Key points:

  • First mile shipping is the first part of the delivery process, usually the transportation of goods from your premises or warehouse to the next hub
  • While first mile shipping is the start of the delivery part of the supply chain, final mile delivery is the last leg when the order is handed over to the end customer
  • Easyship can help you effortlessly optimize your store's first mile shipping process, helping boost sales and customer satisfaction

Do you want to know how first mile shipping can help you meet customer expectations? This article breaks down the role of first mile shipping in meeting customer expectations. Plus, find out how you can optimize your store's first mile shipping process today.

What is First Mile Shipping?

Also known as first mile delivery, first mile shipping refers to the first part of the delivery process, starting with the point of origin to the point where the shipment is handed over to the carrier. The first mile is arguably crucial as it launches the entire shipping process, providing a foundation for a successful on-time delivery.

This first mile involves several key stages, including order picking, packing, and processing. For most online stores, the first mile delivery process is the transportation of goods from the merchant to the carrier for delivery. For larger retailers, first mile delivery involves shipping goods from local distribution centers to stores.

First mile delivery is different from final mile delivery, which is the final stage of the shipping process. The effectiveness of the first mile directly impacts last mile operations, as the first and last mile are part of the same supply chain process.

For example, delayed or inaccurate order processing can push back shipping and collection by the carrier, which will result in missing the expected delivery window. This will then result in a decreasing on-time delivery rate, plus falling customer satisfaction. On the other hand, effective first mile delivery processes can result in faster delivery times, boosting customer satisfaction and potentially repeat sales.

The Role of First Mile Shipping in Meeting Customer Expectations

Fun fact: The US e-commerce market is expected to rapidly grow at over 11.5% a year between 2023-27, reaching a staggering $1.563 Trillion.

While the global eCommerce market is projected to experience huge growth in the next few years, competition is always increasing. This means that it can be increasingly important to focus on meeting customer expectations with every order. Gaining a competitive advantage through customer satisfaction can significantly depend on a fast and accurately tracked delivery.

First mile shipping can be crucial in meeting customer expectations for the following reasons:

  1. Speed. Customers expect fast delivery times and first mile shipping is the first step in achieving a successful delivery
  2. Reliability. Customers expect their orders to be delivered on time and in good condition, first mile shipping plays a key role in ensuring products are passed over correctly
  3. Cost. Affordable delivery options are increasingly a purchase priority. Inefficient first mile delivery can increase shipping costs. It is down to online stores to offer cost effective options
  4. Customer Satisfaction. First mile shipping can play a key role in the overall customer experience. Customers are likely to be happy if their purchase is delivered quickly, reliably and in good condition

One potential strategy to meet customer expectations is to optimize your first mile shipping. This can play a key role in ensuring orders are reliably delivered on time and in good condition. Effective first mile shipping for an online store usually ensures the following:

  • Accurate order processing
  • Proper packaging and handling
  • Efficient order picking and inventory management
  • Effective communication with the customer

On the other hand, a poor first mile shipping process can result in delayed, damaged or even missing goods. These can all quickly result in dropping overall customer satisfaction. While last mile delivery has seen a lot of visibility in optimization, first mile is equally significant to ensure your store meets customer expectations.

Related post: The Music Lovers Guide to Last-Mile Delivery


Strategies for First Mile Delivery Optimization

There are a wide range of strategies businesses can implement to optimize first mile shipping for their online store. Effective optimizing should aim to increase the overall efficiency of your store’s shipping process, reducing delivery timelines and boosting customer satisfaction.

It can be crucial to identify and analyze which of the following interconnected factors can potentially impact the first mile delivery process of your orders:


Automation tools such as order management software can help speed up the initial order processing. Shipping tools can generate all your shipping labels, packing slips and customs paperwork for you automatically. This can then help quickly cut down the time spent on the first mile shipping stage.

Implementing Inventory Management Systems (IMS)

Using real-time inventory management systems can help ensure that the correct products are selected and ready for shipment. This can help reduce the time spent on order processing and minimize any incorrect shipments.

Streamlined Picking and Packing

Businesses can streamline the picking and packing process by organizing their stock in a simple and intuitive way that creates an efficient process. This allows orders to be shipped quicker, reducing delivery timelines and boosting overall on-time delivery rates.

Leveraging Technology

There is a range of technology that can help you reduce errors in the first mile shipping process. Barcode scanners, radio frequency identification (RFID) and warehouse management systems (WMS) can help to optimize the first mile shipping process. This can in turn bring down delivery timelines.

Improving Communication

Providing customers with real-time tracking updates can help to improve the overall shipping experience and build trust. Including a focus on first mile tracking updates, can allow customers to follow their orders. From being passed over to a logistics partner, to the final leg of its journey on the way to its final destination. This can in turn up bring down customer service requests.

Picking Reliable Carriers

Partnering with a reliable carrier can help to ensure orders are picked up quickly, decreasing delivery timelines and boosting customer happiness. Selecting a carrier that offers cost-effective end to end visibility can allow tracking as soon as the order is in their hands. This can help keep customers in the loop throughout the order fulfillment process.

Hack First Mile Delivery with Easyship

First mile shipping is a vital part of the logistics process, directly impacting delivery timelines and customer satisfaction. Effectively optimizing your first mile shipping process can help to meet customer expectations, potentially resulting in return customers and boosting sales.

From finding cost-effective reliable carriers to automatically generating shipping labels and customs paperwork. Easyship's cutting-edge shipping tools can help you effortlessly optimize your first mile shipping process today.

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Do you want to effectively ship all orders ASAP? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and start optimizing your first mile shipping process today. Find a cost-effective, reliable carrier with end-to-end tracking in just a few clicks.