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4 Tips to Handle Last-Mile Deliveries During the Holidays

A comprehensive guide for eCommerce businesses on preparing for the holiday season's last-mile delivery challenges.

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It’s that time of year to start planning your holiday last-mile delivery. While the end-of-year cheer and festivities may seem a long way off, it’s never too early to plan the best course of action for your company’s last-mile holiday delivery.

Table of Contents

  • What is Last-Mile Delivery?
  • Shopping on the Internet is at an All-Time High
  • Last-Mile Delivery Holiday Challenges
  • 1) Analyze Your Previous Data
  • 2) Assemble a Reverse Logistics Plan
  • 3) Offer a White Glove Service
  • 4) Let Customers Track their Deliveries
  • Conclusion

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery, also known as final-mile logistics or final-mile delivery, is the final phase of the delivery process. Last-mile logistics usually starts with product transportation from a distribution centre or warehouse and finishes with delivery to the customer’s doorstep. It is critical to have a highly efficient last-mile delivery mechanism in place. It’s especially crucial over the holidays. Especially at this time.

Shopping on the Internet is at an All-Time High

According to industry estimates, customers in the United States would spend $861.12 billion with online retailers in 2020. The COVID-19 epidemic forced people to spend more time at home than usual due to lockdowns, stringent curfews, and working from home.

This resulted in an increase in new and old home renovation projects, online retail therapy, online grocery shopping, and other activities. Hearing a knock on the door and seeing a gleaming new object on your doorstep was not only convenient, but also exhilarating, especially after seeing just the inside of your house for the previous few months.

As a result, internet expenditure in the United States increased by about 44 percent in 2020, making it the largest annual e-commerce growth in nearly two decades. In reality, internet purchases accounted for 21.3 percent of overall retail sales in 2020. With such a rise in e-commerce spending, it’s safe to assume that retailers will require a strategy for the approaching Christmas season in 2021.

Consumers have gotten accustomed to this new world of internet shopping and doorstep deliveries, despite the fact that many stores have now reopened. Consumers will come to anticipate speedy turnarounds and responsive customer service as the new normal.

According to one study, firms who provide fast, convenient, and transparent deliveries will see a 59 percent increase in sales. While this increase in shopping is beneficial to both businesses and consumers, the increased need for smooth last-mile deliveries, particularly around the holidays, poses a number of issues for retailers.

Last-Mile Delivery Holiday Challenges

Much before the pandemic, the holiday season put stores under even more strain. Customers frequently rush to complete last-minute buying (both in-store and online) in the hopes that their flurry of gifts will arrive in time for them to wrap and gift them for Christmas festivities.

Even with the 44 percent growth in e-commerce shopping, this expectation hasn’t altered. This puts even more pressure on business owners to provide good service and fast results (no pun intended).

In addition to these expectations, the holiday season can result in increased parcel rates and limited capacity. The pressure on shipping and logistics companies is at a breaking point as they continue to operate over their typical capacity in a hectic season and clogged supply chain due to too many deliveries and too few drivers. Traditional package carriers like FedEx and UPS will raise shipping prices over the busy holiday season to fulfill customer last-mile delivery needs and ensure they continue to make cash. Carriers may also be pushed to reduce their package acceptance, leaving smaller retail partners scrambling for a solution and worsening already long shipping delays.

There are a few tips merchants may use to prepare for smooth Christmas last-mile delivery to offset these challenges.

1) Analyze Your Previous Data

You’re doomed to repeat history if you don’t know it. It’s critical for retailers to look back at their past data. Planning ahead for the Christmas season requires analyzing your consumers’ shopping behaviour — and allowing for a spending surge in 2021. Implement progressive delivery management software like EasyRoutes to assist you in preparing for demand fluctuations during the end-of-year holiday shopping season. Delivery management apps can help you weigh the pros and cons of adding more vehicles, as well as determine what resources and people you’ll need to meet substantial increases in online orders.

2) Assemble a Reverse Logistics Plan

With so many orders being placed online, businesses should expect a boom in returns. In every circumstance, a specified reverse logistics strategy is required, regardless of the reason for returning a product (e.g., the product is damaged, the product does not, or the consumer simply changed their mind). A product moves backwards — or “in reverse” — through the supply chain in reverse logistics. Any product retrievals, disposals, or repairs should be accounted for in a solid reverse logistics plan, which should include flexible ways (such as vehicles, return policies, and third-party partnerships).

3) Offer a White Glove Service

White-glove services can assist customers with everything from transporting a product in-house to assembling things for them, as well as taking away and/or disposing of old products, instead of simply dropping off a product at their doorway. These services are in great demand at any time of year, but they’re most sought after during the holiday season, when people are getting rid of their old stuff and replacing it with new. When your services go above and beyond the expectations of your clients, your company’s reputation will likely increase, and you’ll have more return customers.

4) Let Customers Track their Deliveries

In 2021, customers have been spoiled. They want to know not just when the product is expected to arrive, but also when it was delivered, where it is now, and when they may expect to get it. To prepare for the busy Christmas season, make sure your company’s last-mile delivery operations are using cutting-edge technology like EasyRoutes. Consumers will always prefer merchants with innovative technology, whether it’s real-time delivery information through text message or quick customer service responses.


Regardless of the holidays, last-mile delivery issues can be time-consuming and overwhelming. You and your business, on the other hand, can sail through the festive season with the proper delivery partners by your side. EasyRoutes is just such a partner, helping you handle manage your own deliveries, from route optimization to pick and packing to dispatching. You’ll be sure to stay off the Naughty List and at the top of every customer’s Nice List with EasyRoutes by your side!

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About Roundtrip

Roundtrip's mission is to equip every business with the software tools they need to deliver products to their customers in a delightful way. Thousands of Shopify merchants worldwide choose EasyRoutes to power their local deliveries across dozens of product categories, from meal kits and groceries to coffee, cupcakes, kibble, and so much more. Our easy-to-use route planning and delivery optimization app is certified Built for Shopify, a two-time Shopify staff pick, and the top rated local delivery app on the Shopify App Store.

"EasyRoutes has taken a 6 hour a week job and turned it into a single hour."
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