Whether they’re 20-somethings or baby boomers, one thing all generations of customers crave is convenience. In an effort to deliver the ultimate in convenience, a variety of delivery services have sprung up, using “gig economy” drivers to provide same-day delivery for businesses large and small.
While UPS, DHL and FedEx all offer same-day shipping services, gig economy delivery services can be more affordable, consumer-focused and better suited for perishables like food and flowers. Should your small business use one?
Before you jump into the delivery business, ask yourself some questions.
- How often do your customers ask for delivery? If you rarely get requests, a gig economy service lets you fulfill them without the hassle of hiring your own delivery employees.
- Do your competitors offer delivery service? If so, how has it affected their businesses? Read online reviews and see what customers are saying about your competitors’ delivery services.
- Do your competitors that offer delivery use their own drivers/employees, or an outside service?
- How much do your competitors charge for delivery? Do they build delivery into the cost of the product, or is it a separate charge? How are delivery prices set?
Comparing Gig Economy Delivery Services
A search of delivery services in your area will likely uncover some local services. However, there are some big national players offering gig economy delivery:
GrubHub: Customers order food on GrubHub or its app; your restaurant receives the order and can have it delivered by a Grubhub driver or your own staff. Grubhub
provides 24/7 customer care on every order. (Seamless, another popular service, is owned by GrubHub, as are many local restaurant delivery services.)
UberEATS: UberEATS is an online meal ordering and delivery platform that uses Uber’s network of drivers to deliver meals from hundred of local restaurants; it claims an average 15-minute delivery time. Ordering can be done on their website or with a smartphone/tablet application. When customers are ready to check out, they’ll see their address, an estimated delivery time, and the price of the order including tax and booking fee.
Postmates: Postmates offers both food and non-food deliveries in more than 130 cities nationwide, 24/7/365. Customers place orders online, and Postmates handles the entire process of order fulfillment and delivery for you. You can see and track orders on your Postmates dashboard.
Deliv: Deliv delivers not only restaurant items, but also groceries and meal subscription products. If you choose the Small Business option, you’ll still be in charge of scheduling delivery, packing the item, etc. If you want customers to be able to schedule Deliv directly from your website, you’ll need the Enterprise version.
UberRUSH: For nonfood items, UberRUSH lets you schedule deliveries for the same day or in the future, add special instructions such as requiring a signature, and track them in real time just like with Uber. UberRUSH integrates with many e-commerce platforms. In some markets, packages are delivered by bicycle, which limits them to 30 pounds or less; car drivers will deliver packages up to 50 pounds.
Choosing the Right Partner
When choosing a gig economy delivery partner, start by finding out what’s available in your city and checking out features, costs and hours of operation. Once you have a short list, consider:
- Will you gain added exposure? Being featured on a popular restaurant delivery app can attract customers who’ve never heard of your restaurant before.
- Do they offer additional marketing assistance? Some companies work with you to help market your business.
- How well are drivers vetted? Are they uniformed or do they wear other identifying clothing?
- How much control do you have? Do you have the option to deliver products yourself if you choose, or are they all handled by the company?
- How much customer service do they provide, both to you and to your customers? If there’s a problem with the delivery, who handles the complaint?
Before choosing a specific delivery service, place several orders from local companies that use them, and see how satisfied you are. Remember, this delivery service will make a big impression on your customers, so it’s important for it to be a positive one.
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About Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.
Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah. Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.
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