One of the greatest advantages small businesses have over big box stores is the ability to approach all things in a more personal manner, leading to more intimate relationships with customers. The ways in which people shop, however, are evolving, and small business owners are continuously having to find new ways to grow their customer base. And one of the most rapidly evolving factors in retail is delivery.
In today’s retail landscape, offering expedited delivery options is becoming the norm. As major retailers like Target and Amazon continue to fine tune their last mile delivery solutions, there’s also a trend of consumers favoring retailers with fast delivery options. Meeting this rising demand will help small businesses attract new and retain existing customers who are shopping online and in stores.
The Benefits of Offering Same-Day Delivery
Small businesses that offer same-day delivery have a lot to gain: growing their customer base, retaining their existing customers, and getting an edge on local competition. And providing convenient delivery solutions for customers increases the chances that they’ll write positive online reviews and generate more word-of-mouth referrals. It also keeps customers coming back. 74% of U.S. consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from a company again after receiving same-day delivery on an item.
While there’s a lot to gain by offering same-day delivery, there’s also a lot to lose when it’s not offered. According to a 2017 study, 51% of retailers offer same-day delivery (a 16% increase from the previous year) and 65% of retailers intend to offer it in the future. Additionally, there’s an increase in retailers using third party delivery services. As more retailers begin offering expedited delivery services, and more consumers come to expect it, small businesses without fast (or any) delivery options might get left behind.
How to Meet Delivery Expectations
Providing same-day delivery, and doing it well, is no small task. By offering a quality delivery experience that meets consumer expectations, small businesses gain a more competitive edge and encourage customer loyalty.
Offer upfront pricing
Studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay more for same-day and expedited delivery, but no one likes being thrown for a loop with surge pricing. Being transparent about delivery fees staves off potential future complaints about unexpected costs. Providing this kind of transparency also promotes the more personable touch that most small businesses offer.
Employ professional drivers
Those who deliver a package are a direct reflection of the business from which the product was purchased. And as is the case for all customer service interactions, a negative delivery experience could keep customers from shopping with a business again. In fact, 70% of consumers agree that when the delivery person is dressed in uniform, it increases their trust. And more than half (57%) wouldn’t purchase from a retailer again if the delivery person was unprofessional. By employing courteous, timely, and well-kempt drivers, small businesses can ensure they’re being represented well.
Provide real-time tracking
Same-day delivery loses its convenience factor if you’re waiting around for a delivery. Providing real-time tracking lets customers know when to expect their package, making it easier not to plan their day around the process. Leveraging this kind of technology also helps small businesses keep pace with larger companies who already offer real-time tracking capabilities.
Promote the safety of customer information
In light of the massive data breaches that have exposed peoples’ financial and personal information, offering information security is a must. Small businesses already ensure the safety of their customers’ transactions, but it’s just as important to reassure that the same will go for information provided for deliveries.
Looking Outward for Same-Day Delivery Solutions
Effectively managing a successful delivery service requires an abundance of resources, such as drivers, vehicles, technology, money, and time. Yet not all small businesses have the resources to accomplish same-day delivery.
This puts them in a precarious position: they run the risk of losing out on customers if they don’t offer same-day delivery, but they also risk losing customers if they don’t offer a high quality experience for customers. As much as there is to gain, there’s just as much to lose when not fulfilled properly. For small businesses that can meet consumers’ delivery expectations, there’s a huge opportunity to entice those who’ve had negative delivery experiences with other companies.
By outsourcing delivery, small businesses can reap the benefits of leveraging a professional, on-demand, same-day delivery service without all the liability. Many delivery services function as an extension of your business, meaning customers correlate positive experiences with the retailer rather than the delivery provider. Ultimately, delivery service providers manage the complex logistics with built-in technology so that retailers can focus on operating their business.