“The last mile” is now the Holy Grail of ecommerce shipping. A merchant can do an amazing job of selling and provide an outstanding shopping experience, yet if the package is late or damaged, a customer may complain on social media, even if the carrier is to blame.

You can’t directly control the last mile — i.e., the distance from a local transportation hub to the final destination — but you can improve the communication with your customer to provide excellent service, even when things go wrong.

Here are a few ways that merchants can provide an outstanding delivery experience and produce a positive brand impression.

    1. Avoid porch pirates. Porch pirates are thieves that steal parcels from recipients’ porches. Many articles have been written about how to prevent this type of theft. Ideas include security cameras, lockers, and services like Package Guard, which notifies a recipient when a package is delivered. But the most foolproof way to avoid theft is to ensure that the customer is home when the parcel arrives. Retailers can schedule delivery times and provide frequent delivery notifications (see 3., below), so consumers know when to be home. Saturday delivery options provide even more opportunities to stop package theft.

To read all 5 ways you can improve the parcel delivery experience, check out the article on Practical Ecommerce