More and more retail businesses are delivering their goods directly to their customer’s doors, and it’s clear to see why. It’s convenient for the customer and profitable for the business. With that said, many retail shops go through some delivery growing pains that hurt their reputation. 

In this article, we’ll look at 5 common problems that retail businesses face when implementing a delivery service or using a third party. We’ll also look at a few ways to solve these issues. 


Problem #1: Unpredictable Changes in Customer Demand

There are times when companies can predict a spike in customer demand, like during the holiday season. But when you’re suddenly swamped with orders, your staff won’t be able to keep up. This problem could persist if something permanently changes buyer behaviours

Solution: Last-Mile Delivery Tracking

To address this, keep your customers up-to-date with any changes in estimated delivery times. By implementing last-mile delivery tracking, you can more easily keep your buyers informed. If you feel the change is permanent, consider hiring more staff and purchasing more trucks.

Problem #2: Overwhelmed and Overworked Drivers 

A 2018 Gallup poll found that 67% of employees feel burnt out, and that number has increased dramatically after the pandemic. There’s a good chance that your drivers feel overworked, either because your workforce is understaffed or they have to manage many last-minute deliveries.

Solution: Hire Effectively and Plan Ahead

Most problems that affect overwhelmed drivers can be solved if you hire more staff. If there are more drivers on the road, they won’t have as much to do. While this step can make their work more manageable, it won’t solve every problem, especially ones caused by a lack of planning.

Route optimization software is what you need to ensure all your packages are delivered in a timely and effective manner. With this technology, your staff won’t have to worry about rushing back and forth across town to make quota, as the software will continuously optimize their route.

Problem #3: Delivery Mistakes From Mislabeling 

A busy retail business will deliver hundreds of packages a day, and that can get confusing quickly. Before you know it, you’re mislabeling packages, meaning they’ll end up at the wrong address or lost in the pile. Mistakes happen, but they shouldn’t be a common occurrence. 

Solution: Utilize Effective Automation Tools

To ensure accuracy, use automated systems to track every delivery and provide customers with detailed receipts for their orders upon each delivery. Allow customers to make delivery requests and changes. These should ping your software or delivery driver the moment they happen.

Problem #4: Unreliable Third-Party Delivery Partners

Many retail businesses don’t use their own delivery service. Instead, they’ll hire a third party to deliver their packages for them. While using a third party can save you money, an unreliable partner could end up costing you more in unexpected delays, low quality, and missed deadlines.

Solution: Research Third-Parties Beforehand 

The best way to avoid this mistake is by researching any third party you plan to work with. Think of it this way: your delivery service is an extension of your business. It doesn’t matter if the third party is to blame. Your customers will still blame you and your brand for the problem.

To protect your reputation online, only work with reliable third parties. Check their reviews and send a test package. Call a customer service agent and pretend to be a customer, so you can see how your other customers will be treated. Finally, ensure their employees are well trained. 

Problem #5: Not Communicating With Customers

While your customers will appreciate receiving a tracking number, they also want to be able to communicate with you if something goes wrong. They also want you to pick up the phone when they have a question. If your service is lacking, you’re going to make your customers angry.

Solution: Improve Your Customer Service Department 

If you’re in charge of the customer service department, do what you can to improve it. That means hiring more staff, using a VoIP system to manage calls, and training employees to speak curiously. Use chatbots if you can’t keep your customer service department open 24/7.

By considering these 5 potential delivery problems for your retail business, you can make sure your deliveries run as smoothly as possible, which will provide a better customer experience.