Last Mile Delivery Route Optimization and the Changing Logistics of Grocery Stores

For food retailers there are several unpredictable factors such as last-minute customer requests, specific delivery time windows, and sudden traffic congestion on roads, etc. that can create a disturbance on day-to-day delivery route planning efforts.

The Retail Food Market

E-Commerce has significantly transformed consumer buying behavior.

In recent years, there has been a major shift from retail shopping to eGrocery shopping among consumers.

The caliber of delivering groceries on the same day has completely changed the landscape of grocery purchases and e-grocery supply chain with innovative online retailers.

Though the food retail market has always been chaotic, the current supply chain transformation is more dramatic than ever before.

Food retailers have now started working on consumer satisfaction, catering to the growing appetency for super fast deliveries of everything, from onions to coffee. 

To feed such enormous demands, they are adopting new technologies to handle the last-mile, rethinking distribution network models and inventory optimization, and partnering with technology innovators towards the same. 

What Are The Customer Preferences In Grocery Delivery?

The grocery delivery market is poised for massive growth.

eGrocery (online grocery sales) is expected to be one of the fastest-growing sectors reaching US$84,460 million by 2024.

However, the success of online grocery delivery services depends on two significant factors, time and efficiency.

As an e-grocery retailer, it’s not a cakewalk to deliver fresh produce at the right time to the right customer.

There are several unpredictable factors such as last-minute customer requests, specific delivery time windows, and sudden traffic congestion on roads, etc. that can create a disturbance on day-to-day delivery route planning efforts.

For instance, small scale and mid-sized grocers literally spend hours every day just mapping out the delivery routes manually or using maps only to figure out the best possible route adjusted for the entire day.

What Are The Delivery Challenges In Grocery E-Commerce?

e-retailers who generally provide home delivery services for groceries are the ones who face the most significant logistical challenges, such as inefficient inventory management, higher delivery, and operating costs, perishable nature of goods and also the dynamic buying patterns of consumers. Logistical challenges impact both the back-end delivery fulfillment as well as last-mile distribution (LMD) of grocery orders. 

  • Back-end fulfillment majorly focuses on the picking and devising of an order
  • Last-mile distribution focuses on the decisions that relate to the delivery process, time windows, and locality whenever the returns of orders

At the transportation stage, these grocers usually face Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP), or Vehicle routing problem with time windows (VRPTW). It is because the reliability and span of the time slots strongly impact the results of route planning as well as the consumer’s experience. 

And at the reception stage, some practical solutions are usually employed.  

  • When a customer is not available at the delivery point (i.e., unattended delivery), by delivering the package to nearby neighbors, security guards, etc., or
  • Confirming attendance of the purchaser by calling

These solutions, although helpful but have some significant disadvantages such as time wasted for phone calls or waiting for delivery, security issues of product/orders, storage condition issues, boxes size issues, and more. These cons are especially noticeable in the food delivery sector. 

To tackle the above-listed challenges and to improve home delivery efficiency, e-tailers and logistics providers are now investing in delivery innovation and technology.

Bringing Innovation in Grocery Home Delivery Services

Locus Dispatcher Schedule a Demo

As grocery delivery is time-consuming, businesses must focus more on improving efficiency, and reducing the costs should be on top priority.

This is where delivery optimization comes into light. Advanced delivery optimization software providers, such as Locus, can help in improving your business operational efficiency through quicker route planning and scheduling, which helps in faster delivery rate along with driver monitoring to avoid fraudulent activities.

Your business can reap a range of benefits, just by implementing last-mile delivery optimization software, which helps improve efficiency & customer experience, gain higher profits, and reduce the carbon footprint with its optimal routes.

Download the Bigbasket Case Study – Find out how they achieved 99.5% of on-time delivery to 10 Million + Customers.

Let’s find out how route optimization software can help your business.

Route Optimization to Create Efficient Routes

Proper planning and scheduling of routes help drivers to opt for the best ways to deliver groceries on-time to customers. On-time delivery yields to higher customer satisfaction, which eventually increases your business revenue and reputation.

To plan the fastest route for delivering groceries, one must consider factors like traffic on roads and their conditions, weather conditions, specific delivery time windows, etc. Balancing all of these factors manually for multiple vehicles, multiple routes, and multiple addresses is a time-consuming and challenging task.

Locus’ delivery route optimization software, provides dynamic route optimization that can create accurate and well-optimized routes within no time, regardless of the number of stops you have.

