Tips for small businesses wanting to add delivery to their store
The retail world is in an ever-evolving game of everyone trying to keep up with growing demands from customers. With giants like Amazon and Walmart in a race to always provide that next level of service, the competition to remain the fastest and easiest retailer is hotter than ever.
Where does this leave the smaller retailers? They too are working to provide more services, especially home delivery. In this article from Retail Customer Experience, experts from across the industry talk about how delivery is becoming the biggest differentiating factor for customers and how smaller retailers are finding creative ways to meet or even beat Amazon.
“(G)iven all the delivery developments across the retail sector, it’s not off base to view the aspect of delivery as critical as pricing and a viable strategy in making the retail experience as seamless as possible,” the article reads.
“’It’s now a competitive differentiator,” Karla Guarino, vice president of business development for Meridian, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.
“It appears as though products and services originally designed to increase convenience is turning into a requirement, rather than a nice-to-have,’” Guarino concluded in the article.
As the region’s leading 3PL last mile delivery service provider in Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas, and Tulsa, we wanted to share our thoughts on how small, local and regional retailers can keep their competitive edge by adding delivery services.
Decide how you will get the items delivered
There are a few things to consider when deciding how to get your items delivered to the customer. If you choose to provide delivery services on your own, you must consider insurance, hiring more staff members, and coordinating the deliveries on your own. In some cases, you may have fleet costs as well.
If you choose to hire a delivery service, there are obvious costs involved that may seem expensive at first glance. The upside is that it is all-inclusive, so you know for sure what you will have to spend on it. Hiring a qualified delivery service can ultimately save you costs and time in the long run.
Decide what you think fits your business best, and what will be most efficient in delivery and overall cost.
Make your ordering system efficient
What are you using for your out-of-store ordering system? Is it online or over the phone? Or both? It is important to have an efficient, functional system for your customers ordering products to be delivered.
You want to stay organized and make sure all customers are getting the items they ordered but also not creating a system that causes chaos in your store for your employees. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. This will keep business flowing and ensure there are no slip-ups.
Create a clear and effective returns policy
Reverse logistics is the process of deciding how to reuse products and materials. Having an effective returns policy in place will allow you to figure out what to do with the products that are returned to your business. Will those products be resold? What will they be used for if not?
This is all an important part of the delivery service.
Establish a clear communication system
It is important that your delivery drivers can communicate with the customer to keep them updated on where their packages are and when they will get delivered. Make sure you implement a system where drivers can have direct communication with the person ordering.
There are many instances where products do not get delivered or the process is delayed, and customers want an exact time for when their deliveries will arrive. To keep customer satisfaction high, your delivery service must have effective communication with their customers.
Consider what you want delivered
You will need to decide which products you want to deliver. Will you have a minimum order requirement? Will you only delivery a certain size or type of item? If you choose to deliver everything you have in store, you will need to make sure the person doing the deliveries can handle the load.
Simplify your inventory management
Inventory management becomes more complicated when items are available both in store and for delivery.
Putting a system in place that lets you keep track of all items, in-store and the ones being delivered to customers will help your store to run smoothly and ensure no items are unaccounted for. It also helps you avoid having out of stock items, which can frustrate customers and reduce loyalty.
Let us help
We love seeing fellow small businesses succeed! Do you have questions about starting a delivery service for your retail location? Check with us on our process and how we can provide excellent last mile delivery and even white glove service for your customers. We are confident we can make the process more efficient and affordable for you!