Everything you need to know about offering a delivery service to your customers
Why offer delivery?
The global pandemic has changed the shopping habits of consumers. As current lockdown measures have shut “non-essential” retail businesses, Bira urges retailers to adapt in order to survive these uncertain times.
Responding to meet the needs of your local community can not only make a difference to your customers but can also get your business though lockdown and out the other end. So here we look at a few different ways you can offer a delivery option during lockdown.
Types of delivery service
A local delivery model is, simply put, the delivery of goods within a specific geographic area, e.g a 5 mile radius. As you can see in the graph below from Google Trends, searches for “local delivery” skyrocketed during the first lockdown and continues to be popular search term.
A key benefit of local delivery is that it’s quick to implement and can be set up even if you don’t have an ecommerce platform. You can advertise local delivery by displaying the details customers need to place orders clearly in your shop window, on social media and your website if you have one. You can find out more about how to promote your retail business during lockdown here.
It’s essential to make your business visible to the local community and the best way to do this online is by giving your local SEO (search engine optimisation) a health check and to make sure your Google mybusiness profile is filled in, regardless of if you have an ecommerce shop or not.
When offering local delivery, it is worth considering whether you want to manage deliveries yourself and self-deliver, or whether you want to use a local courier. Whichever of these methods you use, it’s a good idea to set up a minimum order value.
A benefit of self-delivery is flexibility. Depending on the amount of deliveries you need to make, you may decide that you will only make your deliveries on certain days of the week or cover different geographic areas on different days. Although self-delivery offers more control and flexibility, you’ll also be liable for any damages to your goods in transit, any mix ups with orders and any problems with your vehicle.
Although self-delivery can save you money in the long run, the start-up cost can be expensive, you’ll need to make sure you have a suitable vehicle, insurance, and if you self-deliver in London, Birmingham (from June) or Bath (from March) you will also need to consider the governments clean air zone.
If you have the resource to offer same day delivery, self-delivery can give independents the advantage over multiples, you may want to set up a charge for this, as customers are willing to pay more for convenience. Depending on how wide the geographic area is that you cover, there are a number of different apps and websites available to help plan your delivery routes.
Using a courier or postal service
If you still want to offer local delivery but self-delivery isn’t suitable, there are also courier services available across the UK who can collect goods from your shop and deliver directly to the customer within minutes. You can also use traditional delivery methods such as a courier or postal service to deliver locally, nationally or even internationally.
Price is a key deciding factor when choosing which courier service to use. You’ll need to consider how many deliveries you’ll need to make every day/week as this will affect the cost of postage. If you pass your shipping costs to your customer, remember expensive shipping cost can deter potential customers from completing an order.
Tracking your deliveries is essential to delivering goods, if a delivery is lost in the post and is not tracked then you are liable for the replacement or refund. A customer is more likely to make repeat orders if you establish that you are trustworthy business, one way you can do this is by offering tracked delivery.
Some ecommerce platforms have the ability to integrate your courier service, meaning when your customer places an order it will give your customers a choice of delivery service and create shipping labels for you.
By offering drop shipping, customers purchase stock from you, the retailer, and have the order fulfilled and sent to them by the supplier. The main benefit of this is that products are only ordered when they are purchased by the customer, which can help to improve your cash flow.
Find out more about drop shipping by reading our guide below.
How can Bira Help?
Start selling online and benefit from preferential discounts from EKM.
Bira Bank has partnered with a vehicle manufacturers Ford and Toyota for exclusive savings on new vehicles.
Start using Bira Direct for drop shipping and additional benefits.
Not offering delivery? Find out how to implement click and collect, even if you don’t have an ecommerce platform.