In 1991 catalog industry veteran Don Libey went on stage at the annual Catalog Conference and claimed that the country is heading towards same-day delivery models. Many seasoned catalog executives in the audience laughed. Today, retail giants like Amazon.com, Google, eBay and Wal-Mart are making same-day delivery a reality.
This surprisingly can work as a huge benefit for the local shop or big store; customers became accustomed to ordering and receiving goods on the go. What better and less-costly way for retailers to provides such a service, than actual proximity to customers.
The smarter local shops understand that they can and should compete with the same quality of service the giants retailers provide, and even take it one step further.
- Learn to Scale
Scaling is easier said than done. Tons of businesses, seemingly successful businesses, have gone out of business due to not being able to effectively scale. In order to scale delivery operations, it’s important to first find the resources to provide faster delivery times. In order to accomplish this, using technology to streamline operations and dispatch orders efficiently, even automatically. If need be, businesses can rely on third-party logistics partners if necessary. It’s also important to plan ahead by forecasting orders by day, week and month. During peak times of the year, between Thanksgiving and New Years (in the United States) for example, will require a solid plan on how to deal with increased volume of delivery orders. These numbers will help you secure the equipment, technology and systemic support you need to meet customer expectations.
- Provide Accurate Ordering Limits
In order to streamline deliveries, and insure that they arrive on time, it’s crucial to know the last possible date and time customers can place an order. This is especially important during the months leading up to the holidays. Whether it’s stated on your website or if you are taking an order on the phone, your end customer must know when their order needs to be placed in order to receive it on time.
- Use Technology to Your Advantage
Surprise your customers with a customer experience that is away above the competition. Using delivery management tools to create delivery transparency for your customers – sharing ETAs, location of drivers as well as direct communication with customers and providing the ability to rate drivers – is the best way to accomplish this. In the era of Uber, Postmates, and others, this kind of experience is what customers now expect.
By optimizing your shipping and delivery capabilities now, you can stay ahead of the game and compete with the major players.