Modern Retail

Is Next-Day Delivery Realistic for Independent Retailers?

Next-day delivery

This post first featured in the Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment August 2020. To read the full ebook click here, or scroll to the end of the page to view on page-turning software.

As Amazon Prime and many other businesses continue to speed up their delivery times, the pressure is increasing for retailers to match these. However, in the world of independent retail, this can present many challenges.

Delivery plays a vital role in attracting and retaining customers, with an enormous 79% of people switching retailer due to delivery method. To highlight the importance of fast delivery, 52% of consumers list quick delivery as their top or second most important priority.

Next-day delivery has become a huge incentive for consumers to shop with specific retailers, with 52% of consumers preferring this over any other delivery option, as well as being willing to pay extra for next-day delivery.

Being able to offer next-day delivery enables retailers to compete with the biggest brands and offer customers the delivery options that they often seek. Of course, same-day delivery is another desirable option, requiring fast-acting teams and smooth logistics.

How important is next-day delivery?

There is no doubt that next-day delivery can incentivise purchases. For retailers, it all comes down to understanding the benefits of fast delivery and weighing them up against the disadvantages.

Here are some of the points that you should consider when deciding whether to offer faster delivery services or not.

How quickly do you need to deliver?

For independent retailers, delivery options should be decided with pros and cons being taken into account. Often, speaking to customers and understanding the demand for fast delivery can help to determine your target market’s preferences.

As an example, a retailer selling birthday cards or party dresses may find that their target market benefits significantly from same-day or next-day delivery, getting their orders to customers in time for an event or occasion. On the other hand, a retailer that sells exercise bikes may find that there is not as much demand for fast delivery, with shoppers being willing to wait 4-7 days to receive their order. In this case, it may not be worth investing in costly, quicker delivery.

The required speed of delivery also depends on your brand’s USP. For some retailers, being eco-friendly is at the forefront of everything they do, meaning same-day delivery where vans are sent out with only one or two parcels may not be desirable whatsoever.

Some retailers choose to offer two-day delivery, reducing cost significantly in comparison to one-day or same-day delivery, while still prioritising delivery speed.

Choosing the right delivery partner

Many retailers choose to work with a parcel distribution company to fulfil their orders in a time-effective manner. By doing this, retailers are able to impress customers with fast delivery. Some retailers choose to work with fulfilment companies that specialise in startups and independent retailers, meaning they are familiar with the challenges, requirements and ways to successfully deliver orders quickly.

In some cases, retailers prefer to work directly with the carrier, while others will choose to outsource their fulfilment entirely.

It’s always worth speaking to fulfilment companies, explaining your requirements and goals and asking questions about the ways that they can help you to reach these.

Alternatives to fast delivery

Some independent retailers may decide that fast delivery is not something that they wish to facilitate, however there are many other ways for customers to receive their orders quickly, including click and collect services.

Points to consider

The following points are often those that impact a retailer’s decision when assessing their existing or potential delivery options:

  • Price
  • Reputation
  • Speed
  • Scale

Read the full Modern Retail Guide to Fulfilment August 2020 below.

Holly Worthington

Holly Worthington

Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail's Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today's ever-changing market.