On demand is all the rage these days, thanks to the increasing number of instant gratification apps out there. Need a ride? Uber has your back. Can’t find anything good on TV? Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go provide you with tons of shows to watch, instantly.
These on-demand services are taking our need for speed to a whole new level. And guess what? Customers are expecting that same instant gratification from retailers.
Enter same-day delivery.
According to Internet Retailer, a recent study found that 80 percent of shoppers want to receive their purchases on the same day, and 61 percent want their orders within one to three hours of purchasing. That puts a lot of pressure on retailers to offer same-day delivery. In certain cases, it can be worth it.
Here’s how to determine if same-day delivery is right for you, and more importantly, how you can implement the service successfully.
Does it make sense to offer same-day services? That depends on your products and customers. In the grocery market, for example, same-day delivery is common because customers usually need their orders immediately. Same-day delivery is also popular for flowers and last-minute gifts. If you’re selling these types of merchandise, you should consider offering the service.
You should also gather insights about your customers to make sure they actually want the service. Conduct surveys to gauge demand, or get input from your support staff to see if same-day delivery is something that many shoppers are requesting. And don’t forget to take note of where these customers are located.
Once you’ve confirmed the demand, it’s time to implement your program. To help ensure your service’s success, carefully consider the following factors.
The first step is deciding where to implement the program. Figure this out by going through your customer data and analyzing where your customers live and work. Also, factor in where your fulfillment centers are located. Ideally, you should pilot your same-day delivery program in areas that aren’t too far from your stores or warehouses.
Take a good look at your existing processes and understand how they’re going to need to change when you ship on the same day.
Talk to everyone involved. Who takes care of online orders? Who picks and packs the items? Define the process and timing of product movement from point A to point B, including pick-up and drop-off points, coordination with carriers, availability of drivers, and other details particular to fulfillment.
Then, consider the changes you’ll need to make to your existing process in order to implement the service. For instance, if you usually pack orders in the morning and stack them for the afternoon pickup, you’ll need to work out how you can accommodate earlier—and likely multiple—pickups each day, and determine how to accomplish this while still providing the best service to customers in-store.
Effective delivery is a critical component of same-day delivery. Depending on your company, you could choose to outsource the service or handle it in-house.
Handling delivery yourself enables you to control the entire process. It allows you to offer a better customer experience because your company is in the driver’s seat—literally. One caveat needs to be considered: additional cost to your business.
Net-a-Porter is an example of a retailer who has chosen to tackle same-day delivery in-house. The company offers same-day delivery in New York and select New Jersey locations, where high-end customers can get their orders delivered by well-dressed drivers in branded black vans.
However, if handling same-day delivery in-house will put a strain on your operations, consider partnering with third parties instead. An increasing number of retailers are doing just that, teaming up with companies such as Deliv, Shutl, and Postmates to offer same-day delivery. Apple, for example, offers same-day courier service in select locations with the help of Postmates.
Once you have a plan for how to carry out the program, see to it that your employees are well equipped to do so.
Devote ample time to educating your staff on your same-day delivery process. Discuss not only the steps they need to take, but the time it will take to complete each task. And, if you’re teaming up with a third party for delivery, make sure staff members are well-acquainted with your courier.
The Bottom Line
On demand isn’t a trend anymore—it’s a way of life. Retailers who want to stay competitive should, at the very least, access market demand in order to make an educated decision on whether same-day delivery is right for their business. If your customers are asking for it (and they probably are), take the necessary steps to optimize your fulfillment operations and aim to offer the service sooner rather than later.