According to consumer trends research, more than half of North American customers believe the epidemic has influenced how they will shop in the future.
One of the most notable trends is increased support for small and local businesses, with more than half of consumers seeking out locally owned businesses. Nearly a third of purchasers said they bought something online and had it delivered locally during the first three months of the pandemic.
Offering a last-mile delivery service is an excellent way to engage with local customers, increase sales, and provide an excellent customer experience.
You might be unsure how to set up last-mile delivery or if it’s right for your business. In the sections below, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of starting your own last-mile delivery service.
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What is Last-Mile Delivery, and how does it work?
When customers order your products online and have them delivered locally to their homes, this is known as last-mile delivery. Last-mile delivery, when compared to carrier shipping, in-store shopping, and in-store pickup, is a viable option if you want to save money and control your own delivery experience.
It has had a particularly significant impact on businesses and customers alike in a world where shipping companies are experiencing increasing delays and in-store purchasing is still risky.
What are the advantages of last-mile delivery for your Shopify business?
With last-mile delivery, businesses can provide meaningful shopping experiences for their local customers while also helping to drive sales and money. Here are some of the ways that delivering locally with Shopify can help businesses connect with local customers and carve out a niche in their community.
Improve the customer experience
Especially in the event of a pandemic, shipping delays are unavoidable. Shipping costs are also exorbitant, causing many customers to abandon their shopping carts.
By delivering orders directly to local clients, you can avoid delays and shipping costs. Merchants may be able to better control the process if they distribute the product themselves rather than relying on shipping carriers, which is especially important given the pandemic’s impact on delivery times. While costs must still be considered, merchants have more control over them than carriers, who frequently charge high fees during the Christmas season.
Increase your sales
Online shoppers spend 23 percent more and have a 25 percent larger cart size when independent merchants offer convenient purchasing options like local pickup and last-mile delivery. Furthermore, shoppers who chose local pickup or last-mile delivery over shipping had a 13 percent and 19 percent higher conversion rate, respectively, than those who chose shipping. To increase your average order value, you can charge for your last-mile delivery service.
Customers are actively looking for ways to support their local businesses in order to help sustain their communities and economies. They’re also intrigued by local shipping because it offers a number of appealing advantages.
First and foremost, the pandemic’s dreadful reality for online retailers is shipment delays, which buyers despise. Last-mile delivery can save money and time when compared to shipping.
Last-mile delivery, on the other hand, allows for the creation of a one-of-a-kind brand experience. Customers who shop locally expect a personalized experience, which you can’t provide in a store. Last-mile delivery is one way to accomplish this. This can be used to keep in touch with current customers while also attracting new ones. For example, a personalized packaging insert or a personalized remark in the delivery notification can thank them for their purchase.
Form a connection with the local community
Making it simple for customers to shop locally is an excellent way to differentiate yourself from the competition, gain new customers, and boost sales. It’s also a fantastic way to stay in touch with your existing, devoted local customers. Additionally, providing a last-mile delivery service can assist you in attracting new customers in your area.
For a long time, it has been understood that cultivating a loyal customer base is the best way to ensure long-term success. And we’re living in a time when people are feeling the effects of the pandemic’s physical isolation and are yearning for community more than ever.
Invest in your company’s long-term viability
While COVID-19 has hastened the adoption of last-mile delivery, the effects on consumer behavior will last long after the pandemic has passed. Consumers will continue to look for quick, easy, and low-cost ways to make online purchases, and the trend of supporting local businesses will continue. Consumer behavior has evolved over time and will continue to do so in the future. Merchants who step up to the plate, anticipate client needs, and create one-of-a-kind shopping experiences will be well-positioned for future success.
Create a Shopify logistics strategy for your last-mile delivery
While enabling a last-mile delivery option at checkout is simple, we’ve put together a list of logistical considerations to help you decide what’s best for your business.
What location will you be delivering from?
Some online business owners also have physical stores, while others have no physical location and rely solely on the internet. You’ll have to figure out which of your stores will provide last-mile delivery and whether you’ll have enough employees to deliver from multiple locations.
In some cases, merchants may offer last-mile delivery from a single location, particularly if you’re doing it yourself. If you have more employees on hand, you may be able to deliver to customers who live closer to other locations.
What is the farthest you will travel to deliver orders?
Now that you know where you’re delivering to, it’s time to figure out where you’re delivering to. You have complete control over which locations you distribute to and which you do not. To define how far you’ll travel to deliver items, create various delivery zones and a zip/postal code list. Set a radius around each site to define delivery zones, but keep in mind that doing so will give you less control over specific areas and neighborhoods.
Customers who live within a certain radius of the store are more likely to qualify for last-mile delivery. This may result in more sales, but it will also necessitate additional delivery assistance. If you only have a few employees who can deliver, setting up a larger delivery area could be beneficial. You may want to set up a smaller space if you’re handling your own deliveries. In either case, start small and adapt as needed.
What is the cost of last-mile delivery?
Amazon Prime was the first to make free delivery a standard, and now 21% of small to medium-sized online businesses in the US always do. As a result, customers have come to expect free shipping, and this expectation often extends to last-mile delivery services as well.
Free delivery isn’t always possible, however, because you may need to cover additional costs such as gas or extra delivery personnel. The two most important factors to consider are the shipping cost and the minimum cart value.
You can limit last-mile delivery to orders over a certain amount, which will directly increase the average order value (AOV). If you offer free or low-cost last-mile delivery, this method works best.
