Ever think you should be starting a delivery business rather than just making deliveries for someone else? Or are you just looking for a business idea that will cost almost nothing to get up and running? In this article I’m going to show you how to set up a tech-enabled delivery business.
More and more people are getting food home delivered, and competing for orders has become ridiculously competitive. If you’re like most restaurants, the majority of your delivery orders come through platforms like MenuLog and EatNow rather than your own website or by phone. Sure, it’s great to get the order, but at the expense of such a big chunk of your profit?
The problem is well understood, and getting worse, but there's a growing number of products and services to help you buck the trend and we think the delivery process is currently the best opportunity you have to win back your customers' loyalty. By the end of this article - you’ll have a step-by-step plan to transform your delivery process into a weapon for getting more orders direct to your restaurant, and start making more profit (and make it easier to manage your deliveries at the same time).
Part 1: MenuLog and EatNow - friend or foe?
It’s easy to feel annoyed that a service like MenuLog is taking a percentage of your hard-earned revenue. But by bringing you new customers, they also give you a great opportunity - to turn those 1-time orders into repeat, loyal customers.
Attracting new delivery customers to your restaurant can be a tricky and expensive business. If you were to use Google Adwords to try to win a new home delivery customer for your Indian restaurant in Sydney, for example, you may want to advertise under the search term “Indian Food Delivery”. As you can see in the screenshot below, Google recommends a bid of $2.83 per click. Keeping in mind that the industry average for converting that click into a sale is around 5%, it means that a new customer is likely to cost you upwards of $50… ouch!
The likes of MenuLog and other big ordering platforms have a big budget, a great marketing team, and a huge amount of data (and 1 Goldblum) to make these conditions work for them. That's great for them, but it makes it extremely difficult to tackle them head on (unless you're equally loaded, like Uber or Deliveroo of course).
Ok so it's hard to compete directly… now what?
Instead of wasting effort trying to compete with billion dollar companies to win new customers, MenuLog and EatNow give you a golden opportunity: a new lead together with built in revenue, and the best opportunity you could have to bring them back directly to you next time - you get to deliver them your food, with your branding.
What an opportunity for you to win a new repeat customer!
So let’s nail the customer experience during the delivery and give them a reason to stick with you.
Part 2: Live driver tracking isn’t Just a gimmick (ask Pizza Hut)
Question: Why do Deliveroo and Uber Eats bother making the delivery when they already made the sale?
A big part of the answer is to control the customer relationship from end-to-end and shut your brand out. Wham! There goes your opportunity to build your own brand loyalty.
Happily for you, services like MenuLog bring you marketing clout and volume, but let you keep the customer relationship during delivery because you, not MenuLog, make the delivery and keep the opportunity to build the relationship with your customer. So let’s not waste that opportunity!
When Dominos Pizza first brought in live driver tracking and customer engagement during delivery, lot’s of people thought it was just a gimmick. But in the months following the launch of Dominos live pizza tracking, sales soared - at the expense of their competitors.
Giving your customers live driver tracking isn’t just about putting a dot on a map. It’s an opportunity to engage with your customers and make your brand memorable. It's a good start but not quite enough to have your logo at the top. Make the experience branded with your colours and a custom map design so the good feelings of watching food come to rescue them from hunger are associated directly with your brand. It’s what Dominos does. It’s what Uber and Deliveroo do.
Win your customers’ hearts and minds and win more business by building a relationship with your customers and keep them coming back directly to you (and keep your profits).
Part 3: It’s not just a delivery - it’s a pitch for your next sale
Ever go grocery shopping while you’re hungry? There’s no better time to talk to someone about buying food than when they are super hungry!
Now imagine your customer's state of mind as they wait impatiently for their dinner. I should point out at this time that here at Spatula we help all sorts of industries provide live driver tracking to their customers, from airport shuttle services, to tradesmen, to urgent couriers... but no group of customers opens their tracking link more dependably or more frequently than restaurant delivery.
How often do you have a potential customer’s complete, undivided attention, knowing that they are in the perfect state of mind to accept messaging directly from you about your product and service?
So, you’ve got your customers watching your driver’s every move on your branded live tracking link, taking in your brand and loving the experience. It’s time to ask them to come directly to you for their next meal.
The best way to do this is to put the ask directly in the tracking link. You could use a voucher management system, but I suggest you just use an easy image editor like Canva (check out https://www.canva.com/create/coupons/) to make a great looking voucher - test a few offers like a 10% discount on their next order or a free item to see what works best (to be redeemed directly at the restaurant or through your website, obviously).
With a great delivery experience, a growing customer relationship through your branded tracking link and an incentivised call to action to bring them back to your site all you need now is the great meal you’re making for them and you’re on your way to loyal repeat customers.
Part 4: Your Game Plan (and a shameless Promotion)
Get curated leads, collected for you for free (actually they bring you an order too so really they pay you!) by huge marketing operations
Give the new customer a live tracking experience that equals any of the major food delivery services - except it is fully your branding and colours
Include a promotion on the tracking link that motivates and incentivises the customer to buy directly from you next time
Automate this process so that you don’t just make more direct sales, but also streamline your deliveries in the process
Spatula makes step 2 to 4 a breeze
Sign up with an email address and password, invite your drivers and start forwarding your MenuLog and EatNow order confirmation emails - that's it, you're live!
You can start for free without a credit card, and if you're not convinced in your first 50 jobs that Spatula is a game changer for your business it will never cost you a cent.
