However it’s also important not to forget the last piece of the puzzle: delivery. Delivery is different from distribution, because it doesn’t really mean looking into how you’re going to get your product to its final destination, so much as how it’s going to be presented when it arrives. Delivery means adding the extra flourishes to improve the customer experience and to sweeten the deal and it’s incredibly important for your business in the long run.
So important is delivery in fact, that in his book Business Stripped Bare, Richard Branson devotes an entire chapter to this area alone. Here we’ll look at some of the lessons from the bearded wonder, as well as general business advice that can help you to put the cherry on top of the cake that is your product.
A Great Example
One of the best examples of fantastic delivery around today is Amazon. Amazon in fact specializes in delivery seeing as it makes few of its own products. If you are an online retailer selling products at a marked-up price, then delivery is the only thing other than price that can set you apart from the competition, and so it’s also the only way that you can make your presence felt.
Amazon takes full advantage of this with its clever branding and instantly recognizable packaging. As they state in one of their recent advertising campaigns, they’re the company with the ‘smile on the box’ and this is something that everyone is familiar with today. Ever gone to collect a package from the sorting office only to look enviously at all the Amazon packages on the shelves? We’re almost classically conditioned to feel excitement now at the site of them, and the smile can only help to reinforce that feeling. Amazon recognizes that delivery is an excellent opportunity to increase brand awareness, and that’s something that other businesses should emulate.
Meeting and Surpassing Expectations
Of course Amazon also ticks all the boxes in terms of basic delivery expectations. Amazon is well known for being prompt with their delivery, and the packaging is sufficient to protect the items inside, meaning you can enjoy a pristine book or CD that’s in just as good condition as it would be if it were store bought.
This is consistency and it’s critically important if you want to make your brand grow. Optimize your delivery process and make sure that your goods arrive at their destination on time every time, and in fantastic condition. Look into using the best courier services, and consider whether your product would be better served by a vacuum pack or a cardboard box. Invest in the best delivery and packaging and it will pay for itself in the long term by strengthening the reputation of your business and earning the trust of your customers and clients.
The only time that consistency isn’t necessary is if you intend to surpass expectations, which is another great business strategy that can improve your reputation further. In other words, if you suspect your product will take three-four days to get to its location, then don’t promise a delivery time of two-three days because you’ll be likely to disappoint your customers. Instead, offer a predicted time of five-six days, and your customers will be pleasantly surprised every time – creating good will and increasing the likelihood that they’ll rate the experience highly and use your services again. You can achieve something similar by including free gifts in your packages (which might also act as incentives if you opt for money off vouchers for instance).
In Other Businesses
Note that delivery doesn’t just apply to companies that sell products. Delivery in this sense simply means the way that you present your offering whether that means goods or services. In the catering business for example delivery can mean the way that your staff treat customers and the way that the food is presented on the plate.
In any industry then, it’s worth considering the delivery aspect of your business so that you can maximise the positive impact of your product or service and craft the whole experience to perfection.