Modified Routes in Real-Time Using Dynamic Routing

Your consumers might change their minds at any time. They can change the delivery time of groceries or request you to deliver the groceries at a different address. Such sudden changes can impact your entire route plan. It takes hours to plan the routes manually again. 

Now let’s consider you’re still able to modify the route plan at the last moment. Yet another constraint is how effectively it can be communicated with drivers to make new changes in the plan or opt for new directions? The only left out option is calling the driver, but disturbing the driver while driving with a phone call could be dangerous.

Locus’s last-mile delivery optimization software solves all of these problems. It requires just a couple of moments to re-create/modify route plans, so juggling for new addresses is not a huge task anymore.

With AI-backed advanced route planning, whatever changes you have made on a pre-planned route will automatically reflect on your driver’s LOTR mobile app.

Monitoring Drivers Performance

Usually, drivers’ performance often tends to weaken when they are not supervised. They may do non-productive, ineffective activities on the road, especially when there is no system to track them, such as running personal errands while on duty or engrossing in habits like unsafe driving, harsh braking, high speeding, or tailgating. 

Download Why Businesses Need Route Optimization

Now the question is how can you track your driver activities?

Locus’ route planner software is also equipped with vehicle monitoring features allowing you to track your drivers’ on-road activities in real-time. Therefore you can make sure your drivers are sticking to the planned routes and following safe driving practices properly.

Locus On the Road or LOTR app helps your business to save logistics costs, improves efficiency in operations and enhances driver performance remarkably. LOTR is an extension of Locus’ Route Optimization solution, Dispatcher and is compatible with both Android and iOS.

Fuel Expenses & Cost Optimization

Locus’ route scheduling and planning software helps you save fuel usage with optimal routes, which reduces the operating costs as well.

When you assign the drivers with the optimal route plan, i.e., shortest and fastest routes, the driving distance and time to travel is consequently reduced, resulting in low fuel consumption.

What is the First Attempt Delivery Rate (FADR)?

Read: When Will My Package Arrive? The Cost of Missed Deliveries

Implementing Locus’ route optimizer in your business can help fortify your logistics operations effectively.

Also, features like real-time reporting and analytics can help you keep track of your fuel expenses and other related notifications related to driver performance, routes, and overall vehicle’s health.

Multi-Stop Route Planning That Settles Customer Disputes

Let’s consider a disagreement from your customer saying his groceries were not delivered while your driver has confirmed the delivery as done, but the confirmation slip is lost somewhere.

Won’t you think that will put you in a tight spot?

No worries! Locus’ multi-stop route planner is equipped with e-Pod, i.e., electronic Proof of Delivery; an eSignature that will settle your disputes right.

This e-Pod feature allows customers to sign after successful delivery on the driver’s mobile app so that it doesn’t get lost anywhere. 

Wrapping It Up

In the age of advanced digitization, forget struggling your way around a map by planning routes manually to deliver groceries.

Locus last-mile delivery software lets you prepare your routes in advance, anticipating the shortest routes possible.

It can eventually help you win the loyalty, attention, and hearts of your beloved customers. 

Finding the right delivery route planner app for your business specific needs is tough and tricky as well, but it’s quite worthy of the effort.

Related Article: AI-Backed Route Planning Solutions for Ecommerce Players

AI-Backed Route Planning Solutions for Ecommerce Players

Related White Papers & Reports

Download the White Paper

Why Businesses Need Route Optimization
This white paper provides an in-depth look at how route optimization software can provide the most direct and most efficient route to all your stops and destinations, and how it allows you to save money, time, and energy every time you travel from one location to another. Download Now!

Download How Bigbasket Achieved 99.5% On-Time Delivery for 10mn+ Customers

How Bigbasket Achieved 99.5% On-Time Delivery for 10mn+ Customers
Discover how Bigbasket, with operations in 25+ cities and over 15,000+ products, achieved 99.5% on-time delivery for over 10 million customers. Download Now!

More Resources from Locus

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Locus’ order-to-delivery dispatch management software helps enterprises transform their Last-Mile logistics from cost centers to revenue generators through advanced optimization algorithms and intuitive workflow automation. It has helped many global customers across industries – Unilever, Nestle, Bukalapak, BlueDart, etc. – execute 850 million deliveries across 30+ countries. Its technology has also helped save $275 million in transit costs and offset 10 million kilograms in CO2 emissions while maintaining a 99.5% SLA adherence ratio.

View Locus company profile


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