OnTerra Systems, the developers of RouteSavvy home delivery routing software, recently announced a free, 10-step action plan to help small businesses transition their business model to home delivery, and free access to RouteSavvy routing software through June 30, 2020.
“The PPP fund was in such high demand that many businesses did not receive any financial assistance. So, if small businesses such as independent retail stores, restaurants, catering companies, and local service businesses are to survive, their owners will have to re-tool their businesses and shift to local home delivery,” said Steve Milroy, OnTerra Systems president. “To help small businesses make this transition, we’ve introduced a simple plan to help small businesses transition to local home deliveries, and we’re offering our RouteSavvy home delivery routing software free through June 30, 2020 to make those home deliveries as efficient as possible,” he said.
An easy-to-deploy 10-step plan to transition to a local home delivery
Step 1: Develop a simple system for taking orders and accepting payment — In the early days of developing a local home delivery business, keep it simple. Take orders by phone and take credit card numbers over the phone. You don’t necessarily need e-commerce or even a website to drive sales.
Step 2: Define your local delivery area and identify customers within your delivery area — Particularly if you’re delivering hot food or meals, set a delivery area of two to three miles from your business location. Review your customer lists and/or email marketing lists and create a special list of customers and prospects within your targeted delivery area.
Step 3: Focus on replacing essential items being purchased at supermarkets or online retailers, or services that consumers can’t access right now because stores are closed. — Some online retailers currently have issues with slow deliveries, proper social distancing in warehouses and warehouse workers coming down with the COVID-19 virus. In addition, simple actions like going to the supermarket are a higher risk activity. So, focus your offerings on items people need and items that could prevent them from having to go to a grocery store or touch a box from an online retailer that’s probably been touched by upwards of 10 people along the way to your doorstep. Remember that “non-essential” items will become more essential as the lockdowns for the pandemic continue. And since people can’t go to most stores right now, think about services they might need while in lockdown.
Step 4: Select the products or services you’re going to sell for your launch — Identify items or services that customers either need or will want during lockdown mode. If you’re selling meals or food items, keep menus simple yet delicious and offer foods or meals that are easy to reheat and which travel well. For example, pre-prepared meals that can be prepared and delivered any time of day for cooking or re-heating at dinner time are a good choice.
Step 5: Expand your list if needed — If you don’t have a lot of customers within the target delivery area, create a simple flyer and deliver it to households within the targeted delivery area. Also, consider advertising with local and community groups or neighborhood-specific newspapers or magazines.
Step 6: Deploy affordable home delivery routing software — As you start delivering goods to customers, RouteSavvy will help small business owners and managers generate the most efficient routes for their deliveries. RouteSavvy is being offered to small business FREE through June 30, 2020. Visit RouteSavvy.com, click on the free 14-day trial and a RouteSavvy customer support rep will get in touch to provide RouteSavvy free through June 30th and to set up a free tutorial.
Step 7: Develop incentives for customers to purchase more and make repeat purchases — Set pricing so that customers will make repeat purchases. Consumers want to support local businesses, but one-off purchases are not going to sustain most small businesses. Instead, businesses should create a home delivery subscription where customers can set up a standing order and have something delivered each week. For example, a local toy store could offer customers a new puzzle to be delivered every week. A restaurant could offer meals that are delivered once a week on a specific day.
Step 8: Emphasize the increased safety of home deliveries — Curbside pickup is helpful, but home delivery with a no-touch or one-touch policy is better and safer. Home deliveries help consumers follow shelter-in-place orders and stay home to help reduce the spread of the virus. Small local businesses that deliver what consumers need and want right to their doorstep will be helping control the spread of the virus, as well as maintaining their own businesses.
Step 9: Build an ongoing relationship with your customers by teaching them — In this time of isolation and social distancing, online community building is particularly important. If you run a restaurant, offer your customers a weekly cooking tip or lesson via Zoom. If you run a retail business, find something you can teach your customers with an online class or post how-to information in weekly blogs. If you run a services business, teach your customers something that will extend the life of their product such as bicycles, computers, smartphones, etc.
Step 10: Redeploy staff to maintain your staff — If you don’t need bartenders because the bars are closed until the pandemic curve flattens, turn your bartenders into delivery drivers. Deploy waitresses or store clerks as order fulfillment staff. If you have good people and can re-deploy them into home delivery activities to keep them, your staff will be ready to go when the economy returns to some semblance of normalcy.
“The new home delivery economy is here to stay,” explained Mr. Milroy. “Local businesses that transition to local home deliveries will save their businesses, build long-term relationships with customers who are close by and help cities and counties by generating sales tax revenue to pay for critical community services.”