COVID-19 has a hold on the world. Everybody is trying to slow down the spread of the virus, which is ruining our normal lives. We stay at home in droves, make only essential movements and then, exceptionally, when we go out of the house, we do social distancing.
This necessary self-isolation has major consequences for the economy. Economists juggle with dramatic figures. The damage is estimated in a staggering number of billions, the figures from the financial crisis in 2008 pale by comparison. And the end is unfortunately not yet in sight.
Entrepreneurs do not throw the towel
Many companies see a drastic reduction in turnover or are forced to close down temporarily. Employees and (potential) customers are sitting at home. But fortunately there is one positive note: we see a lot of combative entrepreneurship. Companies are drawing up battle plans for this virus era, thinking about innovations, responding to opportunities and changing their business plan.
Companies that offer goods help flatten the curve and close their physical stores. But entrepreneurs are creative and look for solutions to this inaccessibility. Many find them online, via take-a-way or home delivery. It's no longer just the big companies that bring their goods to the consumer, many small companies now want to reach their customers via this channel as well. And they can count on a lot of support. Entrepreneurs are calling for local buying, early adopters are spreading the message through social media and cities and umbrella organisations are bundling new initiatives on online platforms.
New business models bring new challenges
Home delivery not only ensures that you can continue to serve existing customers optimally, it also attracts new customers. Setting up a delivery service does bring some challenges. We highlight five of them and give concrete tips on how to tackle them.
- Organize incoming orders
Be prepared when the orders come in. Has my landing page changed? Which channels will I use for incoming orders? How do I set up a user-friendly webshop? What information do I need from the customer? What delivery time do I foresee? What time do I have to start and finish picking (preparing or searching the orders for delivery)? How do I communicate with customers about their orders? Can customers pay in advance, which provides a better guarantee of payment?
Choose how you will deliver the orders to your home. This can be done through a partner or provide your own delivery service. Do call your insurance agent if you use staff for this.
- Think carefully about your range of goods
Restaurants better make an adapted, balanced menu. Companies that supply other goods are also better off thinking about what they are going to sell. Are all the products in your usual range suitable for home delivery? Which goods are easy to pack and transport? Are the orders not too complicated to order remotely?
- Provide an outstanding customer experience
Striving for an excellent customer experience is always essential. Also with home deliveries. Think carefully about the different phases a customer goes through: getting to know your product and service, ordering, paying, receiving the delivery, sharing feedback and returning any products. Put yourself in the minds of your customers and go through all possible contact moments and scenarios.
In times of the Corona virus there is just a tad more. People are afraid of being infected and want to follow the guidelines correctly. Show customers that you are not taking any risks: always keep enough distance, if possible drop off the goods at the door, wear protective clothing such as gloves, opt for contactless or pre-payment or place a nice card with your package asking them to wash their hands after accepting the goods.
Finally, add a personal message, a thank you in these difficult times or a discount for your next order. The possibilities are endless, be extraordinarily creative!
- Spread the word!
People are at home and will visit your website now more than ever. Make sure they find the information they need right away. You need to see at a glance that you offer home delivery. Place a large 'Make your order' button in the middle of the homepage and in the menus of your website.
Use all possible channels to let them know that you are now reaching your customers at home. Contact (local) media, write a newsletter to existing customers, send a postcard or use the new platforms of cities and employers' organisations that bundle local initiatives. And above all, let social media do its work. Take full advantage of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram and encourage customers and believers to support your business with their personal 'stories' and 'posts'.
- Efficiency is key!
If you choose to deliver the orders to the customer yourself, you are responsible for the last-mile delivery, the most expensive and polluting part of the supply chain. Doesn't sound very promising, does it?
Unfortunately, you will soon come into contact with the disadvantages of planning these deliveries. Planning routes takes a lot of valuable time, online tools like Google Maps have their limitations and last-minute orders can quickly ruin the planning.
The question is wheter you can plan efficient routes. And whether you can meet the needs of today's demanding customer such as delivering within a chosen time window.
Manually planning routes quickly becomes complex. If you need to schedule ten stops with one vehicle, there are 3,628,800 (three million six hundred twenty-eight thousand eight hundred) possible routes. Making a manual planning for different vehicles becomes completely hopeless, especially if this is new for your company.
Planning software helps you meet this last-mile challenge by generating the most efficient planning that meets all requirements. And this in just a few mouse clicks. Even last-minute changes can be easily accommodated. Not only is your planning time almost completely freed up, you also save transport costs, reduce your carbon footprint and make customers happy by meeting their demands. And because of this efficiency, your business continue to grow.
Movetex will support combative entrepreneurs
Movetex wants to support entrepreneurs who opt for home deliveries as a new strategy in this crisis. That is why we are working hard to create an environment where these companies can use our planning software free of charge during this difficult period. This way, they do not have to waste valuable time planning their routes and they can concentrate on what really matters: not letting this virus beat their business.
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