The COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed the way we live, the way we do business, and the way our economy functions as a whole.
But there’s one business model that’s booming in the midst of the coronavirus crisis—and that’s home delivery.
More consumers than ever are turning to delivery services to get the products they need (downloads of the grocery delivery app Instacart increased a whopping 218 percent from February, before the pandemic really hit in the US, to March, when stay at home orders started to roll out across the United States).
Let’s take a deep dive into how business owners can run a successful delivery company during the COVID-19 crisis
Figure out how to pivot your business model to delivery
How to successfully pivot to delivery is going to depend on your business, your customers, and your bandwidth.
- How will we deliver to our customers? With a third-party delivery service or in house?
- Are we going to be delivering our full product offerings or selected products? If you’re a restaurant, are you offering your full menu for food delivery or a limited menu of delivery-only items?
- What additional support do we need? (additional staff, delivery bikes or vehicles, packaging)
- What kind of opportunity does delivery add to my business? If your customers are spread throughout the state, building an e-commerce website and shipping your products might make more sense.
Handle the logistics
It’s time to tackle the logistics of adding delivery services to your business.
- Figure out your costs. Look at all the costs associated with making deliveries (including gas and labor) to determine the minimum order amount and maximum delivery area
- Adjust your inventory and supply chain management as necessary. Adjust your inventory and supply chain management to support your new business needs. If you run a clothing boutique, you’re not going to need as many in-store display items but you are going to need more boxes and bags to package your deliveries.
- Figure out staffing. Look at your current staffing and scheduling and determine how you’ll need to adjust to support your delivery services
- Look into additional insurance needs. You may need to get additional insurance coverage to cover yourself and your business in the case of an accident or injury.
Develop a system for managing delivery orders
You need to keep track of your orders, collect payment, assign orders to delivery drivers, and make sure that each order is making it to your customer quickly, efficiently, and with each item they ordered and paid for.
Which is why you need a system in place from the get-go.
- How customers submit orders (for example, phone orders or viawebsite?)
- How customers submit payment
- How orders are fulfilled
- How to assign delivery times
- How to check orders are accurate before they’re sent out for delivery
- How to assign orders for delivery drivers
- How to confirm orders are delivered and received by the customer
Once you’ve developed your delivery system, it’s important to make sure you implement any necessary technology . That way, when you launch your delivery service, everyone knows exactly how to take, fulfill, and deliver orders to your customers.
Spread the word about your delivery services
Get the word out.
Share discount codes on your social media profiles to encourage your customers to order delivery. Look for creative ways to generate buzz around your new delivery services, like partnering with other small business owners to deliver local product packages or offering free delivery for frontline healthcare workers.
Implement safety measures for your customers and delivery staff
Make sure your team is practicing social distancing and taking proper sanitation measures when fulfilling delivery orders.
Make sure you’re taking any safety precautions recommended from the CDC and World Health Organization and are doing everything necessary to protect yourself, your staff, and your customers.
Deliver your way to a more sustainable business
There’s no denying that small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. But by adding delivery services to your current business model, you can build a more sustainable business to carry you through these uncertain times—and emerge stronger on the other side.