City centre distribution: the last mile or the logistics of conquest

Up until today, transport was traditionally an activity solely performed by professionals with a structure capable of offering scalable services. But as for the final delivery, also known as the last mile, in an urban environment, this is no longer the case. A revolution has been underway over the past few years due to the masses of online purchases of all sizes which have to be delivered to the buyer.

BULKING DELIVERIES TO BE MORE EFFICIENT

The change in consumer patterns is continuing to grow, as evidenced by the latest findings of the Médiamétrie Internet Uses Observatory for the first quarter of 2017, a period in which 36.6 million web visitors (83%) made at least one online purchase. This represents an increase of 1,035,000 online shoppers in a year.

«The number of online shoppers is continuing to rise, driven by the wider distribution of new Internet screens (smartphones and tablets) and the increase in the number of specialist e-commerce sites. A majority of online shoppers (53.6%) are regulars and made a purchase in the last month, which is 6.4 points up in a year,» explains Bertrand KING, deputy director of MÉDIAMÉTRIE//NETRATINGS. And yet consumers have not turned their back on local traders. It can be noted that more than 9 in 10 people like to visit local shops, including 40% to support the economic activity of the region or the town they live in.

Up until today, transport was traditionally an activity solely performed by professionals with a structure capable of offering scalable services. But as for the final delivery, also known as the last mile, in an urban environment, this is no longer the case. A revolution has been underway over the past few years due to the masses of online purchases of all sizes which have to be delivered to the buyer.

However, 61% of online shoppers say that online stores are the only place they can find affordable goods. At the top of the list, AMAZON boasts 23 million visitors per month, followed by CDISCOUNT with 16.659 million. In France, there are 200,000 websites that sell goods.

All of this means that millions of parcels must be delivered as quickly as possible, both to individuals and to shops. The last mile comprises a maze of difficulties, starting with traffic congestion in the centres of cities already staunchly opposed to cars and LCVs running on fossil fuels. Road transportation dedicated to last mile deliveries has become an open air laboratory in which everyone experiments their own ideas to try and validate them. There are many solutions, one of which is to «bulk» deliveries. This means using well-positioned pick-up points or lockers, which are being tested at the moment, and the buyer is required to drop by to pick their parcel up whereas they would generally prefer to be delivered at home.

Cooperation, solutions, imaginative carriers, smart city... everything you need to know about city centre distribution is in our file!

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Last-mile deliveries in the spotlight at SOLUTRANS 2017: