Role of Delivery Orchestration in Last Mile

Due to the growing acceptance of eCommerce, the issue of third-party vs in-house delivery is still very much alive. Consumers now appear to order almost anything online, including clothing, food, electronics, and accessories, and they anticipate quick delivery after clicking the order button.

Online merchants must create a flawless shipping experience to keep customers pleased and loyal, or they will lag behind their competition. According to a 2020 survey, 51 percent of shoppers do not bother finishing their shopping due to restricted delivery alternatives, while 96 percent of customers return to businesses that previously provided them with a wonderful delivery experience.

However, which alternative should online businesses select? Is it better for businesses to outsource their deliveries or to switch to in-house deliveries? Or could both be done at once?

Let's dive deeper into this dilemma and gain a deeper understanding of how businesses can address it.

Understanding delivery orchestration

Essentially, orchestration means arranging something carefully in order to achieve a specific goal. Considering this, delivery orchestration means the arrangement of the business’ deliveries through third-party logistics services and in-house deliveries. A business outsourcing its deliveries to orchestrate it for a better customer experience.

Delivery orchestration enables businesses to more easily handle complicated delivery activities and procedures. It focuses on automating and simplifying various activities associated with their delivery.

When you start with outsourcing your delivery procedures, it becomes much easier to orchestrate them to run automatically. The primary purpose of this technology is to eliminate inefficiencies in order to gain benefits such as lower costs, faster time to market, and increased visibility.

Let’s understand both the aspects in depth

In-house or third-party delivery services?

What exactly is in-house delivery?

It boils down to owning and managing your last-mile delivery technique. Many businesses opt to employ in-house delivery systems, which include having their own delivery crew and fleet of trucks to convey items from a shop or warehouse to customers. This option gives you the ultimate control over the delivery procedure.

Businesses frequently use this delivery model when they are unable to collaborate with a dependable service provider or when there is skepticism about the available third-party providers. The in-house last-mile delivery system, like the 3PL alternative, offers advantages and disadvantages.

The Pros and Cons of In-House Delivery


Improved speed and quality of your deliveries

With your own delivery service, you won't have to compete for delivery routes with other restaurants and retailers. You'll also have complete control over the quality and care of your delivery experience, ensuring that your standard of service is constant and that you don't face unfair criticism for lapses in quality. Customers can only contact one provider—the seller—which improves customer service and engagement.

Maintaining profits

After you've invested in establishing your delivery service, you'll be able to retain much better margins on delivery orders and optimize revenues in the long run.

Make use of customer information

Businesses now have greater influence over client engagement and experience. You'll be able to gather, store, and analyze client data if you manage your own delivery system. Utilize data to improve your customer experience, menu, and operations.


Significant initial expenditure required

Starting your own delivery service requires a significant upfront expenditure. Staffing, insurance, vehicle upkeep, training, and gasoline are also significant continuing expenditures. Purchasing or leasing delivery fleets is expensive.

Need maintenance

Managing your delivery service may bring new issues and may need a significant amount of your time and resources to develop and maintain efficiently.

Execution difficulties

Organizing and overseeing a distribution system may be difficult and time-consuming. If you lack experience, it may take some time to develop a functional system.

Scaling is difficult

The funding you have available will limit your potential to scale your delivery business. There will also be a start-up and continuing expenditures that will remain constant even when demand for delivery is high.

What is third-party delivery?

Third-party delivery refers to the process of outsourcing delivery logistics to another organization. Sellers who pay couriers like DHL to deliver their items or restaurants that use third-party delivery services like Foodpanda are excellent examples of organizations who use third-party delivery services.

Businesses benefit from having third-party firms manage delivery since someone else is in charge of a variety of logistical chores. The following are the benefits and drawbacks of third-party delivery.

The Pros and Cons of third-party delivery


Improved focus & accessibility

Third-party delivery applications often have larger user bases and a greater delivery range than what you can achieve on your own. These variables may result in increased business, particularly early on.

Simple to use and set up

With minimum initial fees and work, you'll be able to launch your delivery business nearly immediately. For individuals who are inexperienced with optimal delivery techniques, you may benefit from the experience of a third-party delivery provider.

