How Adding Local Delivery Services Can Improve Sales
One of the biggest trends of the past year is online shopping. Because of COVID-19, we now get everything delivered straight to our doorstep, big or small, cheap or expensive.
While this trend has been pushed forward due to the global pandemic, many assume that our eCommerce habits are here to stay. Retailers, both online and physical, need to adapt a new business model in order to maintain profitability and remain in business.
If you don’t currently offer the option, it may be a good idea to incorporate a local delivery system in your online store.
What is local delivery?
You may be thinking “wait, I already offer shipping, what’s the difference?”
Well, local delivery isn’t quite the same as eCommerce shipping. One of the main differences is in the way it’s handled. To deliver your products locally, you don’t need a big national or international carrier. In fact, you may even be able to do it yourself.
Of course, you don’t have to physically drive around and deliver packages yourself. You can use your existing staff, hire new people, or work with a local delivery company.
Local delivery is a midway point between shipping and in-store shopping. To an extent, it can substitute both, which under current circumstances are either limited, or simply less appealing than usual. But you can also add this option in addition to your regular shipping methods.
While in-store shopping can be a hassle that many shoppers prefer to avoid all together, and large shipping companies are experiencing backlogs and shipping times that are much longer than they used to be, local deliveries provide a solution to both issues.
Our blog covers everything you need to know about local delivery services:
Why You Should Incorporate Local Delivery in Your Online Store
Adding a local delivery option to your online store has multiple benefits. It can help grow your business, cultivate a new customer base and may set your business on the right path for a successful future.
Here are 5 ways local delivery can benefit your eCommerce business:
01. Get products to customers faster
Large shipping companies are working harder than ever, especially since the COVID-19 crisis began. National and international carriers face more business, as well as ever-changing regulations. These make shipping delays a much more common occurrence.
Fortunately, local deliveries aren’t impacted in the same way, and many can offer much shorter delivery durations than larger carriers.
Whether you choose to deliver yourself, or using a third-party service provider, you can likely get your products to reach customers much quicker. This is great news for shoppers who just want their products to arrive on time. It’s not bad for local businesses either.
02. Lower shipping costs
Using the services of large shipping companies doesn’t just affect shipping times, it also affects pricing. Large-scale carriers can often be expensive compared to local delivery prices, and require managing different rates under different circumstances, according to your carrier’s terms.
Choosing local delivery can be a great deal for your customers, saving them on shipping costs. If you offer free shipping and are therefore including the costs of shipping in your product price, you’ll be able to save that money yourself, increasing your profits for each delivery done locally. Either way, it’s a win.
03. Make more sales
There’s no way around it. Everyone shops online and gets products delivered straight to their home.
But while people prefer not to go shopping physically, many still prefer to buy local. Shopping at local businesses has various benefits for the community, for the environment, and for the local economy.
There’s a whole new segment of potential customers you can tap into and increase your sales, simply by offering local delivery options.
04. Grow a local community around your business
Putting an emphasis on local business can help differentiate your brand from others, and cultivate a loyal, local customer base.
Use local deliveries as an opportunity to form closer relationships with your customers and foster a sense of community. You can do this by creating a more personal experience for your local customers. For example, offering unique discounts or special products only for locals, or adding personalized notes in your deliveries.
Building a community around your brand doesn’t require a brick and mortar spot. These days, it can all happen online.
You can create a Facebook group, a subreddit, or build a forum on your own website dedicated to discussing local issues. By creating an active and dedicated community, you can earn repeat customers and brand ambassadors that can significantly impact your business.
05. Adapt your business to the future
The times are changing and the best thing business owners can do right now is pivot their business model to accommodate the new demands.
Adding the option for local delivery allows your business to set different timeframes and costs depending on the location. Offering services that cater more precisely to the individual is beneficial to both the customer and the business.
Likewise, attracting local clientele and increasing your sales within the community can help to not only weather the storm, but to increase your revenue in the long run as well.
Local businesses aren’t going anywhere. If anything, the current crisis has increased the need to rely on local businesses for all needs. In fact, between 2019 and 2027, the local service market is set to almost triple. Brands that hop on that trend early will ultimately have the advantage in the future.
How to Plan Your Local Delivery Operation
Before you add a local delivery option to your online store checkout, you should plan the ins and outs of your delivery system. Once the option is online, your customers will want as much accurate information as possible.
These are some of the basics you’ll need to cover before starting your local deliveries:
Set up a storage and delivery center
This is the most basic aspect of a local delivery system. You need a hub to package products and handle their distribution. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Many small business owners can manage this from a small storage space, storefront, or even from their home.
Your hub’s location will affect the areas where you’ll be able to offer local delivery. Eventually, you may be able to open multiple locations, offering local deliveries in several areas.
Decide on your coverage area
You may want your deliveries to cover as much territory as possible right away. After all, you want as many customers as you can get.
But starting out with an area that’s too large for you to handle can cause unwanted delays or mix ups. One bad experience is often enough to deter a customer from using your service again. Not to mention the extra costs for gas and drivers, or time spent driving long distances. Keeping your deliveries in a small radius will let you use less resources for more orders.
Start with a small area surrounding your delivery center. The radius you cover really depends on what type of environment you’re in. If you’re located in an urban area, you can start with a neighborhood or two. In suburban areas you may want to start off with a couple towns that may be further away.
When setting up your local delivery settings in your site’s backend, set it by zip code or radius to ensure that only your local customers get this service.
