Technology is advancing at a fast rate. With the constant development in technology, the fields of e-Commerce, retail, food items, and other fields including their associated fields find new scopes of development. Development in quality of products or even the system of tracking of the delivery of goods and many more are on the line of constant development, changes and updation. Such a development is seen in the product management and delivery system. New technologies have led to new aspects in these sectors and have highly influenced the functioning of such industries. Software, mobile applications, and third-party services have become common that play a major role in the delivery of products and goods across different parts of the world and even across nearby places, say from the nearest grocery store to the consumer's location within the same city. Mentions should be made of two very significant systems of delivery — the hyperlocal delivery system and the last-mile delivery system. Both of these delivery systems have their unique features and conditions that are mentioned ahead. They find their new niches, especially in the post-COVID-19 period. Technology is the key driving force that leads to the smooth functioning of both these delivery services.
When a company involving logistics delivers the products and goods directly from the seller to the consumer, it is known as hyperlocal delivery. The delivery agent makes the task of delivering the desired items from the sellers to the homes of the target consumers. Hyperlocal deliveries improve consumer experience as the goods are delivered within a very less time as compared to last-mile delivery. It supports the businesses of the local sellers and makes the tasks of the retailers even easier than any other mode of delivery. Such deliveries allow the tracking of real-time by the consumers.
Hyperlocal delivery has four different models. These are:
This type of hyperlocal delivery is offered by stores or sellers who have already established their market and want to better their services by offering hyperlocal delivery so that their products are easier to reach consumers. Brands such as Domino's, Big Basket, and so on using this model.
This type of model enables the users to order their products online and pick up their products from the nearest store. The order that the customer has asked for is prepared and arranged for getting sold when the customer reaches the store for the products.
This type of delivery system allows the customers to have the free choice of getting their products at home or receiving it from the nearest store. This ensures consumer convenience.
In this model, there is an intermediate between the store and the consumers that allows the facilities, products, and services of the store to be reached widely to the access of the consumers. It connects the local store with the customers. Zomato and Instacart are two examples of such types of models.
Last-mile delivery is the last step of the delivery process that involves the transportation of the goods from the transportation hub to the homes of the customers. Due to the increasing levels of demand in the retail sector, it has become extremely cost-concerning for making this last step of delivery in an efficient manner. This is the target of most of the companies that are involved in this industry for the fast delivery of goods to the consumers. Last-mile delivery takes place after all the other processes in the delivery operations, other than the delivery of the goods to the required location, have been completed.
Last-mile delivery is the last step of the basic operations that go under the following steps —
● Firstly, orders placed by the customers are entered into a central system administering this delivery system.
● The next step is that the goods from the manufacturing unit or the supplier arrive at the transportation center from where they will be delivered to the customer's home.
● The routes for the delivery are optimized and the goods are handed over to the delivery executive.
● Items are loaded into the vehicles.
● The items are delivered to the customers after maintaining the proof of delivery which is signed by the customers.
In the last-mile delivery system, generally, the goods are expected to be delivered as fast as possible along with precision in the tracking of the orders. Also, security and insurance are looked upon and the consumers expect a convenient and consumer-friendly experience.
The last-mile delivery is the last of the delivery process. The other steps included before last-mile delivery is performed are the delivery of the goods from the manufacturing unit center to the nearest transportation hub. Therefore, last-mile delivery is dependent on the time taken by the product or goods to arrive at the transportation hub from the manufacturing unit center. The availability of the products or goods and the distance between the manufacturing unit center and the transportation hub are the key factors affecting last-mile delivery. Due to these factors, even if the time taken for last-mile delivery is just a couple of hours, it may take longer for the goods to reach the customer's location due to the longer time required for the goods to reach the transportation hub from the manufacturing unit center.
Hyperlocal delivery is fast and the time taken by the products to reach the customer's location varies from around 2-3 hours to around 6-7 hours. Hyperlocal delivery takes lesser time than last-mile delivery and its other processes due to the smaller geographical area within which the goods travel from the sellers to the customers. The packaging speed and the availability of products affect hyperlocal delivery time.
