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Posted By ScienceSoft USA Corporation on 04/09/2019 in Ecommerce

How Food Ecommerce Companies Can Organize Delivery Effectively

How Food Ecommerce Companies Can Organize Delivery Effectively

Online food ordering is a viable alternative to wandering around a supermarket and standing in lines. While picking groceries online and getting them delivered is surely convenient, online retailers shouldn’t take this advantage as a guarantee of customer loyalty. Rather, they have a whole array of aspects (e.g., a product assortment or visual merchandizing) to think through to shape a satisfying experience for shoppers.

Today, we will bring delivery into focus and discuss what factors are critical to consider for a delivery solution to meet customer expectations.

Flexible delivery options

Whether customers want to place an order early in the morning to get it that very evening or they’d rather pick it up at a physical store on their way home, they expect to see a relevant delivery opportunity on a website. To stay competitive, online food retailers have to expand the list of available delivery options.

  • Same-day door-to-door delivery – a standard delivery option when customers place online orders, choose convenient time frames within the day and expect the order to be delivered on time.
  • Scheduled door-to-door delivery – a possibility to schedule food delivery up to several days in advance. The order can be modified or cancelled until it is being processed.
  • Express delivery – order fulfillment and delivery within 1-2 hours upon the placement (as a rule, it comes as a paid service).
  • Click-and-pick – a possibility for customers to pick the order up at the nearest physical store or a warehouse at their convenience.
  • Automatic subscription – regular delivery of the determined set of products (when a customer places a standing order and gets products delivered, say, once a week as scheduled).

Favorable delivery pricing

For door-to-door delivery, online food retailers rely on couriers. This entails considerable expenses related to staffing and vehicle maintenance. But for customers, free delivery has already become the norm in ecommerce with 47% of online shoppers naming it as the main decisive factor when choosing who to buy from. Recouping delivery expenditures while meeting customers’ expectations is the challenge that retailers face. As a solution, they can set a minimal order value for free delivery and charge a sensible delivery fee for any lower amount. Thus, sellers can break even in delivery expenses and retain a profit margin.   

Suitable packaging

In food ecommerce, retailers deal with the delivery of temperature-sensitive products like frozen or refrigerated ones. Cooled containers and packaging with dry ice are a must for them to guarantee that products are stored at a proper temperature on their way to customers. However, retailers may have a tough time encouraging people to buy such products. The thing is that the delivery process, by and large, stays invisible for shoppers. Thus, they simply feel wary of ordering frozen food online questioning the quality of delivered goods. To solve that, retailers can add information about proper packaging to relevant product detailed pages.

Also, food packaging has been a topical environmental issue recently. Retailers win the loyalty of their “green” customers if they are environmentally responsible – offer eco-friendly packaging and discourage excessive and plastic wrapping of goods.

Convenient order tracking

As a rule, ecommerce companies (e.g., in fashion, household products, or furniture categories) rely on emails to provide order tracking information for customers. But in food ecommerce where an order status may change from accepted to delivered within a day, retailers should offer customers an alternative communication method that won’t disturb their daily routine – SMS notifications. Thus, having placed an order, customers may get a follow-up email with order details, such as order No., contact phones of the support service, confirmation of a delivery address, and then SMS messages with order status updates.

Though ecommerce platforms don’t offer automated SMS notifications out of the box, retailers can search the marketplace of ready-made plugins for a relevant one (like this SMS notification extension for Magento).

Delivery confirmation

Upon delivery, a courier must provide a customer with a sales invoice with the list of all the products delivered, their quantity and cost. By signing the invoice, customers confirm that the order has been accepted and it fully complies with their expectations. In case when customers have issues with the order (e.g., the quantity of products is incorrect or the quality of delivered goods is low), the courier handles the problem and recalculates the final cost.  

Post-purchase customer engagement

As far as food retailers aim at getting regular repeat orders and generating a pool of loyal customers, knowing customer feedback is critical for them. Most people contact a customer support team directly only if they have come across a significant problem. Otherwise, retailers stay unaware of their shopping experience. By creating a post-purchase survey, food ecommerce companies encourage customers to share their review and reveal aspects they would like to see improved. Offering a next order discount for completion of the survey, they return thanks to customers for their time. Meanwhile, customer responses serve to continuously improve the service and achieve better customer experience.    

Delivery as a vital part of a shopping journey

Starting from choosing a delivery option convenient for them and tracking the order with no much effort on their part to having a guarantee of high-quality and fresh products handed over – modern shoppers expect retailers to organize their delivery solution effectively. Along with meeting customer expectations, retailers can arrange a post-purchase survey to understand what they need to improve to keep their customers.

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