Learn a few tips on how to make local delivery a cost-efficient option for customers (and your business)

For many brick and mortar businesses, local delivery feels like something too costly to implement. Fuel charges, operations adjustments, staffing, updated fulfillment processes – all of these concepts rise to the surface when thinking about local delivery.

While these are all things that need to be considered, to be successful with local delivery what it comes down to is who you offer it to and how much you charge. 

Here are a few ways to make this delivery option affordable while still offering a positive customer experience to buyers nearby.

8 tips for optimizing local delivery to your business 

Restrict based on how much a customer spends

If a customer puts in an order for a $15 bag of dog treats, is it worth it to deliver their goodies across town (even with a delivery fee)? Maybe, but you probably don’t want to make it a regular occurrence. Just like a free shipping promotion, consider limiting local delivery for specific price thresholds, like $75 or $150. Look at your margins and make adjustments.

Only offer local delivery with certain products

For those that own a specialized shop, say one that sells sports equipment, again it probably doesn’t make sense to offer local delivery for someone who orders a couple t-shirts. Instead, limit it to specific items with higher margins, or heavy products like a dumbbell set. Since customers typically pay a delivery premium for bigger products anyway, you’re not setting unreasonable expectations.

Limit local delivery to customer’s close to you

To cut down on fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear, and frustrations around traffic, you’re better off limiting local delivery to customers who live nearby. Say, within 20 miles from your shop. Decide how far you’re willing to go out and how long it takes for your driver to get there. If you have multiple store locations, it might also make sense to limit local delivery by zip code so you can service customers all over town more efficiently. 

Create realistic delivery time frames

It’s not possible for local delivery to happen at any time or day of the week for a small business. You need to define clear cutoff times, lead times and blackout dates for local delivery dispatch, especially if there’s production involved. Doing this will give your customers more accurate delivery dates at checkout. If same-day local delivery is something you want to offer, you can always limit it to customers who place an order before a set time, like 2pm. That way your team can pick and pack sufficiently.

Inform them of delivery date and time

The more information you can provide about delivery, the more likely they will purchase from you. In fact, stats show that nearly a quarter (24%) of online shoppers would abandon their order if no delivery date was provided. If you are delivering local make sure you don’t put yourself under undo pressure. Life is tough enough right now, so set a lead time if you can. Most people will be able to wait a day or two (assuming you aren’t selling pizza of course!).

Provide same-day local delivery (if you can)

If you are in the restaurant, food or gift gift trade, same-day delivery is expected. In order to do this correctly, you need to establish an early enough cut-off time for orders and publish this information clearly on your site. By doing this, your customers will have a clear idea about what you can do when it comes to delivery so they aren’t frustrated (or confused) at checkout.

Be clear about delivery policies

You need to be transparent about your delivery process, both on your website and in post-purchase communications. Create a FAQ or shipping policy page on your site outlining your policies, including how you manage returns, lost items or damaged goods. Be direct about how your local delivery program works, like if you require a signature or phone number to call ahead (or for these days, if you’re contactless) and who it is available for. 

After a customer has placed an order, you also need to make tracking available so customers know where items are at all times. This will cut down on emails and phone call support so your team can focus on other things.

Take a break

You don’t need to offer delivery ever day. And for most trades, delivery can only happen on certain days of the week anyways. Restricting your delivery days allows you to group orders and reduce your gas costs. Plus, it allows you and your staff a bit of a break to focus on other activities or parts of your business.

Customer Service is Key

During these unprecedented times, local delivery is a great way to stay connected with consumers in your area. Everyone is looking for new ways to support local retailers. The last thing they want is for their favorite shop to close down.

However, how you approach customer service will have the biggest impact on whether or not local delivery is worth it. Your staff should be thoroughly trained about your processes and be prepared whenever negative feedback occurs. 

If your team is dedicated to serving people as people, your business will get repaid for it. They will remember your level of service and be thought of the next time they buy.

Local delivery can be a real benefit for your community right now. Many would prefer to remain home as much as possible. Giving customers the ability to stay put, while getting items quickly, means you’re keeping their safety top of mind.

How ShipperHQ Helps with Local Delivery

With almost continuous disruptions and changes, we know the current situation can feel overwhelming. Many merchants are scrambling to pivot business models and find new ways to service their customers.

In ShipperHQ specifically, we give you the option to set up Local Delivery at checkout using a custom carrier. You can set a flat rate delivery fee, restrict the option by geographical region, zip code or distance radius, and even vary your delivery rates by order, item or package.

Plus, you can provide delivery arrival dates at checkout through our Delivery Date & Time feature, even if you’re using table rates. That way, your customer’s know exactly when an order will be in their hands.

If you’re a ShipperHQ customer that needs help getting this setup, feel free to reach out to us directly. 

Not using ShipperHQ? Sign up for your 15 day FREE trial today to get started with local delivery. Our team is here and ready to get you up and running quickly.