Since the day online shopping was first introduced in 1994, it has been on several highs and lows. Local businesses have started leveraging on the power of online selling. While both businesses and customers are slowly leaning towards e-Commerce, a sense of being part of a larger community has developed, encouraging more and more people to support local businesses.
Local delivery acts as the fulcrum between the customer and the product you’re trying to sell. It gives customers the freedom of shopping from the comfort of their homes while retaining the excitement of in-store shopping. These days, as shipping companies have slowed down, there have been delays in delivering items and it is in these times that businesses look towards local delivery to reach the customer in a matter of days (erstwhile months). That is what makes it so critical to customer success.
Local Delivery Acts as the Fulcrum between the Customer and Your Product.
To begin with, it may be easy to set up local delivery but figuring out and setting up logistics could be challenging. Here is a list of important Q&As to consider while setting up local delivery for your Shopify store.
Getting the answers right to a few questions can help you accelerate your journey towards getting all those deliveries right. These include:
1. What would be your Delivery Point?
There are two ways of setting up a local delivery point. Depending upon how and who will be delivering products, businesses can either choose to deliver from a single distribution point or from multiple locations. Single location delivery is a better option for merchants who have to deliver the products themselves and do not have a bigger customer base yet. This, however, restricts the number of places you can deliver to, limiting the number of customers who can opt for local delivery.
The other option is to set up local delivery from multiple locations. This is beneficial when you have enough staff members who can travel and deliver in multiple locations. This will also increase the extent of your business and help you scale faster than ever.
2. How far can you deliver?
After deciding on a distribution point, you have to decide and restrict the areas in which you can and cannot deliver. You can either name specific locations that you do and do not deliver to or you can restrict the area in terms of miles, for example - local delivery is available only within a 20-mile radius.
The bigger your radius, the more customers can opt for local delivery. If you keep this radius large, you’ll be able to attain more conversions and customers, however, you will also have to hire more people for delivery.
3. Who will deliver your orders?
To decide on the locations that you can deliver to, you will first have to find out who will be delivering your orders. Will you be delivering them yourself, do you have enough staff to make the deliveries for you or have you considered taking help from a third party local delivery service?
After you have set up delivery locations and staff, it’s time to decide how you will deliver your products. What vehicles will you use? Which drivers will you assign to what locations? What routes will vehicles follow and how will you track vehicle activities?
It is important to answer all these questions for smooth logistics operations and on-time deliveries.
4. Determining Delivery Charges and Timings
Set up rates for deliveries based on the types of products, miles covered, time and date of delivery, required preparation time for orders and much more. Initially, you can offer free delivery services to attract more customers, however, later you can set up delivery charges based on the fuel used and miles covered to fulfil the delivery.
One more option is to define a minimum order cart value after which customers can opt for free delivery and increase the average order value via upselling. Besides minimum cart value, you can also set up prices based on distance. For example, if a customer falls outside of a defined mile radius, they will have to pay extra charges.
Customers Opt for Local Delivery to Avoid Delays Involved in Shipping
Getting the timing right for deliveries is imperative to providing a satisfactory customer experience. If you have a single driver, then you might not be able to fulfil 4-5 deliveries on time. To avoid delays in delivery and keep your customers satisfied without having to deal with a hectic schedule, you need to set up specific days and time for delivery. Create a schedule and define specific delivery days and time in the week on which you can deliver.
You can also provide options to your customers like same or next day delivery. Make sure you put all this information on your website so your customers know your schedule and order accordingly. You can charge based on how fast you deliver or how many items you are delivering.
5. How will you update customers on their orders?
From the moment a customer places an order, they are eager to know every small detail about their order such as its location and estimated delivery time. The delivery staff should be able to provide updates to the customer via emails and text messages. Similarly, they should be able to send a delivery confirmation along with picture proof of delivery for future references.
Route, on Shopify allows you to track packages in real–time and comes handy in enhancing the post-purchase life cycle. Its unique package tracking and order protection features take post-sales customer engagement to the next level and can offer customers with the much-needed comfort post check-out.
You will also need to consider a customer’s availability at the time of delivery. What if a customer is unavailable at delivery time, would you drop the package in their mailbox or bring it back with you? To handle these situations, it is wiser to have the customer’s contact details with you and call them beforehand when you’re dropping their package. One more way of handling this is to ask for delivery instructions from the user such as the preferred date and time of delivery.
6. Handling Mishaps
Mishaps can occur at any time and may require a streamlined process to course correct. Sometimes, the customer may receive the wrong product or may have any other issue with the product. The digital proof of delivery comes in handy in times like these. Pictures taken at the delivery location, invoices, customer signatures, etc, all act as POD. To avoid too many mishaps, make sure you take pictures to confirm delivery and take help only from trusted staff and third parties.
Provide a genuine return policy for the customers to help them if they face any issues. Remember, the better you treat customers, the better your chance at converting and retaining them.
While there are many apps that can help you set up local delivery for your store, a selected few have made their mark with proven features on Shopify. One such app that many Shopify stores swear by is Zapiet. The app provides a 14-day free trial, giving you time to observe and finalize if it works for your store. Zapiet also allows you to schedule in-store and curbside pickup orders using pickup date and time scheduling features.
Many local delivery apps also allow you to customize can assign and restrict particular areas available for local delivery. These can be used to restrict the local delivery option to a specific number of items, types of items, postal codes, preparation time rules, different prices for different delivery time and much more. The app also comes with a flexible shipping calendar with the features to mark blackout dates, issue advanced notices and future order restrictions.
Almost all businesses present on Shopify are local businesses. This is why shopify offers many tools and integrations to help store owners provide the best service to their customers. It also has an integration for local delivery as well. It is called Onfleet. It is a last mile delivery solution serving thousands of companies across multiple industries such as retail, ecommerce, furniture, food and beverage and much more.
Streamline your delivery operations using advanced route optimization and real-time tracking including time, location, capacity and traffic. This will help you avoid long routes and save time and fuel costs. In case you decide to make any changes to these route plans, you can send real-time update to your drivers. Shorter routes also mean faster delivery, therefore your customers will be happier and are more likely to return.
Future-Forward Studies Indicate that Local Delivery is Leaning Towards Sustainability, Forcing Companies to Adopt Innovative Strategies to Stay Relevant
Onboard new members easily and enhance productivity by continuously monitoring driver performance and task history. Predict the estimated arrival times for carriers and collect digital proof of delivery and feedback using the integrated feedback platform when you deliver products to the customers. Provide real-time updates to the customers and integrate with customer communication platforms to allow users to register complaints and reach out to you for help.
The platforms allows you to get access to comprehensive reports and monitor key metrics. After analyzing these reports you can identify problems and work on filling the loopholes and improving your services.
Onfleet also offers a mobile version using which you can track and monitor your carriers from anywhere. You should also consider creating a mobile app for your store. Research shows 79% of online purchases are made on a mobile phone. You can easily create a mobile app using a tool like Shop2app. You get the freedom to decide the elements and design of your app. If you are wondering how you can optimize your store for a mobile, then we have tips and tricks for that too. Check out our blog on local SEO that deep dives into mobile optimization.
Local is the future. As customers become more aware and particular in their choices, these businesses will continue to bloom. This is why it is important to invest time and money in setting up local delivery services for enhancing customer experience and retaining them. These were our tips and tricks on local delivery. So go ahead, invest in local delivery and enhance your customers' experience, subsequently fostering their loyalty.