How to Manage Your Retail Delivery (All-in-One Guide)

Updated on June 28, 2024 by Alisa Cvilij

retail delivery

Once consumers click/tap ‘buy,’ the retailer kicks into gear and starts picking the purchased items, packing them up nicely and securely, and so on. 

By so on, we refer to the long delivery trajectory; that road isn’t easy for delivery service businesses.

We get it - times have changed, and more than ever, delivery businesses have to deal with much more than just handling a roadside shop. Instead, today, these businesses have to deliver the purchased goods, manage inventory, collect proof for those deliveries, and manage reverse logistics.

It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t always have to be hard once you know how to properly manage the retail delivery process.

This blog post discusses how you can manage your retail delivery.

Stay until the end to learn how to manage your retail delivery—the one you worked so hard to build!

Table of content

  1. What is retail delivery?
  2. What industries mostly manage retail deliveries?
  3. What are the most important parameters in retail deliveries?
  4. How do you manage a retail delivery funnel?
  5. Best retail delivery examples
  6. Success criteria for retail deliveries 
  7. Common challenges in retail delivery businesses
  8. What is the future of retail deliveries + final words

What is retail delivery?

Simply put, retail delivery refers to getting your order online or in-store to your doorstep.

Retail deliveries are vital because they must meet customer expectations and improve the shopping experience.

Depending on the customer's destination, delivery services cooperate to send it out via local delivery hubs or a national courier service. 

The management of retail delivery operations is important because it impacts meeting customer expectations and improving overall. 

What industries mostly manage retail deliveries?

The retail industry includes businesses that sell goods or services directly to consumers.

That said, there is a wide range of industries where retail deliveries are needed. Here are some of the most prominent industries that primarily manage retail delivers, each with its own logistics challenges:

1. Food and groceries 

The food industry relies on delivery services to deal with online orders and provide home delivery services to customers. 

2. Healthcare 

Retail delivery plays a vital role in the healthcare industry, so healthcare facilities and pharmacies manage deliveries of medications, medical supplies, and equipment to clinics, hospitals, patients, and other healthcare providers.

3. Manufacturing companies 

The manufacturing companies because they often coordinate retail delivery of raw materials, components, or finished goods to distribution centers, wholesalers, retailers, and sometimes directly to consumers.

4. Technology and electronics

Companies from the IT and electronics industry because they deal with retail delivery of gadgets, smart devices, and other components to retail stores and direct-to-consumer deliveries for online orders.

5. Automotive industry

In the automotive industry, there are also retail deliveries, usually for spare parts, where suppliers handle deliveries of vehicles, repair shops, and retail outlets.

What are the most important parameters in retail deliveries?

In retail deliveries, several key parameters are crucial in securing efficient operations.

what is important in retail delivery

Also, all of these parameters (metrics) in managing a retail delivery business are interlinked and contribute to ensuring a smooth and reliable retail delivery process.

Let’s discuss each one of them for a bit:

1. Visibility

Visibility as a metric in retail deliveries refers to tracking how goods are moved within the supply chain. 

It involves having real-time updates on where the package is at any given moment, from the warehouse to the final delivery destination. 

The visibility parameter helps retail deliveries optimize routes, predict delivery times, and address potential issues.

2. Speed

The reason why speed is a crucial aspect of retail delivery is because it directly impacts customer satisfaction. This parameter involves swift order processing, efficient logistics, and timely shipments. 

Speed is all about delivery time, on-time rates, and operational adaptability in retail deliveries.

Often, it is hard for retailers to balance out speed with cost-effectiveness and ensure efficient service while meeting customer expectations in a competitive market.

3. Delivery volume (deliveries in big quantities)

In retail deliveries, most of the deliveries happen in big quantities. Therefore, it should be considered as a parameter that determines the capability of a retail delivery system to handle large quantities of goods within a specified timeframe.

4. Compliance with the delivery schedule based on the season

This parameter assesses how well a retailer adheres to delivery schedules based on seasonal demand patterns or other external factors (weather conditions or holidays).

