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Last Mile Carrier Shipping: What it Means for Your Print on Demand

by Gooten Editorial Team on Nov. 25, 2022

The holiday shopping season is usually a busy time for print on demand sellers. Shoppers from across the world turn to print on demand outlets for custom gifts. Of course, one of the main concerns is getting those items under the tree in time for the yearly gift exchange. To that end, print on demand companies often get a lot of questions about holiday shipping; in some instances, print on demand sellers may have some holiday shipping questions of their own.

One print on demand shipping term that warrants some explanation is last mile carrier shipping. This is something that is especially relevant when studying tracking confirmation links to receive an update on item whereabouts. Here’s a quick guide to last mile carrier shipping, and to its implications for print on demand sellers.

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Let’s start with a quick definition: Exactly what is last mile delivery?

Any time a customer buys a product from your print on demand store, that product goes on a journey from the warehouse to the back of a truck and eventually to your front door. The term “last mile” refers to the final leg of the journey. Basically, it’s the point at which the product arrives at the customer’s door. This is typically the most expensive part of the entire shipping process, and often the most time-consuming, as well.

What About the Last Mile Problem?

This brings us to the so-called “last mile problem.” If you’ve ever ordered anything from an ecommerce store, and if you’ve tried tracking your product online, then you know shipments can be listed as “out to delivery” for what feels like a very long time. That’s because the “last mile” of the shipping journey usually involves a number of different stops. And in rural areas, in particular, each stop may be several miles apart. Even in more urban areas, the last mile of the shipping journey can be slowed down by traffic congestion.

The “last mile problem” has only gotten worse in recent years, thanks to two related factors. First, there is more ecommerce and print on demand shopping, which means the number of

parcels out for delivery is higher than ever. And second, customer expectations for prompt, free delivery continue to rise

How Much Does Last Mile Delivery Cost?

It’s important to emphasize just how costly last mile delivery is, especially within the broader context of print on demand shipping.

Basically, the last mile accounts for roughly 53 percent of the entire shipping and delivery process. And given the expectations for free shipping, most customers are unwilling to foot the bill for this final stage of the shipping journey.

Solving the Last Mile Problem

A number of ecommerce merchants and print on demand sellers have sought innovative solutions to the last mile problem, trying to contain costs while providing their customers with the free, fast delivery they expect. For example, many print on demand sellers have turned to third-party courier services, as well as crowdsourced solutions, to close that last mile as promptly as possible.

Additionally, we would like to emphasize the importance of choosing the right fulfillment partner. By working with a proven print on demand fulfillment vendor like Gooten, you can ensure the most cost-effective shipping solutions, along with the most positive customer experience.

Finally, allow us to reiterate the importance of transparency about the holiday shipping process. That “last mile” can be unpredictable, which means customers tracking their delivery may notice some hold-ups. It’s important that your customer service team be ready to respond to any concerns, and to explain a little bit about how last mile delivery works.

Choose Gooten for Print on Demand Shipping and Fulfillment

The bottom line? Holiday shipping can be dicey, especially when it comes to the last mile. But working with the right print on demand provider (like Gooten!) can help you deliver the experience your customers crave.