The COVID-19 pandemic has forced consumers to change their spending habits. As the saying goes, there is opportunity in every crisis. While brick and mortar businesses are badly impacted, online businesses on the other hand are thriving. There is no better time than now to look into making a foray into e-commerce. For a traditional business to make the transition, there are a few key elements to look into firstly.

  1. Selling & Marketing: To identify and verify consumer needs online, launch an e-commerce store and initiate selling, awareness and brand-building processes.
  2. Delivery & Customer Experience: To build a professional end-to-end customer experience by having the right delivery fleet.
  3. Optimise Delivery Route: To optimise delivery routes in order to maximise delivery volume and reduce costs.

Selling & Marketing

Your website is an important part of your product and brand, so make sure you spend some time thinking about design, and go with an e-commerce platform that prioritises aesthetics and ease-of-use. There are plenty of paid and free modern-looking template options out there, so it’s relatively easy to start an online store.

Most e-commerce platforms have free trials, so you can familiarise with the platform first before deciding on one that suits your needs. Then choose a name for your store and start uploading your products to sell. Not all products are sellable online, so you might want to do an initial testing first to find out which products work best on an e-commerce marketplace.

Now that your website is up and running, it’s time to drive traffic to your online store. Run some paid advertising on social media, search engine or video advertising platforms, or invest in influencer marketing to lead people to the store and build your brand awareness from there.

Delivery

The next piece of the puzzle is the delivery. There are two options to choose from — to hire delivery drivers/riders or get external contractors to help out. This will depend on your delivery volume and the amount of control you want to have on your delivery efficiency. On one hand, external contractors are great because it helps your business to be asset-light as you don’t have to worry about owning or maintaining your own fleet, as well as recruiting the drivers/riders. This is a suitable option for a small delivery volume, but be wary of a potential bottleneck situation when your business continues to scale, which may subsequently impact your customer experience.

As your business matures, you would be more inclined to handle your delivery in-house. As such, the choice of delivery vehicles is equally important. If you are selling larger items such as furniture, equipment or large appliances, a van would be your best bet. But more often than not, e-commerce involves smaller items that are relatively easy to transport.

This is where motorcycles would be a better choice. Besides being more agile during city traffic jams, they are also more affordable and cost-effective to own. If you are thinking of having your own motorcycle fleet, why not rent from Symbike? Symbike provides long-term motorcycle rental for businesses with a low monthly rental fee. You can focus on expanding your business while leaving the hassle of regular maintenance and monitoring/administrative work to us.

Customer Experience

From the customers’ perspective, the delivery experience is key as this is potentially the final step in a customer’s journey. Thus, it is also important to keep in mind that your delivery fleet and riders are an extension of your brand. In fact, the delivery experience is the only touchpoint your customer has with your company – aside from your e-commerce website. This is your chance to leave a good impression!

A personalised touch goes a long way, especially in the age of isolation. For example, small gestures such as SMS notification before delivery, photos of delivered items or even handwritten thank-you notes will leave a lasting impression. Not only will it reflect well on your brand, it can also lead to positive word-of-mouth.

Optimise Delivery Routes

As a business, you would want to make sure your delivery routes are the most cost-effective. You can do it either manually or by using paid services/software for the delivery route planning. Online Maps is the most commonly used free tool. It works by plotting addresses into it, and manually moving the stops around until it looks like you have the most efficient route.

However, most businesses would start to feel overwhelmed and bottlenecked with manual route planning once they start dealing with more than 25 orders in a day. This is where a route optimisation software can come in handy. A good routing software can help you sequence the stops in the most optimal order, and account for a range of complexities such as delivery time windows, vehicle capacities and driver schedules.

Conclusion

The market has seen a huge appetite for online shopping, especially when it comes to essentials like hot food, meal kits and groceries. In the times of a new normal, now is the perfect opportunity to pivot into e-commerce business if you have not already.

By giving your customers a delightful and memorable end-to-end delivery experience, you’ll be sure to gain satisfied and repeat brand evangelists who will spread the word for you and help your business grow in the long run.

Let us help you achieve success with your first e-commerce business venture. Symbike provides affordable, reliable and hassle-free motorcycle rental services for businesses in Malaysia, all under one fixed cost inclusive of servicing and maintenance fees, road tax and insurance. Contact us today for a free consultation and quote.

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