Does your business deliver products or services to people at home? It's the one time when you are almost guaranteed to have your customer's full attention, yet many businesses stumble in the last mile leaving customers feeling frustrated and powerless while they wait for you to show up - and it's time we fixed that!
If you are in the business of delivering things, you've probably been looking over your shoulder a lot recently. While a lot of attention has been given to the effect of ride sharing on the taxi industry, a long queue of contenders are busy trying to do the same in every industry.
When Uber announced that their delivery service - Uber Rush - would graduate from experiment to mainstream, traditional couriers got a wake up call. Uber Eats, Deliveroo and others are changing the food delivery game and there are a host of other examples in every industry that delivers. With slick delivery software and bundles of cash behind them, it's no surprise that business as usual is changed forever. Some are questioning whether even delivery juggernauts like Fedex are immune from disruption (see for instance this piece in Business Insider - Uber is unleashing a delivery service, Uber Rush)
Can Your Delivery Software and Tools Meet the Challenge?
The on-demand economy startups are out to get you, but in 2016 the incumbents have been fighting back by learning from these startups to smarten up their act, to the point where many Uber of X companies have started falling off the perch. To survive and thrive you need to have modern tools, slick delivery software and a business process to match. So what lessons can you take from the on-demand economy to make sure you stay relevant?
1) Use Smartphones
If your drivers are carrying specialised hardware and not a smartphone, you are paying more to be less flexible and you probably have dated delivery software. Smartphones have GPS and accelerometers as good as specialised vehicle tracking devices, and enough computing power to power sophisticated delivery software. Setup costs of smartphones are non existent because drivers have them anyway and you can add new subcontractors to your team in seconds. Basically all smartphone-based delivery software has free trials, so you can shop around and find the right system for you before spending a cent.
Smartphones and the delivery software they power can be updated seamlessly to meet changing customer requirements. Need the driver to take a photo of the delivery and make it instantly available to the sender? No problem. Need a signature? Easy. Need navigation support? Link to the Google Maps or Apple Maps apps. Need to communicate with the pickup or dropoff contact? It's a phone! Need any other weird and wonderful customer requirement met? There's an app for that.
Strategy 1: Ditch the old fashion delivery software system and use smartphones.
2)Provide Live Tracking to Customers
Can your customers find out the current status of their delivery other than "Delivered" or "In Transit"? If not, you are creating unnecessary problems and stress for your clients. In the last month I have received deliveries from two major transport firms and neither of them managed to find my office. Drivers from both of these firms came to the right place and left again without delivering and without my knowledge. The drivers gave up because neither delivery software system showed or notified me that the driver had arrived. There is also no way to communicate directly between driver and receiver. The delivery took an extra 2 phone calls and 1 day for one provider, 3 extra phone calls and 4 days for the other. Really?
To be competitive in the next tech cycle your delivery software needs actual realtime transparency. If a vehicle sets out with a package, the sender recipient should be able to see the location of the vehicle in real time if they want. When the vehicle gets to the drop off, the recipient should be able to check the map to make sure that the driver is in the right spot and make direct contact with the driver if they are not. Problem solved on the spot.
Strategy 2: Get genuine realtime visibility of your deliveries
3) Communicate with your customer
Poor communication is the biggest cause of lost time and lost cash when making deliveries. You also cause confusion and annoyance for your customers. Your delivery software must have realtime visibility of the delivery's current location and status, but the job contact should also be getting timely status updates so they know what's going on. Coarse, unhelpful updates are old news. Your customers need updates when a driver has finished their previous delivery and is en route to the drop off with an ETA, or when the driver arrives to collect or deliver or other customer-specific circumstances.
Knowing when someone is on the way and when they are likely to arrive means you can make sure someone is available and plan around the delivery rather than growing anxious about the timing of your delivery. Knowing someone has arrived means you don't miss them and have to negotiate to arrange another delivery time on another day.
Strategy 3 - Don't leave your customers with huge delivery windows wondering when you are going to show up
4) Add Value
Smartphones do cool stuff, so your delivery service should be taking advantage of that (not using smartphones? See #1). Uber uses phones for payments, ratings, bookings and random special features like ice cream or puppy days. There is huge opportunity for innovation in the delivery game: if you deliver flowers, take a photo of the happy recipient and provide it instantly to the sender. If your drivers must carry documentation, it should be at their fingertips on their phone. If you transport people's pets, send the owner a video of a happy puppy en route.
Adding an extra layer to your service improves customer engagement. Especially personalising the interaction between sender, receiver and driver. Engaged customers stick around. Impressed customers tell their friends how awesome you are.
Strategy 4: Surprise your customers with cool features they tell people about
5) Subcontracted Delivery Vehicles Outside of Your Delivery Software Make You Look Bad
As if track and trace wasn't limited enough, what about when you need a third party to help out with part of the journey and your system status reads "drop off to be completed by someone else - no proof of delivery expected". In other words: "good luck".
You need a strategy for linking data across your supply chain.
Strategy 5: Get Connected
The strategies above are no longer disruptive - in fact they are getting close to basic customer expectations and are available in dispatch software today that probably costs less than your current system. There is virtually no barrier to you, or your competitors big or small, adding these features - so don't get left behind.
The time for incremental change has passed you by. Get serious, get advice, get modern smartphone-driven delivery software and get on top of your delivery process.