It is important because seasonal fluctuations can significantly impact customer expectations and operational efficiency. It indicates that retailers must adapt their delivery schedules to ensure timely service during peak and off-peak periods.

5. Live tracking

Live tracking is closely connected to the visibility parameter because it specifically focuses on providing customers and stakeholders with up-to-the-minute information on the location and status of their deliveries. 

Customers appreciate seeing where their package is and when it will arrive, enhancing transparency and building trust.

6. Notifications

Notifications are very important for keeping customers informed throughout the delivery process. Such notifications include alerts when an order has been dispatched, updates on estimated arrival times, and notifications upon delivery completion. 

Clear and timely notifications help manage expectations and reduce customer anxiety about their orders.

7. Barcode scanning

Barcode scanning is critical in logistics and retail deliveries, ensuring accuracy and traceability. Each package typically has a unique barcode that can be scanned at different points in the delivery journey, such as during picking, loading onto the delivery vehicle, and upon delivery. 

This process helps retail deliveries verify the correct items delivered to the right address.

8. Proof of deliveries (POD)

POD confirms that a shipment or package has been delivered to the recipient. Software solutions like Track-POD offer features like proof of deliveries with details such as the recipient's name, the delivery date and time, and sometimes even a signature or photo as proof. 

POD is crucial for resolving delivery disputes, ensuring accountability, and assuring both the sender and the recipient that the package has reached its intended destination.

How do you manage a retail delivery funnel?

The management process of the entire delivery funnel is everything a retail delivery company is about - it speaks volumes about the retail delivery company (whether successful or not).

Managing retail delivery involves several key factors that owners must consider to ensure systematic operations and customer satisfaction.

Here are some of the most prominent ones that retail delivery owners should 

1. Route planning (route optimization)

The management of the retail delivery process starts with route optimization. 

Retail delivery companies find this part of managing their delivery business the hardest. It is probably because when planning the routes for their drivers, delivery services have to think ahead of numerous factors such as:

  • Locations (rural and urban)
  • Traffic jam
  • Weather conditions
  • Order volume
  • Holiday seasons
  • Time windows 

route planning for retail delivery

2. Utilize Technology (software solution)

Consider implementing delivery management software or platforms offering route optimization, real-time tracking, and driver communication. 

The advanced technology features of this software offer enhanced visibility and allow for proactive management of deliveries.

manage retail deliveries with track-pod

3. Inventory Management

Retail delivery owners must keep accurate inventory records to prevent stockouts and ensure the availability of products for delivery. 

This means implementing an inventory tracking system to monitor stock levels and streamline order fulfillment must be considered.

4. Partner with reliable carriers (Daas)

Numerous delivery carriers or logistics partners have a proven track record in timely and safe deliveries. 

If you are unfamiliar with DaaS, it is a third-party delivery service that retailers can work with to optimize the entire management of their delivery company.

Retail delivery companies can delegate tasks to specialized suppliers to reduce costs, accelerate delivery times, and focus more on other business activities.

Some examples of DaaS company services that are reputable in the delivery business market are DoorDash, Instacart, and Shipt, but there are also many more out there.

5. Optimize customer communication

Optimized customer communication refers to keeping a good relationship with your customers, and there is a way you can do that. Customers want to be informed about the delivery of their package with notifications and updates, so why not give them what they want (it’s all part of good management of your retail delivery).

Optimized customer communication provides customers with tracking information and contact details for customer support to address any issues or inquiries promptly.

6. Optimize last-mile delivery

Last-mile delivery is crucial because it is the final step in the delivery trajectory and directly impacts customer satisfaction and cost efficiency. 

You can use strategies like route optimization, delivery consolidation, and leveraging local distribution centers or pickup points to manage the optimization process for your last-mile deliveries.

7. Gather feedback

Retail delivery owners must monitor delivery performance daily and collect customer feedback to identify what needs improvement (and there is always something that needs improvement).

