This is the definitive and complete guide to grocery delivery software.
If you want to:
Then you’ll appreciate this detailed guide and all that we’ve prepared for you.
Let’s get started.
In this part of the post, we’re going to introduce you to the basics of grocery delivery software.
And how grocery delivery software can help you overcome the challenges brought up by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grocery delivery software is a logistical tool designed to help you automatically manage delivery activities, such as scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs, planning routes, dispatching drivers, and tracking progress across operations.
It’s called grocery delivery software because it lets you handle all tasks from when you receive an order to when you deliver it to the customer.
Grocery delivery software is a complex system.
It has multiple modules for handling different desired actions.
For example, one module is responsible for planning routes, while another for tracking your driver on those routes.
Each module relies on its own set of codes and algorithms to perform these operations.
And all of them integrate to a centralized system - the grocery delivery platform.
Read this post to know whether to centralize or not to centralize delivery operations.
You see (and use) the platform via its two main components:
The dashboard is the central control panel. From there, you have full use of all of the modules and a real-time view of the operation.
For example, you can assign tasks to drivers. Or dispatch drivers to a customer location. Or see where your drivers are on the map.
For example, a driver can see where his future drop-offs are going to be. Or view the name of his next customer. Or collect the electronic proof of delivery.
So with grocery delivery software, there’s ONE tool for managing the entire delivery.
And that’s what makes it unique.
Grocery delivery software is an end-to-end solution.
It can connect to other vital tools that you use:
That is possible, thanks to API integration. (But more on that later)
So like we’ve just mentioned, all you need is one tool to manage the entire supply chain.
Unlike legacy systems, grocery delivery software works on the cloud.
Besides the many benefits of this, adopting a cloud-first approach to delivery logistics enables you to:
Here’s our pick of the top delivery tactics to grow your operations.
It’s easier to stay on top of what’s going on, regardless of size, scale, and order volumes.
In the second part of the article, we’ll turn our attention to you - the user.
Here, you’ll find out whether grocery delivery software is the right tool for your business.
Specifically, you’ll see whether the system can match your needs. And the nature of your grocery delivery.
Let’s jump right in.
Online grocery shopping isn’t a new invention.
But COVID-19 and social distancing have prompted more stores to rethink their approach and move their offer online.
If you own an online grocery store, then you rely a lot on delivery.
But you also know that it’s not your main sales offer. (Groceries are)
So, you need to keep delivery costs down. But also provide the best service to customers.
(More on the benefits of grocery delivery software later)
If you have a single bricks and mortar grocery store, you might overlook the benefits of the software.
But the fact of the matter is that technology can help you.
You know that a lot of your regulars are buying more and more groceries from places like Amazon’s Whole Foods, Tesco, ASDA, Walmart, Sainsbury’s, and other chains.
And you know the state of delivery in time of the coronavirus has reshaped the landscape.
In 2020, many customers have shopped online using Uber, Doordash, Postmates, Grubhub, and Glovo grocery delivery.
And it may seem like dire straits there is a solution:
The secret to know how to compete with Amazon delivery, Walmart, GrubHub and other giants, is to co-exist with them.
But that means you’ll need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and rethink the way you deliver groceries.
Based on experience, we suggest that you focus on the local last-mile.
Cover the local delivery area (3-5 kilometres) near your store. But use delivery management software to increase the speed and efficiency of your operations.
Like mom-and-pop stores, it isn’t easy grocery chains, either.
For you, grocery delivery software isn’t a huge investment. But it still helps you raise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your delivery.
Specifically, the software is a one-stop solution.
So, all you need is one tool to manage delivery at each one of your stores.
Regardless of whether it’s a regional or nationwide chain of stores, you have complete control and visibility from one central location.
Grocery delivery software isn’t limited just to the kind of store you have. You can also use it for different purposes.
That’s because grocery delivery software is an end-to-end solution.
Instead of focusing on one area of operations, it enables you to take a holistic approach.
You can manage the entire life-cycle of each delivery. (From the moment you receive an order to when a driver drops it off to the customer)
At the same time, you can monitor every aspect of last-mile delivery. (From how you source supplies to how much inventory you have to where your drivers are in the field)
Which means you can communicate internally and externally, such as customers and suppliers, as well as different teams inside your organization.
And that’s the main reason why grocery delivery software supports any offer you provide to customers.
Now, it’s time to show you exactly how to improve your grocery delivery.
