Small businesses are at the mercy of third-party delivery delays

From a lack of communication to delayed deliveries and missing parcels, getting a delivery isn’t always easy. For small-business owners, delivery delays aren’t just an annoyance but can cause serious damage to many parts of the business, not just the bottom line.

New research from Zoom2u shows that over half (54.9 per cent) of business owners are being let down by third-party delivery delays. Late delivery was the number one reason for a bad delivery experience, followed by damaged goods, lost deliveries, and being forced to reorder. These delays caused almost two-thirds (61.5 per cent) of businesses to lose trust in larger delivery providers.

With the world still reeling from the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not surprising that three-quarters of Aussie business owners believe that the pandemic will continue to impact delivery and supply chain issues long after 2022.

As ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott told CNBC, companies that wish to make it through difficult economic conditions ahead need to invest in digital innovation now. Delivery is no exception. Long-term, repeated delivery issues are a fast track to losing customers, and eventually, your business’s reputation.

That’s all well and good, but how can retailers actually make those magical same-day or four-hour deliveries happen? The answer lies in finding delivery partners that can utilise your brick-and-mortar stores to complete the most direct delivery possible.

The power of direct delivery

When using national services like Australia Post, deliveries are sent to depos, often with several levels of sorting, which are eventually picked up and delivered by a different driver – sometimes days later.

In contrast, delivering directly from stores cuts out the middleman and dramatically reduces the risk of misplaced parcels, long wait times, or incorrect deliveries. Zoom2u, for example, has enabled Nespresso to use their retail stores as micro warehouses to dispatch products to their customers in hours rather than days.

Businesses should focus on making greater use of their physical retail footprint. This is a great advantage that many smaller retailers have over their large, mainstream competitors, and something that has been made possible with optimised delivery options.

Think of your IRL shop front as a mini online delivery depo. How can you make that local product or service available for delivery online? How can you let your local customer know that they can get their product delivered, even if they aren’t able to physically make their way into your store today?

If you employ your own fleet of drivers, speed up direct deliveries even further by replacing the old paper delivery run sheet with an automated system that can predict, plan and track for you.

Communicate clearly, and ask for feedback

Accept that sometimes delivery issues are inevitable, and put a plan in place to communicate these issues. Businesses located outside major cities can face tougher challenges with their customers, owing to the distance couriers need to travel and, in some locations, limited internet access to contact the customer en route.

Building great customer relationships at the outset will be of benefit to help offset delivery issues. Friendly service, clear and safe communication, and manners, will stand out from the crowd, especially since many customers have grown used to careless deliveries.

Businesses should also make sure they’re providing an easy way for customers to provide feedback and ratings, and respond accordingly. This way, you’ll be able to spot a brewing problem before it becomes bad enough to cause serious long-term reputational damage.

By finding more reliable delivery partners and working on the overall customer experience, you’ll be able to speed up both the order and the delivery cycle for both existing and new customers. With the right partners in place, there’s no reason why you can’t offer delivery times that rival even the biggest eCommerce platforms.