Despite Australia making obvious tracks back to ‘normal’, Australians have had a taste of convenience with online purchasing and to-the-door delivery, resulting in what could be a permanent change to shopping behaviours and delivery expectations.

House-hold names like Amart Furniture, Nespresso and Telstra have flagged this early on and are now reaping the benefits of in-house delivery, alongside their original offering. However, there are still thousands of small businesses and startups who assume that running their own fleet of drivers is too expensive and continue to rely on leading delivery partners who are currently facing mass delays and strikes, and are unlikely to meet the demand this Christmas, when it is needed most. 

Managing your own logistics can be very cost effective, and making the changes now could even help to navigate an inevitably difficult holiday period of delivery delays. All of this could be achieved for small businesses who either have their own fleets or not using Zoom2u’s various software offerings. The setup isn’t complex, and it isn’t too late. 

Revamp your tech

The right software can support simple online processes where shoppers are given multiple delivery options at the checkout. This can be anything from same-day services to even 1 hour delivery windows, and the offering can sit alongside your basic standard delivery by Australia Post, or other. This gives consumers more choice and allows businesses to cater for every purchase’s unique needs. 

Nespresso is a great example of this delivery process. They offer a range of delivery times from a little as 1 hour in CBD locations which sit alongside their standard delivery options – all at different prices. In a recent customer survey, over half of those asked said that they would be willing to pay more for delivery if they could guarantee a safe and timely arrival, so it makes sense to at least offer the option. 

There are also multiple tech solutions embedded within software that can ensure a better delivery service, such as a communication portal that connects the driver directly to the recipient for the duration of the package’s journey. Should the driver be running late or the recipient needs to dash out, the issue is easily resolved, making it virtually impossible to miss or lose a delivery. 

Another is instant feedback. Allowing a customer or driver to rate their experience in real time allows delivery businesses to identify and resolve issues as they happen, ensuring the issue doesn’t continue or worse – land a bad review! A great delivery experience will dramatically impact the chances of repeat sales. 

Revisit your logistics and processes

Other physical distribution methods processes like back-office batching, where multiple orders are compiled into one time slot, and micro-warehousing where bricks and mortar stores have been transformed into mini distribution centres. 

Timing is also everything. By using a scalable delivery marketplace, businesses can invest in tech solutions that use GPS to match each delivery to the closest available driver. This will result in faster and more efficient deliveries over time.  

National research into Australian online shoppers conducted in July 2021 by Zoom2u showed that 83% of respondents said that they would like the option to track their delivery in real time, and 86% said that a bad delivery experience, such as a missed or delayed delivery, would impact their decision to use that e-tailer again. So, if delivery is so crucial to our customers and subsequent sales, why are businesses not investing in their delivery processes? 

It is a common business mistake to focus heavily on revenue and selling products, without prioritising the actual delivery logistics – which is the most important part of the transaction. 

Take note of overseas trends

We only need to look overseas to the US to see dramatic changes in the delivery space. What once would have seemed like science-fiction, is now becoming the norm. 

Companies like Starship deployed their first delivery-bots in 2019, and now operate a fleet of over one thousand in the US, UK and Europe. Wing, an alphabet-funded, app-based food delivery business has recently celebrated 100,000 air-deliveries on test-sites in Canberra and Queensland, where customers can use their phones to place food orders which are conveniently dropped to them by drones. These gadgets don’t even need to be operated by drivers!

The future of delivery is more than just getting the package to the right place within an acceptable timeframe. The future of delivery revolves around three main components – flexibility, efficiency and accuracy – not all of which can be attained by humans alone. It is no secret that the Australian delivery scene is changing. With multiple pauses to clear out distribution warehouses and driver strikes from mass industry leaders, businesses can no longer rely on these services alone to carry the load. 

Steve Orenstein is founder and CEO of Zoom2u Technologies.