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The importance of the last mile for the strengthening of local commerce

paquetería en comercio local

Local commerce is the engine of the sustainable economy, fostering entrepreneurship, promoting the unique identity of each environment and strengthening neighbourhood cooperation. This type of trade drives the economic growth of communities located in specific geographic locations, operating locally and offering all kinds of products and services. Some products and services aimed at almost completely satisfying the needs of the inhabitants of the area: local markets, small neighbourhood shops, restaurants… 

Nevertheless, in recent years the businesses that go to make up the local economy have seen their number of competitors grow: e-commerce giants and chain stores spread all over the world. This, combined with the change in global consumption habits, has meant that this type of establishment has had to adapt and even start to operate outside its usual area. A method of survival that also constitutes a great opportunity for growth and profitability.

Last mile in local commerce

Local businesses have had to face many ups and downs in recent years and they have not been minor. Globalisation, more (and more powerful) competition, electronic commerce, new consumer habits, the pandemic… However, there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. The digital revolution is leading to the resurgence of local commerce which has been lying idle for too long. And in this scenario, last mile plays a leading role.

paquetería para comercio local

If we analyse the pros and cons of local commerce compared to large online or multinational platforms, we can observe that the personalised care and the relationship established between the local merchant and the consumer is much more powerful. However, these same merchants suffer when it comes to competing with fast, efficient delivery times, as this is a form of sale for which they have not been prepared until relatively recently. Both due to ignorance, as well as lack of resources or difficulty in accessing them.

At present, home deliveries or to authorised points constitute an opportunity for local businesses to stand out and compete head on with the major companies. Based on last mile, local businesses are facing up to their disadvantages: they are adapting to the new ways of buying online, offering fast, efficient deliveries. In addition, they simultaneously strengthen their commercial relationship with the residents of the area and surroundings. A relationship that consumers tend to support in order to help keep the local economic fabric alive. And by committing to the companies of their community, they contribute to the prosperity of the area and increase their sense of belonging.

Strategies for successful delivery in local commerce

Delivery is a crucial stage in the purchasing process or contract of any product or service. Customer satisfaction will depend on this last link in the supply chain. Therefore, paying special attention to how it is set up is key. All the more so if a local business wants to stand out from its rivals. Thus, drawing up strategies that help optimise distribution at the same time as being affordable with the resources available to the establishment is a decisive factor.

In this post we are not going to go into those details which can be attributed to any company that wants to start offering last mile services (efficient logistics systems, route planning…), but we will focus on those that are especially associated with local commerce. The thing is, in many cases, this type of business does not have enough resources in order to get a fleet of vehicles that allows it to make its deliveries. However, nor does it wish to use courier companies since it prefers to maintain a personal, close relationship with its customers whilst controlling the entire sales process.

Faced with this dilemma, there is a clear solution: the configuration of a fleet of own vehicles on a renting basis. In this way, any local business can organise its delivery service in a personalised way without making large outlays or investments or being tied to any particular vehicles. Renting contracts allow access to personalised monthly budgets, which include a number of benefits such as maintenance included and they can be terminated when they are no longer required. In this way, they become accessible to any type of business. Which can thus manage their delivery service directly.

Furthermore, selecting alternative vehicles for the last mile will also save costs for local businesses. In other words, choosing electric vehicles, with lower usage and maintenance costs. And more sustainable, a very important factor when it comes to local commerce. In this regard, it should be noted that, on many occasions, the administration of towns or cities promotes incentives and support to those businesses which are committed to efficient, sustainable delivery services. Delivery services which can also be shared with other businesses by forming delivery associations or cooperatives in order to save costs.

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