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As eCommerce remains to be the fastest growing sales channel globally (20% as per www.statista.com) so are online shoppers’ expectations of last mile delivery (LMD) services.

According to Wikipedia, last mile is used in transportation planning to describe the movement of people and goods from a hub to a final destination. In eCommerce terms, it is the delivery of sold items to the customer. Simple enough? Maybe, but please don’t underestimate its importance to your eBusiness as it is the only time your customers will come face to face with a human being in this purchase, which may change soon, but that’s for another post.

In Lebanon, you have a number of companies to chose from: Aramex, DHL, Wakilni, Hop ‘n Drop, Rapid, Al Bostaji and others covering domestic and international orders.

So how are you going to chose? For starters, international orders are really only covered by Aramex and DHL. For domestic orders, this is what you need to consider when choosing:

Technology: knowing a little about what kind of tech your prospective LMD provider uses can tell you a lot. Good IoT and data collection technologies help you (the retailer) and your customer know where the delivery is, its movement and when it will arrive. It allows LMD providers to have better loading/unloading from end to end, better routing considering weather and traffic in the interest of better and more efficient deliveries. These technologies allow last mile companies to identify certain inefficiencies and unnecessary costs in an attempt to do better work which reflects positively on your brand and improves your chances of repeat orders and good word of mouth. Believe me, no one is going to say I love brand X but they were unlucky in their choice of LMD! Bad LMD reflects badly on your brand, period.

Reviews: before choosing your LMD partner, check out their reviews on social media or Google. If you can’t find any but still feel they are a good fit, check out who their clients are on their website and be sure to call one or two of them, especially if you know them. Don’t call a direct competitor as it might be awkward but choose someone with a similar nature of business.

Risk vs. Cost: Do you choose a larger legacy brand that has been around for a number of years and is solid or do you choose one of the new upstarts that could offer you cheaper and faster service? Always think of your customer, your brand’s image and then your bottom line.

Fleet: One of the biggest problems facing all roads in and leading to our nation’s capital is traffic. Large vehicles cover areas outside Beirut but in the city are not suitable to avoid traffic jams and will not move until they have a full load which will result in longer delivery times. The majority of LMD providers use scooters bikes to make their deliveries which allows you the luxury of offering same day delivery but you must be weary of the driver’s overall appearance in this case. Also, how large is their fleet? Do they cover all of Lebanon? Or just Greater Beirut? Check where the bulk of your local business comes from and make sure you are well catered to.

Finally, after reviewing the above and choosing an LMD provider, follow up early orders: track progress, call customers to make sure they were satisfied ensuring, it will reflect positively on your brand, as will that phone call. Good luck, work hard, but don’t forget to have fun.

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