Understand how you’ll be delivering
The way you transport packages and the people you use to deliver them are the most important factors in your local delivery operation. Nailing this will ensure your products get to your customers on time, with no problems.
The logistics differ from business to business and depend on the type of products you sell, the volume of deliveries you’ll have, and the area in which you’re delivering.
First, you’ll need people to package products and deliver them. Some small business owners deliver themselves. But if your business is too big to allow for that, or if your products require special care, you can hire employees to take care of deliveries.
Once you know who will be delivering, you’ll need to figure out how. There are many ways to transport products, it really depends on where and what you’re delivering. In urban areas you can deliver small packages on a bicycle, but in the suburbs or in rural areas you’ll need a car. Larger packages, or large delivery volumes, may even require a truck.
If this all seems like too much for you, you might want to look into hiring a local delivery company to take care of transporting for you. This way, you’ll be able to focus on managing your business, rather than performing deliveries.
Every business is different, but it’s important to know exactly how your deliveries will work before jumping in.
Determine your delivery times
Transparency is critical for online sales. Prior to checking out, your customers will expect to know exactly when their packages will be arriving, and you should be able to fulfill those expectations.
Your delivery times depend on the system you have in place for deliveries. Depending on the types of products you sell and your business model, strive to deliver your orders within one or two days. Otherwise, people are likely to abandon their cart and order from a business that can offer next-day, or even same-day delivery.
If you created your site with Wix, you can determine different delivery timeframes depending on the customer’s zone. This’ll help you provide shoppers with the most accurate information possible.
When it comes to delivery times, the faster – the better.
Set your delivery rates
Getting products delivered on time to satisfied customers is one thing. But you don’t want to end up losing money from your local deliveries.
The rates you’ll set depend on all of the logistics we’ve covered. You should calculate your expenses for local deliveries and see roughly what your minimal price per delivery is.
The main expenses to take into account include:
Car or truck expenses (or bike)
Delivery center (if you rent out a space dedicated to deliveries)
Gas (unless your pedaling, of course)
Seeing as some expenses are directly affected by distance, you may want to offer tiered rates for different areas. If you choose to work with a delivery company, your expenses will likely be much clearer and straight forward.
Either way, make sure not to undercharge. If you want to offer free shipping,, determine a minimum cart value rather than setting a delivery rate. For example, you can choose to only offer free shipping for orders over $100. This way your markups will cover the costs of delivery.
How to Add a Local Delivery Option to Your Online Store
So the hard part is behind you. You know exactly where, when and how you’ll be delivering. It’s time to finally go live and add a local delivery option to your online store checkout.
Wix businesses can set up local deliveries in just a few simple steps.
First, you’ll need to create a shipping region in the Store Shipping section of your dashboard. If you already offer shipping, you have this set up and you can simply choose one of your regions.
Once you’ve set up and chosen your region, you can click the “+ Add Local Delivery” to configure your local delivery options. Enter an area name, such as “Lower East Side”, so your customers know immediately if the option is relevant for them.Once you set up your areas, you’ll need to enter an estimated delivery time and delivery rate. You can also create multiple zones that’ll have different delivery timeframes and costs or add an option to offer free delivery for sales over a certain amount.
If you want to set up more than one area, you can click the “+” to add more. You can use this option to set up different rates and estimated delivery times.
How to Promote Your Local Delivery Services
Local deliveries are an amazing way to boost your business, whether you’re in eCommerce or operate a brick and mortar establishment. But all your efforts can go unnoticed if you don’t market your local delivery options to potential customers.
Here are a few tips on how to promote your local delivery services:
Promote on your website and social media
The first thing you can do is utilize your existing online properties.
Announce your local deliveries on your website’s homepage, or even create a dedicated landing page with the help of our landing page builder. You can also add a banner, lightbox or badge to your site to let visitors know about this service.
You can also use social media to connect with the local community and create a buzz. Think of creative ways to incorporate your target audience into your posts.
Use targeted marketing
Targeted marketing is a great way to promote your services only to those who matter. In this case, you can use it to specifically reach people who live in the area in which you deliver.
Both options operate similarly. You set up an ad and define who it will show up for, according to a set of parameters. In this case, the most important parameter is location.
But don’t get complacent. Targeted ads work best when you define the right target audience using a wide range of parameters, such as age, gender, location, or even interests. Location is key here, but location alone may not provide the most effective results.
Spread the word with email marketing
As an online store owner, you probably already have a database of customers’ emails. Use it to promote your offerings straight to your customer base, for free.
If you have information about customer locations, you can use it to narrow your mailing list in this case, to include only customers who live in your area.
Don’t worry if you don’t know locations, you can still send out a marketing email to your entire mailing list. It may not be relevant for many customers, but showing them you understand the importance of local commerce can still shine a positive light on your brand.
Utilize local outlets
You’re offering local delivery, so why not use local marketing outlets?
There are many ways to promote your business locally. You can take out ads in local papers (or local online magazines), promote in local groups on social media, distribute flyers, or even get a billboard, if you can afford it.
Marketing is all about using a mixture of outlets, to reach as many potential customers as possible. Use every resource available to promote your local delivery, boost sales and ensure your business keeps thriving, even in uncertain times.
Ready to start selling online? Create your eCommerce website today.
Rom is a writer and content creator, who specializes in eCommerce, sustainability and agriculture.