For last-mile delivery, the delivery processes are handled by one transportation company as the transportation agency and the other processes affecting this delivery are also taken care of by this transportation agent. But, different mediums for transportation are required which are again handled by this agent. In hyperlocal delivery, only one agent is present and this agent handles only one operation, that is, the delivery of the goods from the sellers to the customers. No two or more processes are handled by transportation agencies in the case of hyperlocal delivery.
Last-mile delivery involves the transportation of goods over a large geographical area. Sometimes it may vary from cities to even between two or more countries. However, all the different media of transportation are handled by one single agent. On the other hand, hyperlocal delivery occurs within a smaller area than that last-mile delivery. Hyperlocal deliveries generally occur within a city and the transportation agent handles only one single process, that is transportation of goods from the sellers to the consumer's location. These deliveries occur within a radius of 20 kilometers.
Last-mile delivery transports all kinds of items, from fragile items to apparel and even furniture over large areas. However, fresh goods and food products are not preferred to be delivered through this medium. This is because such deliveries take a large amount of time. The sellers charge the customers based on product weight and distance to be traveled. On the contrary, hyperlocal delivery allows the transportation of goods within the weight range of around 15-30 kilograms. Most of these deliveries are transported via regular means of transport like two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and sometimes even four-wheelers. Groceries, fresh foods, medicines, and so on are generally transported using hyperlocal delivery due to less time involved in such deliveries.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of both hyperlocal deliveries as well as last-mile delivery. Hyperlocal Delivery ensures effective delivery within a short period. The deliveries are controlled and managed by only one platform of authority. It ensures the visibility of operations to the consumers and allows the consumers to give feedback about their overall experience. This delivery system ensures that the local businesses are functioning well, thereby, supporting local businesses. To develop a hyperlocal delivery system, there is no need to establish an online store. These are a few of the many advantages of hyperlocal delivery systems.
Last-mile delivery faces an increase in the amount of cost that is to be borne by the consumers. Lack of efficiency, user transparency, and security are the most common issues faced by last-mile delivery systems. Damage to the goods is another important drawback that consumers generally face. Also, when the wrong products get delivered, it becomes very hard to get the correct order in place which is again time-consuming. The key outcome is to develop software that ensures efficiency in the delivery of services.
High levels of competition, problems with routes, inefficient management, planning of multi-drop delivery routes, and so on are some disadvantages of hyperlocal delivery systems. The key outcome is to develop software that would ensure the well-functioning, management, and planning of hyperlocal delivery systems. This would lead to the delivery services reaching new heights of development.
In the post-COVID-19 period, the demands for both hyperlocal delivery systems as well as the last-mile delivery system have increased due to the presence of the online platform where trades and exchanges were made and goods and products were bought from online stores instead of physical buying and selling off goods. This increased the load on the delivery services and it can be said that the delivery services as well as the local stores got a platform to prove their services to the consumers. This has been possible only due to the development of new technologies. All these effects of the pandemic have been seen to increase the demand for the delivery of goods through these two delivery services, with hyperlocal services being the most commonly used delivery system for the delivery of consumer goods. Also, brands which adopt a Hyperlocal Delivery Business Model can have a lot of benefits as it targets a local economy.
It can be stated that the delivery of goods has been possible only with the help of various technologies and this has led to the advancements to be made in developing the software programs that help third-party services to conduct the transportation of products and delivery to the respected customers. We can see that hyperlocal delivery systems as well as the last-mile delivery system, both, are based on software programs that in turn ensure the smooth functioning of the companies, stores, and brands that are offering such delivery services. The efficiency of all the third-party services as well as the local stores is dependent on the efficiency of the software systems. It can also be noted that the development of such delivery systems will be possible only when there would be better software programs and applications that function behind the delivery processes and services. Overall, it can thus be asserted that the development of new technology is a must for these delivery operations to take place effectively. This would ultimately help society in the long run. One such example of the benefits of the advancements in technology is that during the pandemic, the delivery of goods to the consumer's homes was possible only due to the existence of such developed technologies. If the processes of delivery of goods need to be developed, the first key role is to see the efficiency of the software systems and the technologies that are solely responsible for the functioning of these services. Only then can the betterment for a larger purpose and the larger mass of people can take place.
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