Bricks-and-mortar retailers have been feeling the pressure from online for years, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing in Australia, online delivery is no longer a nice to have, but a must-have. 

Online sales in Australia have risen rapidly as a result of the pandemic, with data from the ABS showing an annual rise of 65.5% from March 2020 to January 2021. That’s a huge market of people out there looking for the very best delivery experience possible.

Customers don’t usually distinguish between the retailer and their delivery partner: from the customer’s point of view, it’s one and the same. That’s why it’s so important that retailers get their delivery processes right from the offset. Thankfully, with the right processes in place, there’s no reason why retailers can’t compete with the big end of town. 

Charge more for exceptional service

With more and more large-scale e-commerce businesses popping up around Australia, it’s tempting to want to offer free or heavily discounted delivery in order to keep up. In reality, customers are ready and willing to pay a little extra for delivery – but only if the delivery experience is good enough.

That means offering something better than your competitors; whether that’s same-day delivery, next day delivery, or specific delivery windows. GPS tracking is a great way to let your customers know when to expect a package, and the ability to offer short delivery windows is another useful and much-appreciated feature. 

Today’s customers are accustomed to paying more for fast delivery, or alternatively, choosing to wait longer and paying a little less. Retailers must design their processes to give customers that choice. 

Get the right tech

On-time and at the right location might sound like two obvious must-haves for delivery, but without the right technology in place, it might be harder to get right than you’d expect. Your backend and inventory systems are an important place to start. There’s nothing worse than placing an order only to be told that the product is out of stock. 

If you’re only offering same-day delivery on a select few products, make sure that your website is set up to inform your customers of that before they get to the final payment stage. There’s nothing worse than expecting a certain delivery feature, and then finding out it’s not available. 

Technology solutions such as Zoom2u and Locate2u can help businesses can plan and dispatch optimised routes with multiple bookings in less than five minutes, resulting in faster and more efficient delivery – helping businesses large and small capitalise on the growing consumer demand for same-day and VIP delivery. 

By implementing faster deliveries, companies are speeding up the order cycle from their most loyal customers, resulting in better overall revenue growth. With the right delivery partners in place, there’s no reason why you can’t offer delivery times that rival or even greatly exceed the offering provided by the biggest online companies. 

Choose automation 

Automation is an essential tool for avoiding human error wherever possible. Replace the old paper delivery run sheet with an automated system that can predict, plan and track for you. In 99% of cases, the computer will do a better job – no matter how well your drivers might know the local area they’re driving in. 

In order to keep delivery times short and efficient, businesses must continually test their payment systems and delivery processes, and plan for every potential failure along the way. Automation can help spot and fill gaps in your delivery process and help your drivers plan the best possible routes, no matter how many orders they have on board. 

Ongoing lockdowns are making online delivery an everyday occurrence for a large number of Australians. It’s no longer enough to throw some product pages onto your website and hope for the best. By under-promising and over-delivering, you’ll ensure your most loyal customers will stick around – no matter how long the lockdowns last. 

Steve Orenstein is founder of Zoom2u.