Specifically, you’ll see the top three last-mile challenges and how software helps you to overcome them.
You’ll learn how to:
Let’s get started.
The last mile is a logistical problem because it requires you to manage customer expectations efficiently.
Which means you will have to make it super easy for customers to order and receive groceries.
And this can be difficult to achieve when you don’t want to waste a lot of resources.
Which means you will have to optimize the last mile.
When it comes to grocery delivery, we believe that these three challenges will be your leading concerns:
Last-mile delivery isn’t about travelling from point A to point B, and back.
First, that kind of delivery raises the number of miles drivers have to travel. Which means you increase the cost per delivery.
Second, you need a big fleet if drivers have to return to the store after each delivery. So, you can’t handle large order volumes.
That’s not very cost-effective.
So, drivers need to have more than one stop (drop-off) on their routes. (Even when delivering perishable groceries)
But each drop-off adds to the time it takes to complete each route.
Just one stop involves:
And that can take 30 minutes or more depending on the delivery area your store covers.
So, there is still a lot of wasted resources in this process, as well.
It’s one thing to deliver 15 tons of groceries from a supplier to your warehouse using a truck on a motorway.
It’s quite another for a van to deliver that same amount to homes and offices in a dense urban area.
Drivers have to deal with speed limits, narrow and one-way streets, traffic congestion, public transportation, and pedestrians. And to and from multiple stops, several times a day.
All of that lowers the speed of delivery.
Which means delivering groceries in cities and to rural areas takes a lot more time.
Order accuracy is a common problem with direct-to-consumer delivery.
But accuracy can drop for many reasons, including:
Some might be the fault of your workforce. Some are the fault of your customers. But all of them hurt your business.
For starters, failed and missed deliveries damage your reputation. You risk losing customers over a bad experience and negative reviews.
At the same time, you need to cover the cost of reverse logistics, returns, and refunds. And that affects your bottom line.
Read this guide if you want to know how to handle reverse logistics and e-commerce returns.
Those are the most common challenges of the last-mile. Now, let’s see how grocery delivery software helps you solve them:
Route optimization is one of the main features of grocery delivery software.
Besides helping you find the best path from point A to point B, it also allows you to map multiple stops on multiple routes and for all of your drivers, automatically.
That takes away a lot of the pressure from route planners (especially if they are still manually planning routes).
Grocery delivery software works on the cloud.
All of the maps that you view on the dashboard are accurate and up to date. So, there is less chance for drivers to miss their drop-offs.
Likewise, using software to optimize routes lets you include a lot of parameters that reduce the time per delivery.
You can add:
Stops and traffic lights
Access and exit points
(to pick-up and drop-off)
All of this cuts the time it takes to complete multi-stop delivery in dense urban areas.
Grocery delivery software allows you to manage schedules based on order volumes and daily tasks and activities.
You can determine the actual time it takes a driver to complete a drop-off. But also, calculate the average time in transit more easily.
That enables you to create a schedule that maximizes drivers' productivity.
For example, you can set the time at each drop-off to 15 minutes. That leaves drivers enough time to find, walk up to, talk to the customer, and get back to their vehicles.
At the same time, the software automatically calculates ETAs.
So, you know the travel time from one location to the next. Which means you can track idle time.
After you add lunch breaks, rests, refuelling/resupply stops, you know the exact number of deliveries each driver can handle during a shift.
Planning schedules like this raise the route density for each driver. Which means you lower the cost per delivery, as well.
But you also increase the speed of delivery. That grows the rate of fulfilment, so you can easily handle multi-stop routes in dense urban areas.
Plus, you gain complete control over the whole schedule.
Which means you can add contingency time in case you come across missed or failed deliveries.
Read our guide on how to plan better delivery schedules.
If you have a chain of stores, different fleets likely cover different delivery areas.
Grocery delivery software helps you with this, as well.
You can input information about each driver and vehicle in every fleet into the system.
For example, a unique skill, or specialized equipment, or various load capacities.
That allows you to rightsize each fleet based on the demand within its area of operation.
So, when demand exceeds your capacity, your last-mile won’t suffer.
On-demand grocery delivery has to rely on speed. (Especially since the outbreak of COVID-19)
Traditionally, when a new order arrives, you would deliver it tomorrow. Or, the customer would have to order groceries ahead of time.
That’s not very convenient.
That’s why all of the mentioned features work in real-time, as well.
And since you have a complete overview of what’s happening on the map, you control the whole delivery on the go.
