Having worked with many b2B ecommerce businesses across a wide range of industries, Williams Commerce understands the importance of delivery policies and how it can affect the success of a business.

In this digital age, a competitive and clear delivery infrastructure is absolutely vital and in this article we will share with you a number of tactics being used by wholesalers and cash and carries to gain and retain new customers.

A businesses delivery policy is often a stumbling block on the way to running a successful online business, with consumers easily deterred by high delivery costs or a delivery policy that is deemed unfriendly or inefficient. At a time where the largest online retailers are able to ship goods quickly and in many cases free of charge, consumer’s expectations are very high.

The B2B sector certainly poses greater challenges around pick and packing large palletised orders and the increased costs associated with bulk deliveries. With the growing expectation from trade customers for low priced, next day delivery, wholesalers, distributors and cash and carrys who want to gain a competitive advantage are re-looking at their delivery model to find ways to meet their customers growing expectations.

Managing Director at Williams Commerce, Robert Williams comments. “We’ve undertaken a number of complex ecommerce projects for our wholesale clients and we’ve certainly discovered that delivery policy is absolutely key to a business achieving its conversion rate ambitions. When a wholesaler or cash and carry is transitioning its business online, careful consideration around offering a competitive delivery policy is essential to ensure trade customers do not see delivery as a barrier. It’s now an essential customer service tool and when delivery is done well, customer loyalty can be positively impacted.”

Some of the successful delivery policies we’ve seen adopted by wholesalers and cash and carrys include;

1) Offering a structured minimum order value that will depend upon the type of customers you wish to attract. For instance, a pound line discounter who wants to attract all manner of customers from Ebayers, car booters and smaller independent businesses might offer a minimum order value of £50. Another housewares wholesaler for example might set minimum order at £500 in order to attract bona fide VAT registered businesses.

2) Offering Free Delivery over your minimum order value is a great headline for many businesses. However, providing real clarity around where the Free Delivery applies to, for example mainland UK only is very important.

3) Spend time on creating a delivery landing page that clearly outlines how your delivery policy works, using tables and shaded maps.

View an example of a delivery policy displayed by visual map.

4) Offer multiple ways for your website visitors to access your delivery policy whilst online. Your headline delivery price is emphasised on the home page above the fold, it’s also accessibly from the footer. At the product page you might offer a Delivery button with a pop-up to show a summary of your delivery charges and you might want to reinforce them again at the checkout. All of this provides reassurance and trust signals throughout your customers online journey, ensuring there are no surprises and delivery bill shock when it comes time to pay. All of this will certainly help to reduce shopping basket abandonments.

5) Use your Delivery landing page and your About Us page to educate your customers about your delivery price structure. This is particular important for Cash and Carrys where the online prices plus a delivery charge may often be higher than the cash and carry depot price. Customers nowadays expect online to be cheaper than stores, but miss the point that a cash and carry’s offering online requires the labour costs to pick and pack and then additional costs to deliver the product. In this case, the convenience of having a cash and carry delivery will be at a premium versus a trade customer visiting the depot themselves. Convenience costs! Considering an education program via leafleting, email newsletters and explanations online will help raise your customer’s awareness of your delivery policy.

As we move into 2015, we expect to see even more B2B ecommerce businesses evolving their delivery policy to gain a competitive advantage and take market share from their competitors.

If you’d like to learn more about how Williams Commerce can help grow your online business in 2015, give one of our experience ecommerce managers a call today on 0116 326 1116 or email us at [email protected]