Transitioning Your Small Business to Delivery: A Fluid Truck Share Resource Guide
As businesses adapt to these changing times, many are switching to digital ordering and delivery or pickup for their goods. Growth is evident in consumer and commercial delivery services from food service delivery, CSAs, groceries, freight and equipment delivery, and other local deliveries by small businesses. A recent snapshot of data from Rakuten Intelligence shows that "buy online pickup at store" and delivery grew 210% week over week. At Fluid Truck Share, we've seen a corresponding demand increase for commercial vehicles to fulfil these deliveries.
As Fluid facilitates many of the last mile deliveries in the US, we've put together this handy guide for how to transition your business to delivery and considerations to make along the way.
It is more important than ever to think about your customers' experience in this new landscape and to make a plan to respond. In the past, you might have had a storefront with your goods neatly showcased or a perfectly laid out menu with enticing smells. Now, the customer consideration and buying process has completely changed. Some initial questions to kick off the thought process include-
- Let your customers know you're still there
You've done a good job of building affinity for your business and your customers want to support you. As you transition to delivery, let your customers know that you appreciate their support more than ever. Let them know how they can support you and your team in the short term. One option to earn revenue during this period is through gift card sales. Adding a little incentive on top never hurts.
- What is triggering the need to place the order?
Is it an immediate need (hunger), weekly planning (grocery, meal prep), or more longer term planning (bulk food / supply buys, new appliances)? Aligning customer needs and problems with solutions is the oversimplified way to success.
- How are your customers paying?
Cash and card handling can expose health risks with human contact and collecting payment up front also brings financial risk with unfulfilled orders
- What is your distribution plan?
Take out, curbside pickup, in store pickup, curbside delivery, in home delivery, mail/packaged delivery are the primary distribution options for your goods.
- How do your customers know about these new options?
Leverage your customer database. Definitely send an email out to your customers, but as I'm sure you're experiencing as well, inboxes are cluttered with COVID-19 announcements. Think of ways to break through the clutter. Some possible options include SMS messaging, digital advertising and retargeting, video conferencing, etc.
Are you trying to grow your business and reach new customers? Meet your customers where they already are through existing marketplaces like Instacart, Amazon, Doordash, Postmates, Grubhub, etc. Prospective customers may already use these websites or have these apps already installed and seeing your listing can lead to new business.
If you're trying to convert your existing customer to online order placement, a marketplace is definitely an option, but you might want to update your current website to take orders or facilitate orders over the phone. Shopify, Square, Squarespace are some of the leaders in this space that have features to help facilitate online orders for delivery from your own website.
There's no single strategy for order placement. Think about your customers' needs to find what works best for your business.
Booking Delivery Vehicles using Fluid Truck Share
This is where Fluid Truck Share comes in. We're here to help if you're facilitating your own deliveries or if you're a driver or delivery service professional working with the marketplaces or delivery companies. Using your personal vehicle for deliveries can lead to liabilities with insurance and the goods you carry, not to mention wear and tear on your vehicle. Fluid provides a wide variety of commercial vehicles for instant booking to pick up and drive within 3 minutes for any of our passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, cargo vans, and large box trucks.
Fluid vehicles of all types are dispersed throughout your city and with an easy pickup process, we save you time over standing in line at the rental office.
If you're using a marketplace like Instacart, Shipt, Postmates, or Doordash they'll usually facilitate the delivery for you. Other services will facilitate the delivery for you for a fee including Dispatch, Deliv and Task Rabbit all hopefully fulfilling your order using a Fluid vehicle. If you're sending packages you can schedule pickups or drop off at the major carriers like USPS, UPS Store, and Fedex Office.
Using 3rd party services to facilitate and dispatch orders can eat into your margins. If you're using your own team to deliver local items, all you need is a Fluid truck or cargo van and an optimized route for deliveries. With a large number of orders it can be difficult to optimize a large number of orders. There are some tools out there to help optimize your efforts including Routific, RouteXL, and even MapQuest.
After the Delivery
If you have the ability to personalize and offer quick reorder options, return engagement and ordering with your store will rise. Retaining these customers is key, so it is more important than ever that their experience with your company is stellar. Once you provide that stellar service, make sure to ask for a referral. Referrals and word of mouth marketing are the most long lasting and cost effective growth strategy.
Now more than ever it is important to meet the customer where they are - at home. Fluid is there to help your business make the transition to delivery seamless and to save you time. Check out Fluid Truck Share to book a vehicle and get those deliveries on your customers' doorsteps.
Stephen Joos is the Head of Product for Fluid Truck Share.
Photos: Yu Hosoi, Nathan Dumlao