Why local delivery?

21 January 2017
Intended audience: store owner

You could be forgiven for thinking that offering delivery to anywhere and everywhere would be the easiest and fastest way to grow your online business. Whereas this is undoubtedly true for some, many food retailers that try to do this often get no orders at all. Retailers offering local delivery and click & collect, however, tend to do much better.

The main difficulty with delivering perishables nationally is the cost of insulated packaging and next-day courier services, which can add a further £15 to each order. You also need a national sized marketing budget to promote yourself. If you don’t genuinely have products that stand out from the crowd these costs will be very hard to overcome.

Local delivery is typically done using your own staff and vehicles and this gives many advantages. Offering a better service to your customers whilst at the same time keeping costs down is the most significant one. For example you could offer one hour long delivery slots in the evenings. With short delivery slots like this you typically insist the customer is there to receive the order so you won’t need to leave it and therefore don’t need insulated packaging.

Other local retailers prefer to deliver in a milk round style. Some orders will inevitably have to be left and therefore insulated packaging will be necessary. The packaging, however, can be collected the next time you deliver and reused thereby significantly reducing this cost. Recycling packaging also helps promote loyalty.

Marketing to a smaller geographical area is much cheaper than marketing to the whole nation. Advertising your online service and website address on your own vehicles is a very quick win. Already being well known in your area should also help convince people to give your new online service a try.

Offering and promoting a new online sales channel to your existing target audience typically delivers an overall business improvement. Along with online sales you should also expect increased footfall and sales in your physical shop. Knowing your target audience is all important.

Tony Fear
Tony Fear