Collecting customer feedback leads to more insights and helps retail deliveries refine most delivery processes.

8. Compliance and Regulations

To manage a continuously successful retail business, owners must comply with local regulations and industry standards. These standards are related to delivery operations, like:

  • Packaging
  • Labeling
  • Data privacy

9. Sustainability

Reports show that retail businesses that want to be successful in the future must consider implementing sustainable practices to reduce environmental impact in their daily delivery operations - 81% of consumers expressed they prefer choosing delivery services that offer returnable/reusable products, containers, and packaging.

By sustainable practices, we refer to using eco-friendly packaging materials or optimizing delivery routes to minimize fuel consumption.

Once fully integrated, these elements of sustainability in the retail delivery process will distinguish retail businesses from others and make them stand out from the crowd.

sustainability in retail deliveries

Best retail delivery examples

Several notable examples stand as the best in the retail delivery industry. 

Here are some of them:

  1. Walmart because it enables customers to order products online and pick them up at a store nearby or deliver them to their location.
  2. Amazon Prime because it is fast and reliable, offering options for same-day and next-day deliveries.
  3. Target because it offers same-day delivery for many products through partnerships with third-party delivery services where customers can order online and purchase on the same day.

In addition, there are other successful and eminent retail delivery companies such as Uber Eats, Zalando, Instacart, etc.

Success criteria for retail deliveries 

The success criteria for retail deliveries refers to the metrics (benchmarks) that are used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of delivery operations in the retail industry.

success criteria for retail deliveries

These criteria typically include: 

  • Successful Deliveries: This criterion measures the percentage of completed deliveries without issues such as missed deliveries, incorrect items, or damages. Also, it reflects the ability of the delivery system to fulfill customer orders accurately and efficiently.

analyze success rates in retail delivery

  • Timely Deliveries: These criteria measure what has been completed in what timeframe, and they can be a crucial success metric for customer satisfaction while maintaining service level agreements (SLAs). 

Also, timely deliveries reduce the risk of customer dissatisfaction and potential penalties for late deliveries.

  • Maximum Vehicle Load - to ensure that the vehicles are packed to the maximum and help use resources wisely while cutting down on how much each delivery costs. This can be seen as a success criteria metric to indicate that if you load up each vehicle to the fullest, drivers can make fewer delivery trips and get them done faster.
  • Driver Tracking - driver tracking refers to keeping an eye on where your delivery drivers are and what they do in real-time, using GPS or other tech solutions. This can be seen as a criterion for measuring how deliveries are going, ensuring drivers take the best routes, and giving customers precise times for when their stuff will arrive.

Common challenges in retail delivery businesses

  • Real-time visibility - because retail deliveries must ensure the goods are delivered on time and efficiently while ensuring their customers are pleased with their service running smoothly.
  • Route optimization - because the demand for home delivery continues to grow, retailers will likely face difficulties optimizing their delivery routes.
  • Last mile delivery - because retailers must ensure their products are delivered to the customers’ location.
  • Transportation costs - because retailers have to deal with transportation expenses, including fuel and vehicle maintenance.
  • Delivery timeframe expectations and delays - because the retail delivery industry has become very competitive, with new delivery companies rising each day - offering quicker delivery options such as same-day delivery.
  • Inventory management - because it is often hard for retail delivery to maintain ideal stock levels (overstocking can lead to increased costs, and understocking can lead to stockouts and delays in processing customer orders)

What is the future of retail deliveries + final words

The future of retail deliveries is bright - it will grow and thrive in the years to come. 

Forecasts given by one report claim that the retail delivery market is projected to reach a revenue of $0,60 tn in 2024 and an annual growth rate of 13.62% (CAGR 2024-2028).

retail delivery market growth

However, navigating the retail delivery industry comes with challenges, and understanding them is the key to succeeding in this sector.

By focusing on the abovementioned aspects, retailers can do many things to manage and optimize their logistics operations. 

This optimization leads to greater customer satisfaction while maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s retail landscape.