Back in February, if you asked most brick-and-mortar retailers whether they considered same-day delivery an essential for their business, they'd probably have said no. What a difference six months make.
Now, as we enter the fall of 2020 and look back on the past few months of shelter in place and uneven reopenings, it's become apparent that the ability to meet your customer where they are is no longer just a nice-to-have. In fact, in June 46.5 million households turned to online grocery and delivery pickup, rising from 39.65 million in March. And for retailers across various verticals, whether or not you can quickly get your product into the hands of your customer is quickly becoming an important element of doing business.
So what can a retailer do to ensure a seamless transition from in-store only to fast and reliable delivery, especially if your staff is already tasked with cleaning and safety for them and your customers?
Know Yourself, Know Your Products.
Same-day delivery doesn't magically teleport your product from store to home; there are many moving pieces and tricky logistics to navigate to ensure that your product gets into your customer's hand on time and in great condition.
More than ever, an intimate knowledge of your inventory and how best to handle your product is crucial in ensuring a seamless transition to your customer's front door. It takes a lot more coordination and effort to deliver a bicycle versus a baseball cap so a one-size-fits-all delivery solution is not enough. Be realistic about what safe and efficient delivery requires, and make sure your team can appropriately approximate delivery needs and timelines.
Manage Expectations And Stay Communicative
Same-day delivery is a high stakes, high return process for any retailer to take on. Since the same-day delivery market has exploded in the past few months, customers have become accustomed to certain levels of service from retailers and have a high expectation of professionalism and dependability. The risk of underwhelming or even disappointing your customers is very real.
Take the time to connect with your customers as people. And while "under promise and over deliver" may not be the surefire path to success it was once assumed to be, a 2015 Nielson study of the top ten most trusted brands found that the consistent attribute of these brands was that they "consistently deliver[ed] on their brand promise." Once you know your product and delivery needs, make sure that you properly lay out timelines and expectations with your customers so that they know when to expect your product. Miss a delivery window? Be prompt in your follow-up and find a way to make it right. Because if your brand prides itself on customer service, enhanced delivery options is another way you can strengthen that bond with your community, even if there are hiccups along the way.
Trust The Personal Touch and Get A Great Partner
As Harvard Business Review wrote in July, any delivery app that a retailer partners with must be just that: a partner. And since any delivery service you partner with is, in essence, an extension of your own brand, it is imperative that that service and its people show the same care and attention to detail to your product as you would.
At Shipt, we pride ourselves on our not-so-secret weapon: our shoppers. Shipt Shoppers work hard for each and every order they shop and deliver. We're appreciative of Shipt Shoppers' commitment to providing an important service to communities nationwide, and continue to see record numbers of shoppers deliver food, household goods and medicine to customers across the country each day; in fact, recently we began piloting a new pay model that better reflects their effort and attention to detail.
So while we don't know how long this pandemic will last, or when we will get back to "normal," retailers now have the opportunity to add one more weapon to their arsenal: fast and reliable same-day service. And the good news is: you’re not alone, and there's help available.