Top 5 Delivery Challenges Facing Small Businesses
2014 has witnessed phenomenal growth in the small business sector, in particular the eCommerce sector. The fact that more than 5 million small and medium businesses – contributing to 47% of private sector employment and around 33% turnover – are currently functioning in the country, tells an exhilarating story. The advent of the internet and quicker modes of transportation has literally shrunk the world into one big global marketplace.
Small businesses are riding a wave of consumer confidence. The modern consumer has thousands of choices and he is not wary of buying goods from places not part of his traditional market. And businesses are luring consumers with quality goods and the promise of delivering their goods to the consumer’s doorsteps.
With thousands of businesses keen on delivering their products to customers all across the country, the demand for delivery solutions providers has been quite extraordinary. This is where small businesses are facing challenges they have never encountered before.
1. Is the packaging right?
The worst thing that can happen to a business is that the goods that have been delivered to the consumer are broken or damaged. Today, consumers are demanding beer bottles, wine, cakes and cookies, apart from furniture and electronic goods; materials which necessitate meticulous packaging. On top of this, the packaging must conform to the requirements of delivery companies, and should be environmentally friendly. This calls for careful research and development on the part of the retailer to provide the best possible packaging without drastically increasing rates.
2. How good is your courier?
Small businesses always have and always will struggle to match the economies of scale achieved by a large omnichannel retailer. However, in the same vein as a ‘buying group’, there are third party shipping providers across the UK and Europe who can offer ‘pooled volume’ discounted rates from a range of parcel carriers.
3. Does the courier know your business?
If the courier is not aligned with the vision of the retailer, their staff are not motivated enough to conform to the high standards of the retailer which could be, say, delivery of the goods within 48 hours of ordering. Also, extremely fragile items, like gifts and cakes or highly perishable foods like vegetables, fruits, meats and herbs, suffer the most at the hands of an unskilled delivery guy.
4. Are your goods classed as “Ugly Freight?”
Many goods are either oversized or simply don’t fit into conventional boxes and eventually on processing conveyers. They require special handling to avoid damage. This can affect the delivery schedule and also the condition in which these goods arrive at the customer’s doorstep. It becomes imperative for the business to work closely with the logistics partner to ensure that such goods are handled correctly.
5. Are you allowing “tracking” of your goods?
There is no bigger headache for the retailer than to search for that missing delivery. It’s better to spend money upfront in setting up a system, which allows the tracking of the delivery right from the time it leaves the factory/office to the time it reaches safely to the customer, than to burn it searching for the missing parcel and in compensating the customer. Also, a system for taking care of any “after delivery issues” should be put up in place.
All said, it is the prerogative of the retailer to be pro-active in identifying issues with deliveries. It is your reputation that is at stake, not the courier company’s. Act on customer feedback and set up robust systems to allow smooth, hassle-free deliveries. Give the customer the best shopping experience at negligible extra cost. This, and not anything else, will make the customer come back to you for more.
Which challenges do you feel your business faces the most? Any feedback on this article? Feel free to leave comments below!