Online grocery sales topped out around 17.5 billion in 2018, and those sales numbers are only predicted to rise rapidly.
Restaurants, grocery stores, retailers—just about everyone you can imagine—are now offering online shopping and at-home speedy delivery. With millions of Americans using home delivery for their favorite products every day, there’s no question. Home delivery is the way of the future.
So what does this mean for your business? If you haven’t already, it’s time to get a delivery truck (or several!) and learn a little more about how home delivery is changing the industry fast…
How Home Delivery is Changing the Delivery Industry
Ever heard of Uber Eats, DoorDash, or many of the other various food delivery services taking the nation by storm? The American lifestyle is becoming more and more convenient. Most of our favorite foods, shoes, clothes, groceries, you name it, are now available almost immediately.
How is this accomplished? Two words: home delivery.
With the recent rise in home delivery services, it’s no wonder typical American lifestyles are evolving. But what about the effect this speedy delivery idea is having on the delivery industry itself?
Even more important, what do these changes mean for your delivery business?
Greater Demand for Refrigeration
“Convenience” is the motto of the people. Especially among millennials.
As more people are purchasing food to be delivered right to their door, the need for expert refrigerated transport methods is on the rise.
Multi-temperature trucks are needed more and more. The competition among retailers and restaurants to have the fastest delivery and the freshest product is increasing.
This means that to stay ahead of the competition business owners need their own fleet of refrigerated vehicles. These are capable of sustaining food freshness and adapting to various temperatures depending on the particular delivery.
To put it simply, if your business doesn’t have a reliable source for delivering your customers what they want, almost immediately when they want it… they’ll just shop somewhere else.
How Delivery Happens
The way the delivery industry is going, most business owners will need to seriously consider what will be more economical and profitable for them in the long run: owning their own truck or using a third party.
With your own delivery vehicle, you can more easily keep track of how often deliveries occur, and what it will cost you to make them.
Thus, many business owners have made a conscious move for their long-term budget by purchasing their own delivery fleet. This removes the danger of spikes in delivery costs from third-party shippers, the hassle of dealing with third-party regulations, and of course the ever-irritating problem of late deliveries.
Increased Use of Lightweight Delivery Trucks
Right now you may be thinking, “How do I preserve my products perfectly for the last mile?”
One of the biggest trends to hit the delivery market is the use of lightweight delivery trucks. These beauties mean lighter, but more frequent deliveries to customers.
Advantages of using lighter trucks include less money out of your pocket up front to purchase one, and less long-term cost due to increased fuel efficiency. Their lower fuel requirements mean you save money every time your truck makes a delivery.
If you’re serious about your customers getting products in the best condition, fast, lightweight trucks are virtually impossible to compete with.
Considering Customer Preferences
One of the most difficult things business owners are now facing with the changing industry is how to manage their customer’s preferences without hurting their own bottom line.
Unfortunately, consumers are often more picky about perishable goods and groceries than other items like shoes or clothes. To maintain and grow a customer base, businesses are pushed to find a way to satisfy the growing demand for delivery while improving the quality of foods they deliver.
Fortunately, technology and an educated employee culture can assist with this.
Having a more efficient vehicle means your customers are more likely to have their food items delivered in good condition. Educating your employees about the proper way to handle fresh goods is equally important.
In addition, you should be doing regular checks to make sure all delivery protocols are being followed. Customers don’t want to get foods that have been battered, or even gone bad, in transit.
Learning Tricks of the Trade
Businesses can offer online instructional videos to delivery employees, demonstrating best practices for food delivery. These can also be adapted to personal shoppers, teaching them how to select the ripest, freshest, and most accurate products according to customer preference.
Having an online version of such educational materials saves businesses from having to do regular HR training or hire an outside source to teach employees how to pack/shop right and thereby satisfy customers.
Even going as far as educating employees on how to properly pack a delivery truck will save retailers and business owners money in the long run.
Businesses that will successfully navigate this delivery demand will find small tips and tricks, like how to pack frozen or refrigerated items to maintain temperatures longer.
Other businesses may begin to require customers to purchase monthly or yearly memberships to qualify for lower-cost or free delivery. Knowing what method saves your business the most money while keeping up with demand is essential to staying ahead.
Deciding on Distribution Methods
Another question to address is how to most efficiently fill customer orders. Will you maintain a storefront and the cost associated with renting or owning retail space?
Or, like many businesses, will you move towards having your services entirely online and distributing straight from the warehouse?
Delivery That’s Best for Your Business
The task of deciding how to stay competitive in the changing world of home delivery can seem daunting.
For help analyzing what delivery vehicle will best suit your products, check out our frequently asked questions about refrigerated deliveries and services.