If you’re running an eCommerce business, you’ve likely heard the term last-mile delivery being thrown around when it comes to shipping. However, not many people grasp what that actually means. Let’s break it down.
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Last-Mile Delivery in a Nutshell
Here’s the gist of it. “Last-Mile Delivery” describes the movement of goods from a fulfillment center to their final destination. These “fulfillment centers” can either be warehouses or your garage, depending on how you’ve structured your business. In layman’s terms, “the last mile” is just a metaphor for the final leg of your product’s journey before it lands on your customer’s doorstep. Technically speaking, every product your customers receive crosses “the last mile.” That’s not so complicated, right?
More often than not, you’ll find that USPS is the shipping carrier that completes the last-mile delivery. Other companies like UPS and FedEx carry out their own last-mile delivery in many cases. However, even they partner with USPS sometimes to complete last-mile delivery. It makes sense if you think about it. After all, USPS is the only carrier that touches every single residential address in the United States every day because of mail delivery for some of their postage products.
Why Other Carriers Rely on USPS for Last-Mile Delivery
Some carriers rely on USPS to deliver packages past the “last mile” as a cost-saving measure. When transporting packages going to a certain region, a carrier like UPS or FedEx can save time, fuel, and labor costs by dropping off the packages at that region’s USPS sorting center. There, USPS accepts the packages into its network and delivers each one to its final destination. Think of it kind of like this: on a football field, the partner carrier (USPS or FedEx) transports the package all the way across the field to the 1-yard line. From there, USPS takes the package and drops it off in the endzone.
Outside of USPS, some regional carriers also execute this final leg of delivery within the United States. LaserShip and OnTrac are two of the most popular regional carriers that execute last-mile delivery for direct-to-consumer brands on the East and West Coasts, respectively. If you live in the Northeast and have ordered items from Amazon recently, chances are a LaserShip carrier has handed you the package!