Running a Business: A Guide to Offering Your Own Delivery Service
Are you tired of relying on external companies to get your products to customers? Do you operate a restaurant and want to start getting meals out to locals at their home? Whatever the case is, you have come to the decision to provide your own delivery service.
If costs and delivery times are refined, a mid-size business that operates nationally can massively benefit from taking full control over their deliveries. The same can also be said for brick-and-mortar stores, with this approach opening the door to more potential sales.
However, it’s a serious challenge for any business that tries to add this component to their operations. Many different aspects have to be considered before delivery can be successfully implemented.
That’s where this guide is here to help. Below are some important tips to keep in mind when attempting to seamlessly shift to delivery.
Consider the costs
Before you rush into offering this service, it’s essential you take a step back and analyze if the cost of setting up a delivery service is financially feasible for your business. Can you afford to splash out on a single van or truck, let alone multiple vehicles? Have you factored in ongoing expenses such as employee wages, gas, and vehicle upkeep?
When looking at the numbers, just remember: the implementation of a delivery service is a long-term process. That initial outlay is going to hit your company’s finances significantly, but you have to look at the big picture. If the move to in-house delivery ultimately refines costs and boosts customer satisfaction, it’s a financial risk worth taking.
Determine your delivery plan
If you do operate a mid-size business, your delivery plan is going to be a straightforward one in theory: to ship out your products across the country as fast as possible. Yet for companies that have to conserve resources, certain concessions will have to be made.
A business may have to limit their deliveries to a specific number of days each week, or even to just delivering specific items they offer. Take a local restaurant for example. To ensure the purchasing and preparation of food ingredients remains at a manageable level, they may only offer a limited set menu for delivery.
Settle on your delivery options
In this day and age, customers expect to be able to choose from multiple delivery options. While you don’t necessarily have to provide more than simply standard delivery, customers that require a last-minute gift are going to appreciate a one-day delivery service.
Of course, multiple delivery options are going to make an already complex logistical situation even more complex. As a result, factor this in before deciding to provide more than one delivery option for customers.
Maximize the potential of your delivery operation
You may have an idea of what you want to do with your delivery operation, but actually executing it is an entirely different matter. While the logistics for a local takeaway food service are not all that complicated, a sophisticated system is required for those with multiple vehicles that are journeying across an extensive area.
It’s possible to manually plan delivery routes, yet this is a complicated process for anyone trying to manage more than one or two vehicles. When you factor in the number of stops and routes needed for even a mid-size delivery operation, you’ll need to spend numerous hours planning everything out – each day.
To optimize your delivery routes, it’s recommended you utilize specialist software. By using route optimization software, the work that would normally take hours can be done within seconds. Not only does this help to improve performance and significantly cut down on delivery times, but also to boost the customer experience.
The latter isn’t just because they receive their packages in a speedy fashion, either. Certain route optimization software also incorporates a real-time driver tracking service, which allows customers to view where their delivery driver is at all times.
Get the price right
Once you have a full understanding about your costs, delivery options, and routes, you’re in a better position to start pricing up the service. Obviously you would love to provide free delivery for your customers. However, this may not be financially feasible – unless you’re willing to raise the prices of your products to compensate for the costs added by delivery.
Don’t be too hesitant when placing a charge on delivery. As long as you’re transparent, your customers will understand and accept why they have to pay a little extra to receive their purchased goods. With that said, always try and be as reasonable with your pricing as possible.
Plus you can always offer an incentive when it comes to delivery. A lot of large online retailers, for instance, provide free delivery if a customer spends a certain amount of money. This could be, say, complimentary delivery for anyone that splashes out $30 or more on your products. Alternatively, you could incentivize the service with a coupon, where you entice potential first-time customers with the offer of free delivery for their initial order.
Update your website
Once your delivery service is up and running, it’s important that you let your customers know. This is particularly the case if your business hasn’t previously provided delivery. The most effective way of doing this is by updating your website.
Start by posting a notice on your website, which can then lead to a blog post with further details. This post can then expand on the effort you have put into supplying a delivery service, the type of products you’re willing to deliver if it’s only a limited selection, why you have gone down this route, and so on.
Most importantly, you want to give your customers the details they need the most: the pricing and delivery times. Regarding the latter point, it’s essential that you don’t overpromise. If you say a customer will receive their products within three days, this timeframe has to be met. Failure to do so could cause your business to receive negative feedback, which may damage your potential to attract new consumers.
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