Small business has a personal touch that big business has never been able to match. What keeps smaller retailers going in this age of internet commerce is the ability to form lasting relationships with their customers based on knowledge and trust. However, customers are starting to demand something that small businesses have trouble delivering — rapid delivery. In fact, same day delivery is increasingly expected. As consumers begin to favor major retailers that can keep up with this expectation, small businesses are looking for ways to keep up.
A smaller firm’s objective in achieving same-day delivery capabilities is clear. It will retain existing clients while adding new ones, and keep pace with, or outmatch, local competitors. It can keep from being swallowed by a big chain, should that threat loom, and generate copious positive online reviews. After all, 74% of consumers say they’re likely to return to a business that offers same-day delivery, which is presumably why more than half of all retailers currently offer it and why 65% intend to at some point. Small businesses that fail to keep up risk falling behind.
Offering same-day delivery is not an easy feat for small businesses. In order to be able to do this, a range of capabilities and policies must first be in place.
- Professional drivers must be used, since interaction with delivery personnel, even if they are not employees of the firm consumers are buying from, are an intrinsic part of the customer service experience. More than half of consumers say they would never buy from the same company again if the delivery staff are unprofessional, and more than 70% say the simple fact that a delivery person is dressed in uniform makes them trust the seller more. Professional drivers are a must.
- Data protection practices must be in place. Consumers give retailers a great deal of very sensitive personal information, such as credit card numbers and home addresses. Data breaches — which have recently afflicted even major tech companies like Facebook and Amazon — can leave consumers deeply ill at ease and dampen their willingness to spend.
- Real-time tracking should be in place to put customers’ minds at ease and keep them in the loop about the status of their delivery. It helps the customers plan their own activities while adding a capability that most major sellers already have.
- Honest, upfront pricing should be in place at all times. Consumers are often willing to pay slightly higher prices for same-day delivery, but they are not likely to repeat the experience if hidden fees are added on after the transaction is made. They should know what they’re paying at the point of purchase, just as they should know what exactly they’re buying.
Some companies employ their own drivers and others outsource to professional couriers. For small businesses, the latter option usually makes the most sense. Small businesses typically have high fixed costs and razor-thin profit margins. They also tend to have a tightly focused range of expertise. Given all of these constraints, most small businesses would do well to hire a team of reliable couriers to ensure that customers’ same-day delivery expectations are met.
As Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations, it is the division of labor that makes capitalism tick. “It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labor, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people.” To learn how Reliable Couriers can help your small business meet its customers’ delivery expectations, call 888-415-1781.