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Photo by Alex Mecl on Unsplash

With everyone sheltering in place during the pandemic, small businesses and retailers need to find innovative ways to reach their customers. Offering a local delivery service is one of the easy ways you can bridge the gap between you and your market.

Local delivery is, in e-commerce terms, the process by which your products are brought from online purchase to your address. When you set up a local delivery service, it is an option outside of shipping using a courier or shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. You still have that local touch, but with the extra layer of convenience and safety by minimizing outside trips during the pandemic.

Local selling online has risen in popularity during lockdowns, where businesses have had to pivot and change their strategies for bringing their goods to their customer base. Shopping has changed, and instead of customers going out more often to seek out products, it’s the products that are being brought to them. Local pickup and delivery service has become part of the new routine.

Current trends show that pandemic buying behavior is here to stay. More consumers are now keen on looking for more authentic local businesses and sourcing their products from small business owners through local delivery. Consumers are also discovering the benefits and conveniences derived from patronizing local selling websites. People have been able to try new products that they would not have usually bought in their old routines. There are also discovering that the delivery idea is not just limited to occasional overseas purchases, but can be applied to almost any product from any company.

This experience has connected local sellers and customers even more. During the pandemic, converting your small business into a local delivery company may be a way to weather the storm. It can help you reach your customers even as travel restrictions and lesser mobility impact regular sales in traditional brick-and-mortar settings.

Local delivery is also an opportunity to provide an all-new customer experience that could mean more loyalty to your brand. Whether it’s a local delivery website showcasing your goods and offering easy payment systems, or all-new packaging that delights the customer, or new promotions tied to your local delivery service, there is a way to engage your customer better and develop loyalty to your product line.

Can local delivery help your business thrive?

If you are looking for ways to generate additional revenue, or make up for losses from lackluster physical sales, then setting up a local delivery service to complement your original business might be the right path for you.

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You can opt to start small with your local delivery operations. Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

How can you get started on local delivery?

Local selling websites are a quick and easy way to set up a local delivery service.

Platforms such as Strikingly offer a way to build your very own business website for free. When you start out with Strikingly, you can browse a range of tools, options and designs to get started on your local delivery website at zero to minimal cost.

Strikingly can help homegrown businesses reach nearby customers and engage better with their immediate localities. Your local delivery website can be a powerful tool to create a more dynamic relationship with your community, start a conversation, attract buyers and drive revenue through endorsements and word-of-mouth.

With the pandemic creating distance between businesses and their pool of loyal and returning customers, you can also use your local delivery website to connect with your existing buyers, and make sure they are informed of your latest items and services. You can even create a newsletter that is connected with your local delivery service to help them stay informed of all the goings-on in your store.

With all these advantages to setting up a local delivery website, every small business, especially in industries such as food, essentials, clothing, or groceries, should consider setting up a local delivery service through Strikingly.

Create your New Local Delivery Website on Strikingly

As mentioned, Strikingly offers a website building platform that caters to all types of business needs and can serve all of the functionalities required by a local delivery operation.

Its e-commerce tools allow you to set up an online store that also has local delivery features. You can talk about your brand or your product line, and showcase your items online with pricing and details.

After setting up your e-commerce store, you can add a delivery service upon checkout. You can connect your store with a local provider that helps transport your goods to your customer.

Strikingly websites are a chance to improve the experience of shopping for your brand. With local delivery, you help speed up bringing the product to your customer. By taking charge of the delivery yourself, you can cut the delays associated with couriers. With a local delivery site, you might even cut on your own operating costs as well as on the total cost of the item by reducing surcharges.

When you have your own online store, your own shoppers can increase their buys when they know that the products have a reduced delivery time. Greater interaction with stores that are closer to their location results in higher trust and convinces them to push through with their purchases. This increase in conversion can make a difference in your sales.

Local loyalty to small businesses can also increase when you have a local delivery company willing to go the extra mile. This is because when businesses and services are nearer, they feel more tangible to consumers. Your customers will consider their efforts as support towards the local economy, as reinforced by your local delivery website.

Therefore, messaging is also very important when conducting a local delivery business. The way in which you communicate to your followers is key in creating a personal shopping experience. You can create personalized notes, brochures, unique packaging and insert special promotions to your delivery basket to show that you care about them.

Things to Consider

With each new business move comes a host of new considerations. Among these are:

  • Overall logistics strategy. Have an overview of how you want to push out your products based on your sales targets. This involves a general idea of your scale of operations, and mapping out details like the type of vehicles and workforce you will be needing, your chosen market and the area you are targeting for your deliveries. If possible, have a backup plan.

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How will you choose to transport your items? Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

  • Delivery path. Establish pick-up points or starting points for your delivery process
  • Delivery scope. Establish the limits of your delivery operations. What is your maximum radius? You need to map out your limitations as a business and the capacity of your fulfillment service.
  • Costs. What costs are you willing to pass on to the consumer? How much are you charging for local delivery? Are you offering it for free as an attraction, or charging a reasonable fee?
  • Timing. Your deliveries do not have to be timed immediately or on-demand. You can batch your orders to make your operations more efficient, and to save on costs. If you are a small business, your resources may be limited, so you will have to decide on specific dates or times when you can deliver. Examples of such options are: same-day delivery or next-day delivery. You can even deliver every two to three days. Remember that it all depends on your capacity.
  • Communication. Make your delivery details clear to your customers. Manage their expectations. Just because you’re a local store, it doesn’t mean that you can address their needs at lightning speed. Be clear about the time and date when you will be able to deliver their purchases.
  • Area schedules. You can also opt to create schedules around particular zones, such as neighborhoods or villages. You will need to map out such zones if you are catering to a wider scope.
  • Transport vehicles. You need to go in-depth by the means which you will be delivering the items. While it’s an option to deliver parcels by bike or on foot, you might want to invest in motor vehicles if you want things to move faster or be able to carry larger packages.
  • Partnerships. Can’t do it on your own? That shouldn’t be a problem. You can work with third-party providers to augment your capacity. You can also reserve such arrangements as a backup plan during seasonal peaks in demand.
  • Personnel and training. If you do decide to handle most of the deliveries yourself, then you need to conduct additional hiring and training of personnel. They must be familiar with every aspect of your local delivery operation and know how to handle your brand well when dealing with the customer.
  • Tech. You can use additional tech for functions such as monitoring and tracking. You can measure the efficiency and timeliness of your deliveries through tracking apps.
  • Contingency plans. Develop extensive contingency plans for unforeseen incidents. You should also have practical protocols for when customers are unavailable at the time of delivery. Work out common scenarios and set up protocols to deal with them.

Setting up an Online Local Delivery Service is Also About Future Sustainability

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Small businesses can use their online delivery service as a stepping stone to something greater. Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

With everything going around in the economy, local communities can provide a valuable cushion for losses and risks. With their recent customer experiences during the pandemic, people are exploring new ways to obtain their goods. It is likely that this consumer behavior will continue well after COVID-19. The potential for e-commerce has always been there, and it has always had the power to spur local delivery into a thriving new business model.

Within a crisis also comes opportunity. Local delivery through your newly-built Strikingly website offers a chance for you to branch out of your established ways and be more in touch with your customers. With this new form of interaction comes potential for growth.