Instacart Retail

3 Fulfillment Strategies to Help Retailers Optimize Delivery



Nov 18, 2022

E-commerce continues to grow — an exciting proposition for both enterprise and mid-market retailers. The consumer expectation of ultrafast fulfillment, however, pressures retail leaders to streamline their last-mile delivery solutions. 

In the fulfillment game where innovative pickup and delivery services are becoming the norm, how do you differentiate your delivery solutions from your competitors to not only meet but also exceed customer expectations? Here are three ways to help your business remain agile and competitive in this space.

Optimize your last-mile delivery routes

Once shoppers complete orders and it’s time to deliver, how do you ensure they take the best driving routes? One way is to choose a last-mile delivery platform with cutting-edge technology to streamline deliveries.

Here are some of the ways a fulfillment platform can maximize efficiency while minimizing delivery time:

  • Data science features map out the quickest routes — from store location to a customer’s doorstep — for shoppers to make a delivery. This not only increases customer satisfaction, but it also enables shoppers to maximize their earnings, making them more likely to remain engaged.
  • Customer orders get paired with the right shopper — one who is near the delivery area.
  • A last-mile delivery platform can group together orders traveling to the same general location, so one shopper can deliver multiple orders in the same trip within the sequence customers placed them.

Image with text reading "Maximize efficiency with an e-commerce fulfillment platform". A truck icon hovers over text "Map the quicket routes from store to doorstep". A mobile phone icon hovers over text "pair customer orders with shoppers near the delivery area." And an icon depicting two people hovers over text "Group orders by location so shoppers can deliver multiple orders on one trip".

It’s also important not to load shoppers down with too many orders, as doing so can decrease timely fulfillment of groceries or other items. As you refine your last-mile delivery strategies, you can strike the right balance between efficiency and timeliness.

Improve checkout and post-checkout communications

Providing solid, post-checkout communication between the shopper and the buyer will not only increase customer satisfaction but will ensure a speedier last-mile delivery and, in the process, give your customer a sense of control over the entire experience. 

An e-commerce fulfillment platform gives you the tools to put consumers in the driver’s seat, so to speak, allowing them to view the status and location of their order as well as answer any last-mile delivery questions. 

Additionally, retailers can better manage the last-mile experience via an operations dashboard, which shows everything from customer bag counts to a live delivery map. This detailed overview gives retailers better insight into the pickup and delivery process and can eliminate some customer support calls, also freeing up employee time for increased productivity. 

Here are some additional things to look for when choosing an e-commerce fulfillment platform to smooth out fulfillment delivery communications:

  • Can customers choose how they want their fulfillment, whether it’s at-home delivery or curbside pickup?
  • Can customers and shoppers communicate directly? 
  • Is there a status page that shows an order’s most up-to-date information, including estimated pickup and delivery times?

Access a flexible workforce for last-mile deliveries

You may have your hourly employees covering slower mornings, but what happens when you’re in a busy season with unforeseen spikes in demand or you have a temporary employee shortage? Flexible labor solutions can help alleviate picking, packing, and delivery woes to address last-mile delivery. 

Twenty-two percent of customers abandon their cart if the estimated delivery time is too slow. So to increase consumer retention during moments of increased demand, consider a comprehensive fulfillment platform with full-service shoppers. With Instacart, you can minimize demand loss with a highly efficient, flexible workforce.

Image of a grocery shopping cart that has fallen over with groceries spilling out onto the floor. Food items include apple, carrot, lemon, toilet paper, and a can. Text reads "22% of customers abandon their cart if the estimated delivery time is too slow". The source is "Reasons for Abandonment During Checkout," Baymard Insistitute Research, 2022.

To further enhance last-mile delivery solutions, your business can use API infrastructure, such as with Instacart Platform’s Carrot Connect, to support pickup integration, enabling two- and five-hour deliveries and same-day pickup on your retail website. In fact, 85% of last-mile deliveries using Instacart Connect’s API solution were early or on time, minimizing lost sales conversions in the process. 

Last-mile delivery solutions for the win

Instacart not only partners with local and national e-commerce retailers for optimal last-mile delivery solutions, but we also provide the tools and technology to help you make the difference between a sale and an abandoned shopping cart. Read more about how Instacart can help you master your order fulfillment strategies to stay on the cutting edge of last-mile deliveries. 



Instacart is the leading grocery technology company in North America, partnering with more than 1000 national, regional and local retail banners to deliver from more than 75,000 stores across more than 13,000 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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