of direct contact with customers by upselling them on products associated with their tracked interests.

Investing in Smart Technology - Fulfillment centers have invested in smart technology to monitor products in terms of temperature, humidity, and other factors. Smart technology helps protect the quality and shelf life of products.

Robots and Drones Become More Active - While drivers have not yet been replaced by robots or drones, the development of autonomous vehicles is underway and should eventually be a game-changer. Due to the high cost of delivery, transportation companies of the future will view robots and drones as effective cost-cutting strategies.

Technological Planning for Final Stage Logistics

New technology is helping improve the final phase of delivery as well as same-day delivery. The trend toward refining delivery in its final stage is driven by the need for shippers to gain a competitive edge. The development of self-driving vehicles and drones is expected to redefine future shipping processes.

One of the ways technology is speeding up delivery time is through real-time SMS communication with drivers. Automated dispatchers can notify drivers in real-time when rerouting is necessary. Another example of tech enhancing the delivery process is when the package reaches its destination, and the recipient provides a digital signature as proof of delivery.


Staying updated on last mile delivery trends can help companies improve logistics and gain a technological edge over the competition. With more innovation on the horizon and increasing consumer demand, it's imperative for companies that rely on shipping to look at all the current and future options available for alternative delivery transportation.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

After 25 years in engineering, Johannes Beekman founded IoT Marketing with the goal of helping companies bring wide-scale awareness to their inventions. He received a Master of Science in Physics degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and started his career in the semiconductor field. Johannes pioneered two successful wafer fab startups for Philips Electronics; one in Europe and the second one in Asia. And served as Senior Program Manager for Sematech, where he provided solutions for semiconductor industry-wide product improvement and cost reduction challenges. Johannes has also published articles on several trade-focused websites.


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