Online and in-app shopping is exploding at the moment! In part, this is due to the global pandemic, but also given the needs of our “instant gratification” culture. People know what they want, and they want it NOW. With changing trends, new technologies and consumers living busy lives, customers expect to have a product delivered to their doorstep in a flash. As a result, the process, cost, and contact that your customer has with your chosen delivery service is a vitally important consideration when purchasing from your business. Thankfully, South Africa is home to countless courier services that can offer a logistics/delivery solution to your business. But the question remains: how do we entrepreneurs choose the best solution for our unique business needs?
From the moment that your parcel arrives at the customer’s door, to them actually unboxing their eagerly awaited splurge, is a critical moment for your business. It’s a core component of building a relationship with your customer, and has immense power to elicit future sales and thriving brand loyalty. In order to make the most of this dynamic opportunity, it’s important to consider your choice of courier company from both the perspective of what suits your operation, and how your customers will be best served.
Speed and delivery times: Do you require same, or next-day delivery requests? Bear in mind what your local (same city) competitors are offering, to make sure you stay ahead of the pack in honouring customer convenience as a top priority. In fact, speedy service is so important to us, research shows that as many as 88% of consumers are happy to pay even more for faster delivery.
What are you sending? How big are the parcels, and what do they weigh? Are your goods perishable or fragile? Not all courier companies can handle all types of deliveries equally smoothly: If you’re delivering perishable goods, you’ll need refrigerated transport; and hazardous, chemical, or fragile items may need to be handled with special precautions in mind.
Where do you want to go? Do you require delivery within your city? Perhaps you need to ship nationally or internationally? Would you prefer this door-to-door, or sent to a depot and collected by your customer? Make sure your chosen courier will be able to service your entire network, and also offers the space for your business to keep growing and expanding its reach, in future.
Proof of delivery and tracking: It’s crucial to know exactly what’s happening with your package when it hits the road, because delivering on your speed promise to customers fosters trust and keeps them happy. With parcel tracking and proof of delivery, you and your clientele will have the comfort of peace of mind, as everyone’s expectations are accountably managed along the way.
Customer Service: Unfortunately, your customers will associate whatever service they get from your courier partner, with their experience of your business. So, it’s always important to get a good feel for how well deliveries are being executed, by looking at online reviews, social media, and small business forums. It’s equally important that you be treated like gold, which means it can be better to partner with a smaller company that actually cares about your business. They should be enthusiastic about taking the time to really understand and prioritise your business’ needs.
Cost vs value: In deciding how much you’re willing to pay, remember that the cheapest is not necessarily the most best value choice – a stellar shipping experience has the power to boost sales, and eliminate pricey operational blunders! Next, consider the full picture of how you’ll be charged, and what the practical nuances of your financial arrangement will be: What payment terms are available, and do they suit your cash flow strategy? Are there complications like minimum purchase requirements, added extras (like insurance) or other commitments?
Insurance: Mistakes happen and things go wrong! But, that’s no reason to panic – you should be able to rest assured that if a parcel fails to arrive, is stolen, or is damaged in transit, your business won’t be stuck with the bill. So, it’s invaluable to carefully select a service package that offers comprehensive insurance built-in, or pay extra if need be.
Tip: Read the fine print to make sure that the types of goods you’re shipping are covered – for example, some policies don’t insure glass, electrical or other especially high-risk goods.