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Innovative solutions to increase last-mile delivery efficiency in B2C e-commerce: a literature review

Riccardo Mangiaracina (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Alessandro Perego (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Arianna Seghezzi (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)
Angela Tumino (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 14 October 2019

Issue publication date: 13 November 2019

16896

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to review and classify scientific publications dealing with those innovative solutions aimed at increasing the efficiency of last-mile delivery in business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce; and, second, to outline directions for future research in this field.

Design/methodology/approach

The review is based on 75 papers published between 2001 and 2019 in international peer-reviewed journals or proceedings of conferences, retrieved from bibliographic databases and science search engines.

Findings

Due to its importance in affecting the overall logistics costs and, as a consequence, the economic sustainability of a B2C e-commerce initiative, last-mile delivery process deserves particular attention in order to be optimised. The review highlights that, among the main factors affecting its cost, there are the probability to have failed deliveries, the customer density in the delivery areas and the degree of automation of the process. Innovative and viable last-mile delivery solutions – which may impact the mentioned drivers – include parcel lockers, crowdsourcing logistics, mapping the consumer presence at home and dynamic pricing policies. Eventually, some gaps and areas for further research activities have been identified (e.g. mapping customer behaviour, crowdsourcing logistics).

Originality/value

This review offers interesting insights to both academics and practitioners. On the academic side, it analyses and classifies relevant literature about innovative and efficiency-oriented last-mile delivery solutions, proposing directions for future research efforts. On the managerial side, it presents a holistic framework of the main factors affecting last-mile delivery cost and of viable innovative solutions that may be implemented to increase efficiency.

Keywords

Citation

Mangiaracina, R., Perego, A., Seghezzi, A. and Tumino, A. (2019), "Innovative solutions to increase last-mile delivery efficiency in B2C e-commerce: a literature review", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 49 No. 9, pp. 901-920. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2019-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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