Reduction in advertising costs

Marketing and advertising expenditures were reduced since many third-party delivery businesses also advertised their partners' product and service offers.

A versatile solution

This approach will make your expenses predictable and consistent regardless of volume. Unlike an in-house solution, the volatility of your delivery volume will not affect your bottom line when using a third-party delivery provider.



Third-party solutions might be too pricey. Small firms can anticipate paying at least 20-30% of the order value. Larger, more popular companies can negotiate far cheaper charges in return for exclusivity. Profitability declines over time since outsourced services are more expensive than doing them in-house.

Hidden Fees

There are also hidden expenses involved with third-party delivery applications. Though they differ according to the app, they might include costs to phone leads, snatching business from Yelp views, and so on.

Service quality is being sacrificed

You have no influence over the delivery service's quality. When dealing with a significant number of orders, third-party couriers are encouraged to combine as many trips as feasible. Orders will often take longer to process, and couriers may not accurately represent your company.

Business reputation at stake

Customers generally blame the restaurant for delivery difficulties, cold food, or other errors that are beyond your control. These poor encounters may result in negative reviews that may not adequately reflect your company. Hence, companies lose control over the whole customer experience.

Giving Up Customer Information

Partnering with a delivery provider may imply relinquishing access, control, and management of consumer information. This information is extremely valuable and may help you optimize your business operations, menu, and marketing approach

Highly competitive platforms

Getting discovered on third-party delivery apps will be extremely difficult. Each delivery service has a plethora of partners, especially in the case of restaurants.

A third option: Having a hybrid model - Delivery Orchestration

With an understanding of the two models and their respective advantages and disadvantages, it's time to consider the third option, where businesses can adopt both models. We have observed that restaurant owners list their businesses on third-party platforms like Doordash, GrubHub, etc., and simultaneously also have their own delivery fleet and delivery management system. A fine example of this is Dominos Pizza, they orchestrate deliveries through third-party outsourced deliveries as well as delivery with their own fleet.

Examples for delivery orchestration

Several businesses, especially restaurants, use delivery orchestration by having their own delivery fleets as well as having a presence on third-party delivery services such as DoorDash, GrubHub, etc. The delivery orchestration is used by companies like McDonald's and Dominos in order to manage their bulk orders efficiently and effectively.

How delivery orchestration has helped businesses?

When a company has a large volume of orders, delivery orchestration works best. Using their own delivery service alone, an enterprise will find it difficult to deliver a large volume of bulk orders.

Delivery orchestration has hence helped in -

Reducing costs - Having a hybrid approach and using 3PL as an alternative method of fulfillment can help reduce costs by reducing fuel consumption, vehicle expenses, and salary costs.

Increasing efficiency - Businesses can increase fulfillment efficiency by catering to all types of customers and locations with third-party delivery services.

Rate of fulfillment - Since businesses are using a hybrid approach of having both in-house & 3PL, it allows them to cater to a larger number of orders and tap new geographies.


Although these factors are important, the decision between an in-house delivery and delivery orchestration with a third-party delivery provider will ultimately be determined by your business’s specific needs.

Third-party solutions frequently favor restaurants that can make up for poor margins with extremely high volumes. Smaller and high-end businesses may benefit more from an internal delivery system. Third-party services may be more beneficial to high-volume fast delivery service firms.

Regardless of whatever method you select, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Customer information should be respected and utilized to improve operations and marketing effectiveness. Create a distinct menu for your delivery service. Things that travel well, have decent margins, and use innovative methods such as delivery exclusive combinations, as well as goods that help drive higher volume orders and provide excellent family dinner alternatives, should be evaluated. Invest in creating a standardized level of service for delivery orders that leave your restaurant. It will improve your ratings and client retention. When it comes to third-party applications, shop around and bargain for the greatest prices and service benefits. If you have a huge volume, prestige, or have not yet partnered with other applications, you will have greater clout. Use this to bargain for reduced rates, priority service, and advantages. When it comes to in-house delivery, be sure you've adequately planned and have the money to grow your business. Don't forget to execute your own marketing to maximize the return on your investment. If you utilize both or are migrating to your own service, make sure to use marketing and promotions to convert clients from third-party applications into dine-in, takeaway, or delivery customers.