If you don’t want to use a cart value minimum, you can set a flat last-mile delivery price for all orders within your delivery zone. You can charge a lower fee for deliveries within a short distance and a higher fee for deliveries over a longer distance, for example. To make this delivery option appealing to your clients, last-mile delivery services should be priced lower than shipping through a carrier. This cost should be determined by a combination of the time it takes you to fill orders and the distance you must travel. If your delivery area is larger, you may want to charge more for last-mile delivery.
How long will it take for orders to be delivered?
One of the benefits of last-mile delivery is that customers can receive their products faster. This, however, is dependent on how often you plan to go out on delivery.
If you’re delivering locally and can’t do it every day or as orders come in, set specific delivery days or hours. Ascertain that your customers are aware of this prior to, during, and after their transaction.
Consider options like same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and two-to-three-day delivery. Anything longer may not make sense for the last-mile delivery shopper. If you can get things into your clients’ hands faster, you can charge more for this service. If you serve a large geographic area, you might want to consider creating a neighborhood-based delivery schedule.
What method will you use to deliver your orders?
Depending on your location and delivery zone, orders can be delivered in a variety of ways. While driving a car may come to mind first, you can also complete last-mile delivery orders by bike or on foot, which, depending on traffic, may be faster in some areas.
If you’re short on staff or want to use third-party services, you could use apps like Postmates. If you’re dealing with a large number of customers or want to reach out to new ones, these can be helpful. This also takes care of the actual delivery, making it a breeze to complete. It does, however, come with additional (and sometimes significant) costs.
Who will be responsible for the delivery of your orders?
You can deliver the orders yourself, using current or newly acquired employees, or using third-party last-mile delivery services—or a combination of the three. It’s important to keep in mind that the delivery driver, whoever he or she is, is a part of the client experience. They are a part of your brand, even if they don’t work for you.
Communication is critical. Customers want to know when their orders are going to arrive. To accomplish this, delivery personnel should text or email the buyer when they’re on their way and, if possible, provide an estimated delivery time. It’s also critical to send customers a delivery confirmation email that includes a photo of the merchandise at the delivery location. When orders are delivered by in-house team members, it’s easier to keep track of these interactions. As a result, many of the apps have tracking capabilities, allowing customers to see where their orders are at any given time.
Consider what would happen if the customer wasn’t available when the order was delivered. It is sometimes sufficient to leave the package outside the front door or in the mailbox. This isn’t always possible. Make a note of the customer’s phone number and keep it on hand in case the driver needs to contact them in an emergency. During the checkout process, you should also inquire about the customer’s delivery instructions. They’ll be able to tell you if leaving the order at the door is acceptable.
No matter how hard you try, there will be mishaps. When the customer opens the box, the contents may be incorrect or damaged. You can take a picture of the package at the customer’s door to protect yourself and confirm delivery, but this isn’t foolproof. Prepare a backup plan and have replacement products on hand. In these cases, be generous with your return policy and, if at all possible, offer free shipping or returns pickup, as well as free delivery for any replacement items.
Errors should hopefully be few, but keep track of them. If you notice a pattern, such as a high rate of theft in one location or faulty products delivered by a third-party carrier, you should investigate further.
How will you publicize last-mile delivery in your neighbourhood?
First and foremost, your website should contain information about last-mile delivery. A pop-up, banner, or marquee can be used to share information with your customers during the launch. It’s also a good idea to mention it on your shipping policy and checkout pages. Run free shipping ads or flash discounts that include the last-mile delivery messaging to increase awareness and conversions.
There are a few other things you can do to promote your last-mile delivery options on your website:
- Post about last-mile delivery on your organic channels, and supplement with sponsored ads that are specific to the area where you’re offering the service.
- Segment your customer base and let local customers know about the new option. As an incentive, consider giving them a discount code for their first last-mile delivery order.
- Customers in your area are most likely looking for “near-me last-mile delivery.” Optimize for local SEO to appear in Google search results.
- Send emails to past and current customers, as well as visitors to your website. Inform them that last-mile delivery is now available and that they can begin using it immediately.
Digital marketing may not always be required for traditional strategies. Using their knowledge of the local community and events, merchants can become active and market to the local client base. Distribute flyers in high-traffic areas and consider forming a partnership with other businesses in the area.
How does last-mile delivery fit into your overall shipping strategy?
While last-mile delivery is convenient for customers in your immediate area, you don’t want to alienate customers who live outside your delivery zone. Carrier shipping services may be able to supplement and even fulfill some of your last-mile delivery requirements.
Clients in the local area, in particular, may benefit from services like curbside pickup. You can offer curbside pickup as an alternative to expedited shipping if customers outside of your last-mile delivery radius need their online items quickly and expedited shipping isn’t available or too expensive.
Curbside pickup can be useful even if you don’t have a physical store. Convert your warehouse into a pickup location, start a pop-up local pickup location, or team up with another local company to use their space. Last-mile delivery does not have to compete with other shipping methods; in fact, it can be an excellent complement.
EasyRoutes Last-Mile Shopify Delivery App can Help You Increase Sales
Giving customers the choice of how and when they want their goods delivered lowers completion barriers, which improves your bottom line. It also allows you to join a community, which increases customer loyalty. When it comes to adding last-mile delivery to your online store, you’ll need to figure out the logistics in a way that supports your current business goals while also being long-term viable.
EasyRoutes by Roundtrip is here to assist you. Our app (2x Shopify Staff Pick) is a complete last-mile delivery management solution that can assist you with everything from pick-and-pack to route planning and optimization, customer tracking, and proof of delivery.