Top 7 ways to improve last-mile delivery

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6. Offer more choice and convenience

Creative delivery methods could lead to improved delivery times.

Some companies are turning to services like Instacart for fast delivery. Grocery and drug store chains such as CVS, Wegmans and Sprouts have outsourced their deliveries to Instacart, while other organizations are pairing with companies that previously focused on takeout delivery, like Postmates and DoorDash, to bring items to consumers via same-day delivery.

While Amazon is probably best known for its delivery lockers, companies like Home Depot and Stop & Shop, a chain of supermarkets located in the northeastern United States, are also offering the service. Customers can go to the locker whenever the store is open, though in some cases, the system relies on the delivered products being non-perishable.

Meanwhile, Oxford Properties Group, a global real estate company in Toronto, has partnered with GoFor Industries to launch ShipNow, an initiative in which participating retailers ship from stores in its Square One mall in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada to customers in the local area.

ShipNow will expand to other Square One malls in the future, said Robert Horst, vice president of real estate management, retail at Oxford Properties Group.

Horst believes that the fastest way to get products to customers is having the product originate from a local store instead of a centrally located distribution center.

"What we are trying to do is help more retailers fulfill their online orders through the local store," he said. "We believe that there's an opportunity for stores to become almost like the new warehouse, serving both online and in-store customers."

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