How the Pandemic Has Forever Changed Last Mile Delivery in Houston

delivery truck over map

Talking about how the pandemic has changed everything is getting almost as tiresome as the pandemic itself. But the profound changes society has endured over the last two years are undeniable. You can see them everywhere. The pandemic has even had a permanent impact on last mile delivery. It has changed a core part of our business forever.

We used to talk about last mile delivery in Houston in passing. Last mile delivery was more of a logistics problem that could be overcome with some creative thinking and enough boots on the ground. With coronavirus now reaching an endemic stage in most places, we all want to get back to normal. But what is normal for last mile delivery? It is not what it was three years ago.

Accelerating E-Commerce

The most profound change is actually not the most surprising: the acceleration of e-commerce. Business experts have been talking about e-commerce growth and eventual dominance for quite a while. The pandemic affected it only in the sense that it accelerated e-commerce plans that we all thought were 5 to 10 years off.

What we were all planning for in the next decade has already arrived, thanks to coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing. E-commerce exploded when people had nowhere to go. Overnight, companies that had never thought of last mile delivery suddenly found it one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.

It would be easy to expect e-commerce to return to pre-pandemic levels now that stores are open and people are resuming their normal lives. But that hasn’t happened. E-commerce remains on upward trajectory for several big reasons:

  • It is easy
  • It is convenient
  • It can be done on the consumer’s schedule
  • It doesn’t require getting the car going somewhere.

Between last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment, we have seen the growth in our own company. It shows no signs of receding. Furthermore, we are starting to notice those companies unwilling to accelerate their own e-commerce plans beginning to fall behind.

Customers Know What They Want

Last mile delivery is all about the end user. It is about the retail customer and their needs and expectations. The one thing that should never be ignored is the fact that customers know what they want. Not only that, but they are also willing to change their shopping habits to ensure they get it.

Just as an example, a 2020 study from the Capgemini Research Institute demonstrated that 60% of consumers are reticent about buying from companies they don’t believe are sustainable. Another 2020 study from Research Insights says just as many people are willing to change how they make purchases in order to reduce their own carbon footprints.

Combine those two studies and it is clear that consumers are willing to determine the retailers they purchase from based on sustainability efforts. Those companies striving to be more sustainable in everything from order fulfillment to last mile delivery will have an advantage.

Rethinking the World

The pandemic has consumers rethinking the entire world. Despite its inconveniences, challenges, and pressures, being restricted by COVID-19 rules has caused many of us to question whether there are better ways of doing things. And for many people, e-commerce is a better way. Retailers are going to have to adapt, including finding reliable last mile delivery solutions.

Last mile delivery is not only here to stay, but it is also poised to grow considerably in the coming years. We consider it our responsibility to be leaders in last mile delivery throughout the Houston area. The future is here now. We saw it, and were ready to take action.