As people continue to quarantine at home and brick-and-mortars struggle to stay afloat, only the most strategic businesses have been able to weather the financial woes brought on by the new normal. Much of said success can be attributed to the increased popularity of online shopping.
This phenomenon has garnered more followers than ever as people realize how convenient and stress free it is compared to in-person shopping—especially during a pandemic.
The holidays are often the most profitable time of year for stores, but in 2020 this may be even truer for delivery services. It may be difficult for stores to fulfill their customers demands while dealing with COVID-19 restrictions. When consumers are unsatisfied with the assortment they have to choose from in stores, who will they turn to? Delivery Businesses of course.
Assembling a Fleet
If you want a part of the booming delivery industry, you need to figure out how you’re going to deliver your goods. Start by determining the geographic limits you want to stay within and figure out the best vehicle to use for deliveries. Of course using cargo vans and freight trucks are the most efficient for delivering big orders but you might not have the budget for that. However, keep in mind that while it’s easier and cheaper to hire drivers with smaller vehicles, this may limit your delivering capacities and therefore limit your budget.
It may be well worth it to invest in larger vehicles as long as you can provide drivers with all the proper tools, insurance, and auto maintenance to carry out their services. If you are planning on having drivers work late shifts and drive large, dangerous vehicles you need to compensate them fairly. It’s standard practice to determine a baseline delivery rate to pay your drivers with additional payments based on hours and mileage driven.
The biggest “roadblock” to starting a delivery business is managing routes and planning drop off times efficiently. Because most people aren’t logistic experts, Straightaway is here to help. They are an app-based digital service that provides automated logistical planning for delivery companies. To get started, you simply have to take a picture of your dropoff locations and Straightaway will curate the most efficient routes for your drivers. Using this service will reduce driving hours and fuel costs and can help you resolve customer issues such as lost or mixed up items and drop-off delays.
Finding your Target Market
Once you have vehicles and drivers, you need to start building a business plan. Start by determining who your target market is and why they prefer delivery over in person purchases. This’ll help you determine what retailers they need deliveries from. Try to think outside of the box on this one. Pretty much all delivery companies provide restaurant and grocery deliveries, so what else can you provide to customers that they aren’t getting elsewhere?
When you decide on your delivery boundaries and the corresponding retailers you will be delivering from, you need to think about the hours and days your services will be available. Though it’s nobody’s preference to work at 4am on Saturdays, this may be precisely what sets you apart from the competition and keeps you in business far after quarantine has ended.
It’s important to invest time and money into your marketing strategy if you want to compete with larger delivery companies. If your delivery boundaries are relatively small, marketing your company may be simple as putting up fliers for your business in high traffic areas. It’s also important to be social media savvy if you want locals to know about your business. Using Instagram geotags and Facebook ads are an effective way to garner customers in your area and create a unique persona that distinguishes you from the competition. Once you have a fanbase, come up with a membership program where loyal customers are offered discounts, free deliveries, and combo deals each time they order from you.
Capitalizing on Market Shifts
The pandemic has turned many consumers into online shopping devotees. This is bad news for most brick-and-mortars, but retailers who’ve adjusted to the trend have proven most successful. Though nobody had the foresight to see how this pandemic would change consumer habits, companies providing delivery options are setting an example of how to seize opportunities in scarce times. The delivery service industry is full of opportunities for people looking to capitalize on consumer’s desires to receive goods without risking exposure to the virus. This holiday season is predicted to be an extremely profitable one and entrepreneurs with their fingers on the pulse should be ready to invest in some trucks and get to delivering.