With majority of physical stores closing over the course of the pandemic, the general shopping routine of the people was more than affected. Shoppers had to adapt to the change in the way of life and how everyday chores are done. Recent statistics found out that a lot of shoppers in the United States have already made peace with the new shopping methods and are already planning to adapt it to their lives as they go forward.

One good thing that has come out of this global catastrophe is the growth in the patronizing of small and local businesses. Large corporate enterprises have ceased most of their operations or are going online, which led people to turn to the most accessible businesses locally. Shopping is being done mostly online now and local delivery has played a huge role in making that happen. Local delivery allows sellers to establish a more personal relationship with their nearby customers, boosts sales, and give your customers  a great experience.

If you’re thinking about integrating local delivery to your current business, allow me to give you an overview on all things local logistics.

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What is local delivery?

Door-to-door delivery is the main point of it. When customers make a purchase of your product online, local delivery drops the parcel directly to their mailing address. It is another option that you can use aside from carrier shipping and shopping in-stores – the latter being a difficulty due to safety restrictions. It has significantly affected both businesses and customers since logistics are adjusting to the drastic increase in volume of shipments since online shopping activity shot through the roof when the pandemic hit.

Local delivery and your business

Your business can strive with local delivery. It will help you establish a more direct relationship with your customers and improve your sales. Shopify grants its users an avenue for local delivery and enable them to reach customers within the area to build brand awareness within the community.

Shopify Local Delivery is a collection of tools for businesses to set their local delivery service preferences at checkout. It has features designed for order management, and setting up optimal delivery routes for the courier driver.

Connect to the local neighborhood

A hassle-free way to shop is something that customers value a lot. Local delivery offers convenience and that can be something that you can use to help your brand stand out among the competition and spread good word about it to many other people. You can strengthen bonds with your existing pool of customers and create ties with new ones. Being a local business supporter means a lot today and is a plus for your brand image. Growing your business means widening your customer base and maintaining their loyalty.

Better customer service

Large-scale shipping systems are experiencing an onslaught of thousands of parcels. Shipping delays are very common occurrences and if you want to keep customers satisfied with your service, you may want to opt for a cheaper and less prone to delay way of shipping. This aspect of online shopping is the defining factor of a customer’s choice to make another order next time. Chances are, with long waiting time for an order, customers are less likely to return. Local delivery is evidently faster and less expensive than the conventional ways.

Higher sales volume

According to Shopify’s number, sellers that offer local delivery as a shipping option generally gain more sales and that shoppers spend more on their purchases with these retailers compared to standard shipping systems. People have been working on supporting local and small enterprises nowadays instead of large corporate businesses to help one another in making a living in the middle of this pandemic. Local couriers are guaranteed to deliver parcels way faster.

Protect your business

Even after the pandemic is over, the transition to regular routines will not be immediate. People will still be wary of going out. It is safe to say that online shopping has become so deeply embedded in the lives of people that even when it’s safe to go out and resume to the normal way of life, online businesses will remain strong nonetheless. The support for local courier services will also continue. Consumers have become accustomed to the convenience. Businesses that adapt to changes in the trends and the needs of its consumers will always provide better service and are therefore, more preferable.

Setting up local delivery

On your online store, adding a local delivery option is fairly easy with a few clicks. But there are other technicalities that need to be considered to ensure smooth flow of business.

Some online businesses also have physical stores where walk-in customers can shop. There are also those that operate solely online such as dropshippers, who do not keep inventory. If you’re one of the former, then you will to decide which of your branches (if you have multiple) are able to offer local delivery, and if you have the manpower to carry out the service.

You also need to set a limit on distance. Figure out the vicinity in which you are capable of delivering to. You can specify some areas or communities that are covered by your service. Take note that the wider your covered vicinity is, the more possible customers you can accommodate. You may need more delivery personnel as you expand your coverage. Regardless, set small objectives first and work your way from there.

Now for the fee, having local delivery services will subject you to shoulder other expenses like the vehicle used for delivery, fuel, and more staff. Large-scale businesses offer free shipping service within the United States. And as for other online retail stores, customers expect the same deals as well. To be able to offer this service while still remaining profitable, you can set certain conditions that customers need to meet to avail of it. A strategy such as minimum order value can be adapted. Otherwise, you can always set a rate for local delivery services that vary according to distance to cover the extra expense.

Scheduling of delivery is another factor to consider. If you are able to conduct everyday deliveries, great. But if you are low on manpower and everyday deliveries just aren’t feasible, you can schedule certain delivery days. Just remember to notify your customers with this so they know when to expect their orders to arrive. You can also arrange delivery schedule by area.

Communication is key. You have to set up a communication system with your customers where they are able to keep track of their orders. Regular updates and notifications are essential for good customer service. It ensures transparency – something that buyers from online stores value. Tracking features are a vital part of online business. There will be times as well when your delivery personnel have to make sure that the customer is there to receive the parcel at the time of delivery when drop-off at doorstep or mailbox just isn’t feasible.

Promoting your new service

It’s time to let your customers know about your newest shipment service!

One of the best and effective ways to announce is to showcase it on the homepage of your store. Design a striking banner for your online storefront. Or you can have it displayed on the checkout page with the shipping options, with an additional detail to emphasize the update. You can have exclusive shipping discounts and deals for a certain time period to get the hype up on your announcement.

Other marketing channels to spread the word:

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing to your existing pool of customer mailing list
  • Search engine marketing
  • Targeted advertising
  • Non-digital marketing concentrated on particular communities covered by the service

There are many benefits of local delivery service. Both the seller and buyer can gain a lot from it. A more personal relationship between you and your customer is one good thing that can come out of it, despite of the added expense and effort that you will need to put out to make that into fruition. As a business owner, you have to be open to new trends and systems in the business. Being adaptable to the changes makes you a versatile and efficient seller. In the constantly developing and growing industry, always being up to the trends is one way to keep up with the competition and stay on top of the game.