How important is delivering goods to your customers on time? More important than you might think, according to a recent survey conducted by Localz into last-mile delivery.
Results found 94 per cent of customers would choose a different shop or brand based on different delivery options.
This is a huge wake-up call to all business, including small business.
Survey respondents targeted some annoying aspects of parcel deliveries: long delivery windows (such as between 9am and 4pm), and “we missed you” cards.
77 per cent considered an acceptable delivery “window” to be two hours or less. Receiving an accurate “estimated time of delivery” (ETA) was shown to be a big deal, rated “very important” by 47 per cent, and “important” by another 36 per cent (only one per cent said an accurate ETA was “not important”).
The frustrating thing about this is any business, no matter how small, can inform customers with the technology currently available. Telematics technology to track deliveries is nothing new, and is now more widely available to small business.
To ensure parcel delivery is not a “deal-breaker” for your customers you need to:
Analyse your efficiency
To really improve performance, business needs to understand their delivery transport’s performance and efficiency. Many businesses are structured in a way which makes their delivery transport inefficient, often just because “we’ve always done it this way.”
Most businesses structure their deliveries around what’s most convenient for them, rather than what’s best for the customer. Customers are no longer restricted to their local shopping centre or home town, thanks to online shopping. If your potential clients can have items delivered quicker from overseas, interstate or your competitor down the road you need to make a change.
Outsourcing lower costs and gives more control. Many small businesses outsource part or all their delivery transport, which makes sense for cost management, risk management and service efficiencies – but only if you have the correct company supporting you.
As long as you challenge your outsourced suppliers. outsourcing should make your delivery solution quicker, cheaper and better.
Review your options
The survey findings show how marketplace and customer expectations have changed. If you have not reviewed your transport method or considered alternatives, do it now before it’s too late.
If your business is managing large numbers of regular orders, or needs to ship large, unusual or fragile parcels, it may be crazy to use a courier company, regardless of how cheap they are. Couriers are not set up to focus on a unique business, making it incredibly difficult to achieve consistent, high-performing deliveries. They are best at small, ad-hoc orders only.
If using your own vehicles and drivers for deliveries, you are generally locked into a high fixed cost arrangement. Yet there are solutions available which provide the benefits of having your own fleet at lower cost, while also eliminating risk and personnel issues. This solution could be your competitive edge.
Not knowing when a delivery will show up is a huge bugbear for customers. Can your customers track a delivery? Are they being alerted with approximate ETAs? Can your customer service team advise them as to how much longer they’ll be? This technology used to be prohibitively expensive for small business, but prices have come down dramatically in recent years. Remember, your customers can now track everything from pizza deliveries to taxis – it’s now a basic expectation. Can you afford to keep them uninformed?
Walter Scremin, General Manager, Ontime Group