The 3 Steps to Moving Your Business Online and Starting a Delivery Service Today

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Ordering goods and having them delivered to your home is second nature to most consumers. It’s one of the biggest changes to shopping habits that the digital age has brought about – whether it’s purchasing groceries, pet supplies, or meal kits. But, how do you take that first step towards moving your business online without the know-how, or without previous experience with ecommerce? 

How do you let your existing customers know that you’re open for deliveries? Where do you get your drivers and delivery vehicles? How do you keep track of all your deliveries and make sure your drivers get to where they are going, and on time?

Go From On-Premise to Online in 3 Steps

Here are three easy steps that business owners can take today to successfully transition their business from on-premise to online.

Step 1: Let customers know you’re open for delivery

Build an online presence

Start with social media platforms: make a Facebook business page and/or Instagram business page. This gives potential customers an easy way to find you online and through search engines, and will help drive traffic to your website. Social media is also a way that customers can share info about your business and spread the word around town.   Be sure to publish your menu or price list and post it on all your social media pages, and include delivery information in everything you post as well.

Setup an eCommerce platform

After you’ve established your social media pages, it’s time to build a landing page with an eCommerce platform: Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, or another major online store vendor. Create an online ordering form that’s simple, understandable, and gives the consumer a clear idea of everything they’re getting. Google forms is a great place to get started with designing a menu.

Talk directly to customers

Then, you have to open up direct communication channels with customers: ways that they can reach out for customer support and ask questions. You can open up direct messages over social media as a start, and also ensure you have a dedicated phone number and email. Responsiveness is key: none of this is helpful if customers can’t get a quick response!

Finally, don’t forget to put up a delivery sign in your store window! That’s one of the best ways that people get information about local businesses. 

Once orders start streaming in, your only job is to make sure they’re delivered in a timely and accurate manner (with a high-quality product, of course).

Step 2: Set up a delivery workflow

The logistics of setting up and operating a delivery business can be hugely challenging: you’ll need simple, repeatable processes in place, along with some tricks prepared to   deal with demand. Here are some important considerations:

Determine your optimal delivery strategy 

You’ll have to choose which delivery strategy is best suited for your business. If you’re doing same-day deliveries, then you’ll need to establish a cutoff time to ensure timely deliveries. Or, you can do next-day delivery, which allows you to pack more orders per route, meaning fewer drivers, less driving, and bigger margins. 

Scheduling several days in advance vastly improves the number of orders a single driver can serve. This is doubly true if you use powerful route optimization software like OptimoRoute.

Bag items ahead of time

Many delivery services pre-bag the most popular items to speed up the delivery process, or offer ready-made “essential groceries.” Make sure you include disposable cutlery in all delivery bags.

Organize delivery personnel 

If possible, use existing staff as delivery personnel (this is what many small businesses do). Otherwise, you’ll have to hire a team of drivers.

Keep customer data organized in a list

Your customer’s data is one of your most valuable assets, so ensure that you keep it organized and protected. Phone numbers, emails, and delivery addresses should be easily accessible (you can use this information later for email marketing), and you’ll want to store data on previous orders and favorite meals as well (this data can tell you which products your customers prefer and inform digital marketing campaigns).

Arrange deliveries based on vehicle size 

Use bikes or motorcycles for small packages, and cars and trucks for big orders or rush deliveries. Also, make sure to establish a maximum service distance from your store or restaurant. Check out our blog on how to add delivery to restaurants as well.

Once everything is ready to be delivered, learn how to manage delivery routes and keep efficiency high.

Step 3: Taking payment from customers

There are many payment methods available, and you’ll want to give customers as many ways to pay as possible. You can use a Point of Sales (POS) system like Square, Shopify, and or Shopkeep, which is easiest for most delivery & online businesses, or online payment platforms  like Amazon Pay, Checkout, 2Checkout or PayPal.

You may also take credit card payments and even cash: if you’re taking credit card, make sure to ask for information over the phone, and if you’re using cash, make sure your drivers have enough change.

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