For example, grocery delivery apps allow you to offer same-day delivery.
When an order arrives, you can see which driver is closest to the nearest store, or warehouse, and add a new pick-up and drop-off to his route.
The driver gets notified about the new tasks via the driver app, while the customer receives the order faster than expected.
Real-time capabilities are also useful when you have to handle failed or missed deliveries.
If a driver notifies you about a return, you can assign an available driver to pick-up and deliver the order straight away.
And in the case of a missed delivery, you can have two drivers meet, exchange orders, and drop them off at a more convenient time for the customer.
Whether it’s the fault of someone on your team or the customer, you won’t risk the reputation of your business.
You can handle reverse logistics fast. And without consequence to customer experience.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a lot more ways grocery delivery software improves your service.
This part of the article is a list of some of the best benefits of grocery delivery software.
We’ll not only provide you with a bunch of advantages of the software but why each one can work for your grocery delivery. (Regardless of its size and shape)
More importantly, we’ll show you how you and your customers can get MORE value.
Let’s check out these benefits.
We’ve touched on convenience a bit. But did you know that it’s one of the top three reasons why your customers shop online?
In a study on The Future of Customer Experience by PwC, 80% of customers said that speed, convenience and knowledgeable service are what they value most.
In the same way that it’s more convenient for customers to order online, it should be just as easy to receive them.
Enter: grocery delivery management software.
First, the software lets you offer customers to choose when they want orders to arrive.
You can set up specific time windows customers can choose at checkout.
You can let them choose the date of delivery but also the time of day when they want it to arrive, like mornings or afternoons.
That means customers can organize themselves around work and other activities, rather than the ETA of their order.
For your business, that means greater accuracy. And you reduce the chance of missed deliveries.
Using a grocery delivery platform also allows you to send tracking links and notifications.
Customers can remain involved in the delivery process by tracking their order on the map.
So, they know exactly where their order is, and when the driver will drop it off.
And for the very best doorstep grocery delivery experience, drivers can send quick reminders. Or you can set up automatic notifications.
So once a driver confirms that the delivery is complete, the app automatically sends a text message or email to the next customer that their order is on its way.
None of the above would be possible without complete integration.
In truth, working with a host of separate apps isn’t that different from manual planning using pen and paper.
You may use an order management system for your online grocery store, such as:
Or you can connect it with an inventory management solution to track and order supplies.
And any other tools you use for the supply chain, warehouse, or customer support.
All of these systems can integrate with grocery delivery software.
That means you can take a holistic approach to your delivery. And manage everything from one central platform.
Thanks to real-time control and visibility, as well as complete integration, you can coordinate the pick-up and drop-off of each delivery.
That’s why you can use grocery delivery software regardless of whether you use an internal vs external delivery fleet.
Let’s say you use a 3PL provider.
For example, you can integrate it with their tracking software to monitor the dedicated fleet as they deliver groceries to your customers.
And you can just as well use it to coordinate pick-up with your suppliers. Or organize the in-store pick-up for click & collect.
On the other hand, you can orchestrate internal teams, as well.
For example, you can use the grocery delivery system to schedule pick-ups at depot locations.
Inventory managers can plan pick-up times based on the drivers’ delivery schedules.
That can prevent any overlaps at the depot site, which might create bottlenecks and slow down fulfilment.
And it works regardless of whether you plan at a depot level vs multi-depot planning.
Plus, you can do this for all of your teams, from route planners, to dispatch and customer support.
Aligning internal teams and integrating with different solutions makes your grocery delivery faster and more flexible.
Controlling tasks from a central platform means you manage every part of your organization.
That includes the structure, process, people, and technology.
And you can do all of that on the go.
This active approach means you can make swift assessments, quick decisions, and take rapid action in various situations.
At the same time, you have complete visibility over all of your resources.
That makes it easier to readjust operations and align with the needs and requirements of your plan of action.
Not only does this make your delivery faster and more flexible. But it’s also the first step to build an agile delivery operation.
Grocery delivery software impacts all areas of your operations.
That improves key metrics in delivery logistics. And that’s what makes your delivery more efficient.
For example, when you raise on-time delivery and order accuracy, you boost customer satisfaction.
So more people feel driven to buy more groceries from you. (Rather than from rival stores)
At the same time, optimizing routes to cut the average time per delivery speeds up fulfilment.
