Written by David Renwick
When it comes to eCommerce, customer choice is now the name of the game. Choice of product, choice of payment options and – increasingly – choice when it comes to shipping.
Did you know that 80 percent of shoppers said they’d want to receive their purchases on the same day? And that 61 percent wanted to receive their orders within one to three hours of purchase?
Customers now want the option of receiving their orders in the shortest time possible, and to remain competitive, retailers need to offer these options.
Welcome to on-demand delivery. In this article, we’ll outline what it is, how it works, the benefits and couriers offering it right now.
On-demand delivery is about giving your customers a choice around when they want to receive an order. For example, you might offer multiple delivery options including within 1, 2 or 4 hours, or same day, evening express, overnight, weekend and even click & collect – right at the checkout. It can help to think of on-demand delivery like Uber Eats.
If you’re considering offering on-demand delivery, you’ll need to ensure your business is up to the task of following through and getting orders out within the expected timeframes. This means having stores in the right locations, or well-managed warehouses with appropriate stock. You’ll also need couriers who can offer express services.
For these reasons, on-demand delivery is typically only realistic in metropolitan locations.
Functionally, on-demand delivery works in much the same way as the other delivery options you might offer as part of your shipping – and it all comes down to the technology and couriers.
Generally, on-demand delivery is about giving customers greater choice and control over how they receive their orders, which translates to greater loyalty and repeat business.
"A large fashion retailer found their Friday orders were decreasing and when they explored why this was, they found their largest competitor started to offer same day delivery – which meant shoppers looking for the weekend would always pick their competitor "
If you’re a retailer, the next question is naturally: “Should I offer on-demand delivery?”. The answer to this one is a little more complicated.
While the answer from a customer standpoint is a resounding “yes”, you may need to do a little more investigation to determine how you might get set up for on-demand delivery without impacting your business – or your staff.
If you're looking at same-day or evening express, you’ll need to think carefully about where you’re able to implement an on-demand delivery services. Where do your customers live and work? Where are your warehouses or fulfilment centres? When starting out, it’s important to test in areas where you know you’ll be able to meet your stated delivery timeframes.
Someone offering high end clothing can afford to offer on demand shipping, but this might not be the best option if you’re selling items at a much lower price point.
It’s time to review your current processes when it comes to getting an order out the door. What will need to change when you need to start getting orders ready for delivery on the same day, or on the weekend? Talk to your staff and discuss who’s responsible for picking and packing orders.
Consider also how you might need to adjust your processes to accommodate multiple pickups per day or moving from afternoon to morning pickups. Smart shipping solutions have a big part to play here.
Getting on-demand delivery up and running takes by in from key stakeholders in the business, not just the eCommerce manager but also the operations teams.
Do you have the right delivery providers to execute your on-demand delivery strategy? You may need to consider adding a new courier provider, potentially one who specialises in on-demand delivery. We’ll explore some of these providers below.
There are several factors that go into a successful on-demand delivery strategy, and it all starts with the shipping platform.
Setup your automated shipping and fulfilment platform and integrate it with your eCommerce platform (like Shopify) and the couriers you already use.
This system will act as the brains of your shipping operations, enabling you to manage the logistics of on-demand delivery without the stress. Starshipit, for example, lets you display different delivery options at checkout (like same day or overnight) and automatically assign orders to specific couriers or stores using smart rules.
You can also use this system to send out delivery notifications, direct customers to branded tracking pages and automatically process returns.
With your shipping system in place, it’s time to look at your couriers. We support several couriers able to meet the needs of on-demand delivery.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the courier you choose for on-demand delivery – you may even find it useful to establish relationships with multiple couriers.
Like Uber Eats, leverages Uber’s existing network of drivers-partners, letting businesses move goods quickly and efficiently between different locations or straight to customers. Uber also lets businesses list handling guidelines and outline different delivery preferences (for high-value items, as an example).
Customers can simply select Uber on-demand delivery on their website or app, and once the order is placed this is then sent out as a request and accepted by one of the delivery people in the network. The order is picked up and delivered as soon as possible.
Uber Direct also offers unique proof of delivery options to ensure that the order arrives safely with the customer, these include; signature, barcode scanning, PIN and ID scanning.
Rendr uses existing crowdsourced and professional delivery networks.
Delivery options: Fast (Delivery in 30 min – 3 hours), Flexible (Delivery Same Day) and Standard (Delivery Overnight/Interstate).
Australia Post also offers an on-demand service (in addition to their more standard services). It’s available in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. You can check specific postcode availability here.
Delivery options: On Demand Now, which aims to deliver within 3 hours from pickup and On Demand Tonight, which delivers between 6 and 9pm on the same day. There’s also a weekend option with On Demand Saturday, which will deliver between 1 and 6pm on Saturday.
DHL Express has a comprehensive range of on-demand delivery services.
Delivery options: In addition to their Same Day, Time-Sensitive and Day-Sensitive offerings, they’ve also got: DHL Express Service Point (allowing customers to collected from any DHL Express Service point), Signature Release, Schedule A New Delivery Date, Leave Package With A Neighbor, 30 Day Vacation Hold and Deliver To Another Address.
StarTrack Courier offers secure, same-day delivery with several options.
Delivery options: Standard (Pick-up and delivery within 3-4 hours of booking), Express (Priority over standard), Immediate Priority (First available pick-up and priority delivery).
Zoom2u is available in Australia and, Like Uber and Rendr, connects you to a network of couriers/drivers.
Delivery options: Same Day delivery, 3 Hour delivery, Interstate (Same afternoon or the next morning), VIP delivery (The first available courier takes the parcel directly to the destination).
Sherpa is available in both Australia and New Zealand, with a host of options to suit different on-demand requirements.
Delivery options: 1-hour, 2-hour, 4-hour and same day delivery offerings.
Successful on-demand delivery depends on two things: your couriers and your technology. Starshipit is an automated shipping platform that integrates directly with on-demand delivery couriers in just a few clicks, giving you one dashboard to flexibly manage your different couriers, reduce admin and save money.
Here are just a few of the ways Starshipit can set you up for on-demand delivery success:
Because Starshipit is an automated platform, you can also use the included rules engine to simplify your shipping. You can do things like split orders, assign couriers, set delivery options and more.
This makes it easy to offer on-demand delivery options while still offering your more standard shipping options. For example, you might set up a rule to only use Uber Direct for orders being sent within Sydney CBD but continue to use Australia Post and DHL Express for all other deliveries.
And that’s on-demand delivery! What can seem a complicated offering is quite simple when you pair the right shipping platform with a good mix of couriers. If you haven't yet tried Starshipit for yourself, take a 30-day free trial today.