first-mile delivery

What Is First-Mile Delivery for Businesses?


With the boom of e-commerce, shippers and logistics suppliers need to service their customers better than ever. Consumers need quick deliveries, guaranteed visibility, and convenience from anyone offering logistic services. But while much progress is evident for last-mile delivery, very little or nothing has changed for the first-mile delivery. Both first mile and last mile deliveries have much in common.

What is First Mile Delivery?

First-mile delivery is basically a business-to-consumer (B2C) process. It involves transporting goods from one point to another in the first leg of the supply chain. However, depending on the nature of the supply chain or industry involved, the term could bear a different meaning altogether.

Here are some descriptions of the term first-mile delivery as used by different supply chains and industries.

1. Retailers

The first-mile delivery moves goods from a warehouse to the local distribution outlets or stores. It acts as an intermediate step, where the transportation of goods takes good form a distribution point to retail stores in different locations. However, most retailers skip this step and have their goods delivered directly to the retail stores.

2. Logistics Services Providers

First mile delivery for logistics service providers could mean two things, all of which involve picking up goods from one location and transferring them to another.

  • First, the picked-up goods could come to the logistics company warehouse for shipping to the final destination later.
  • Second, the goods are then subsequently lined up under scheduled delivery at this point.

Alternatively, the logistics service provider could offer same-day delivery by picking up goods from the shipper and transporting them to the end-user. The same case applies when making an express delivery as it saves time and money.

3. Moving Or Storage Company

When a moving or storage company is part of the supply chain, first-mile delivery entails picking up items from a client’s home or store and transporting them to a different location. In most cases, moving or storage companies offer same-day delivery or arrange for scheduled delivery.

4. E-Commerce

In e-commerce, first-mile delivery involves picking up goods from retailers and transporting them to a courier service. They then deliver the goods to the actual end-user. To offer the best customer satisfaction, the e-commerce sector could provide same-day delivery or express delivery along the entire supply chain.

How to Improve First-Mile Delivery Service

First-mile delivery is as essential for business as is last-mile delivery. Unfortunately, while improving the last-mile delivery service, most companies overlook the need to scale up the first-mile delivery service. Here are tips on how to enhance first-mile delivery.

  • Offer quality customer experience by digitizing operations
  • Ensuring high visibility during transit using real-time tracking software.
  • Offer flexibility and convenience at every point.


First-mile delivery plays a significant role in streamlining logistics along the supply chain. However, without making the right decisions, a poor first-mile delivery service may jeopardize the rest of the operations along the supply chain without sparing the last-mile delivery. 


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