By David Grimes, CEO of My Parcel Delivery
As a small business owner, it can often feel as though there are many demands on your time. These can come from various areas of the business, including managing promotional activities, keeping your website up to date and communicating with customers. It’s a real challenge to strike the right balance between these tasks.
Good delivery management is an essential element for any small business dealing with products and can’t be forgotten about either. A poor delivery experience can be harmful to your company’s reputation and could deter potential customers from placing a repeat order.
As daunting as that may sound, the delivery process doesn’t need to be a painful one. There are ways in which small business owners can make parcel sending stress-free and efficient, while saving themselves money at the same time.
Here are my five tips on delivery to help small business owners become maestros of parcel delivery…
- Effective inventory management
Investing some time and effort into an inventory management system will stand you in good stead when the orders start rolling in. Tracking stock levels on a regular basis will allow you to stay on the ball and forecast how much of a certain product might need to be held to fulfil customer demands.
The same logic can also be applied to your packaging materials – having a healthy supply of boxes, tape and other essentials will save you from falling short when orders need to be sent out the door quickly.
- Think about choice
As any business owner knows, the customer is king. So, providing them with a range of options on price, delivery method and speed of delivery can set you apart as a company who cares about meeting customer expectations from start to finish.
Equally, you also have a lot of choice, and it might prove beneficial to shop around when it comes to delivery. Parcel price comparison websites will find the best deals for you by comparing prices across a range of courier services. Using a courier can save you a whole load of time, as they will come to collect packages from your chosen location – much more efficient than standing in long Post Office queues.
- Safe Sending
When the moment comes to package up the product, it’s crucial that this is done correctly. If not, it could end up being damaged in transit. Adhering to standard courier packaging guidelines is the best starting point, as these tend to be the same for most services.
Create yourself a small delivery checklist to make sure you have all boxes ticked. Ensure the size and weight of the parcel is correct to avoid incurring any additional charges, and use plenty of internal protection, such as bubble wrap or foam, to keep items from rolling around.
- International issues
If you’re running an online store, you may be exploring international markets to drive sales and expand your customer base. If you are sending parcels overseas as a result, there are a few rules and regulations you need to be wary of.
Tax and import duties can vary between countries, for example, so remember to factor these into your pricing and communications. Then, you or your customer won’t feel short-changed if extra fees do need to be paid. There are also import restrictions on certain goods, so you might want to check out a courier’s prohibited and restricted list in full before you agree to ship an item internationally.
- Remember Returns
It’s all too easy to forget about the value of a good returns policy. If the product is unwanted, customers need to know that they can send it back without too much hassle.
Be clear in your communication on how they can do this. If you do have a policy in place for returns, include this in the details with the original order form. Plus, if it’s feasible, offering a free returns service could attract more customers to order from you – particularly around busy sales periods when there’s more chance that items might be sent back.
If you’re already hard-pressed for time as a small business owner, you may feel as though you can’t afford to devote any more of it to managing deliveries. However, there’s real value in having clear delivery management processes in place – they will not only help to perfect the customer’s shopping experience but will also keep sending costs down to a minimum.