Rural delivery can cause all sorts of issues for online retailers; additional costs charged by freight companies, identification of rural addresses, rising fuel costs and slower delivery times, to name a few. To help our merchants manage these and other rural delivery issues, we've put together some possible solutions to implement.
Rural Delivery Issues for Online Retailers
During the past decade, both the volume and range of goods ordered online and shipped has grown. The pandemic has resulted in even more online shopping, as customers choose to have goods delivered rather than visiting a physical store. As such, online retailers have experienced a rise in the number of rural delivery issues they face, including:
- customers incorrectly identifying their address as non-rural
- rise in shipping costs and rural delivery surcharges
- increased delivery times, a significant issue for online food retailers
- fewer delivery runs to rural addresses
- rising fuel costs for businesses who made their own deliveries
- additional packaging requirements for larger rural deliveries, and to address wider range of products delivered rurally
We've identified that online retailers have been removing or mitigating the remaining issues by:
- packaging all products of an order together - rather than sending out when available, merchants have been waiting until the order is complete and sending the order as a whole.
- offering set rural delivery days - retailers who do their own local deliveries have set delivery days for their rural customers. This increases the number of deliveries at one time, but reduces both time and fuel costs by delivering more frequently.
- managing customer expectations - give clear information about how orders are processed, expected delivery times and the possibility of interrupted courier services at key areas on their website.
- limiting delivery areas - when unable to ensure quick delivery, some retailers have reduced their delivery area. For instance, an Otago orchardist will only accept orders from South Island based customers.
- customer education - retailers have educated customers on the rising costs they are being charged by courier companies, and as such the reason why the shipping prices have risen.
- free delivery over a certain amount - encouraging customers to place a larger order to receive free shipping, with the aim that the additional spend covers the shipping costs paid by the merchant.
- product price rises - in order to offer shipping at the same or for free, some retailers have raised the prices of their products overall to cover this.
- item or weight specific shipping fees - charging higher delivery costs for bulky or heavy, with lower priced options for smaller, lightweight products.
In regards to the issue of relying upon customers to correctly identify their address as rural, and as such, add the required surcharge to their order, Website World have the solution.
Free Rural Delivery Address Detection
One of the major benefits Website World's eCommerce platform provides is automatic rural delivery detection. When a customer enters their Australia or New Zealand based address, the CMS uses information from third party sources to identify if the delivery address is rural or not. This means that rather than relying upon the customer to correctly identify their address as rural or urban, the CMS will do so for them.
As a result, customers are charged the rural surcharge automatically. This means that merchants do not need to spend time contacting and invoicing for additional rural surcharge payments, nor absorb these additional costs themselves.
Website World's platform also integrates with multiple courier companies who offer real time pricing based upon the merchant's account with that courier company. Several of these courier companies also provide automated courier fulfillment, where upon logging into your account with them, your orders will be listed and ready for you to print packaging labels for.
To take advantage of our free rural delivery detection service, start your free website trial today. Or if you already have a site elsewhere, we are able to migrate your website to our platform.