Which means you can handle more deliveries. (Without investing extra resources)
Greater efficiency helps you achieve three things:
First, you improve performance
Better performance raises productivity and the amount of profit you can generate.
Then, you optimize operations
That helps you maximize cost-effectiveness by reducing waste in your process. So you can make better use of what you have (your resources).
And finally, you become more sustainable.
From vehicle wear and tear to employee happiness, you protect your assets while conserving time, money, and energy.
At this point in the article, you know pretty much everything there is to know about grocery delivery software.
And you probably want one for your store.
Now it’s time to check out the advanced characteristics that can help you make a better decision and choose the BEST solution.
If we could give you one piece of advice to choose the best solution for your business, it’s this:
Choose grocery delivery software that you can access online. That it’s a web-based solution.
What this means is that you can access the software from anywhere, using a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Firefox.
Of course, these days, a lot of grocery delivery apps are web-based. But it’s still just as important, and for several reasons:
First, delivery management software that’s web-based is much more affordable.
Instead of buying a 10-times more expensive copy or license, you subscribe to use the software for a fixed period.
Usually, this means a monthly or yearly subscription. So, you can terminate as soon as your contract expires.
Next, all web-based solutions operate on the public cloud.
Cloud computing means that you won’t have to invest extra money into extra technology, systems integration, or software updates.
All of that is automatically rolled-out by your SaaS provider.
And because it works on the cloud you can also:
And integration is the next property you should look for:
We’ve touched on the integration of grocery delivery software quite a bit. But what does that look like exactly?
Specifically, delivery management software has to have API integration.
API stands for application programming interface. Experts define it as:
API integration is a connection between two or more applications, via their APIs, that lets those systems exchange data between each other.
Without APIs, grocery delivery software would be just another stand-alone app.
That’s why it’s important to check if the solution has API integration capabilities. But also whether it can integrate with both internal and external systems.
Additionally, you should check out how data will move between systems. And how secure is that movement of data.
If you plan to share APIs with customers and partners, there has to be a secure port and a system of verification, as well.
Grocery delivery software should be able to handle multiple order requests at the same time.
It should also import and export delivery data automatically. Which means the software transfers the order requests into tasks by itself.
When choosing a solution, make sure that the system allows you to upload files one by one and in bulk. And that it supports universal file formats (.xls, .pdf, .csv).
Keep in mind that automatic import & export of data shouldn’t prevent you from doing it by hand. (Since you should always have a back-up plan)
Are you still manually planning?
Then you know, how difficult it is for all your teams to submit reports, proofs of delivery, and order receipts.
Then there is the way-too-long paper trail and all those cabinets that store those files.
Now, imagine that you have a customer complaint. And you need to access a file, quickly.
It won’t be easy. (Even if you have a spreadsheet to help you)
It’s safe to assume that you need grocery delivery software with automated reporting.
Delivery management software does this using:
ePOD means that you can collect and store all your order requests, delivery confirmations, and shipping dockets within the system. (Both via the dashboard and driver app)
Historical data tracing, on the other hand, will allow you to access that data.
You can use it to evaluate your operations. Not to mention, expand your database to improve the accuracy of the system.
Finally, you should check whether the software lets you set up automatic confirmations, alerts, and notifications.
That is crucial when you want to minimize internal communication, but also improve customer experience.
Make sure the system supports in-app notifications, QR codes, email and SMS alerts.
Of course, price is a top factor when choosing delivery software for your grocery store.
And it’s safe to assume that you want to spend the least amount of money for the highest gains and best features.
So, we did the math and compared prices.
On average, delivery management software costs $182.35, or £137.74.
But there is a lot that goes into the price. And a lot of providers that offer different solutions.
That’s why we did a deep dive into all of that.
So, you know the answer to the question: How much does delivery management software cost?
(And how much you’ll end up paying once you’ve made your choice)
We have everything you need to start improving your delivery.
Here are the nine free guides that will show you exactly what we do to optimize the last mile and dominate delivery logistics.
1. The definitive and complete guide to Route Optimization Software
2. Why mapping multiple delivery stops is impossible without software
3. How to leverage Route Planning Software to drive delivery excellence
5. How we crush customer experience with delivery management software
6. Where to find and how to choose delivery management software
8. How we dominate reverse logistics and eCommerce returns
9. How teams dominate remote work using nothing but Field Service Software
eLogii is an end-to-end cloud-based delivery management platform. Our powerful solution solves the biggest challenges of modern distribution and field service businesses, including: route optimization, planning and execution.
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