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Delivery

POS SOFTWARE

We are now seeing that the rising petrol costs are now causing higher delivery prices. 

Where it is going? A New Zealander tells me that the fuel price there can be $3.60, so we are doing well. In Queensland, we are now witnessing an added problem. The floods have mucked up the public transport system, so people have to drive more cars on the road, resulting in longer queues.

This increase in petrol costs is getting people to review their delivery charges. So we are getting many people ringing up to ask about changing their delivery fees in our software. It is not hard, but people use it so rarely that they have questions about how to do it.

Here are some points (tips) that may help:

) It is an excellent time to review their charges if you use couriers. Some have not updated their prices!

) If you do the delivery yourself, why not use the Google Map integration in your POS software to plan your route? It is free, so why not use it? What is helpful here is to see the effect of changing your delivery time on your trip.

) You can save some money by using a fuel check app. I like GasBuddy, I heard that petrolspy is good too. The NSW government has one too, but I know nothing about it at least it will not have ads.

You will find it handy to know the best prices when shopping for petrol in an area.

) Investigate Click and Collect. Many people are now using it for supermarket orders. For these people, it can be handy to collect your order at the same time.

The reality is that there are problems. Couriers are taking longer to save petrol. So use our POS software to send your customers' parcel delivery updates by email. Tell your customers where their parcel is and the expected delivery details. Most people appreciate it when you get them. You are providing them with a personal touch to your business. It keeps them in the loop, so they know what is happening. It also puts your name out to an engaged customer. Include a picture of your shop and logo with your details in the email. Also, set a link to your social media, e.g. Facebook page, and do some free marketing in the email.

In business never let an opportunity go to waste.

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POS SOFTWARE

A problem that is all too common in Google Maps is that the location shown there is wrong. It would be best if you did this to keep your Google Maps integration.

For this exercise, I have called up a supplier of mine, then pressed the green arrow. 

Then your Google Maps integration kicks in and presents you with the following map.

This map is a different place. It is wrong. No one said that Google Maps is infallible, only that it is good.

The problem is that here that the address in this system. See the green arrow above where it is listed as 

Google does NOT validate your address, it does not fix it. It assumes what you give is correct. Here is what it expects. 

The space between 37 and the minus sign is confusing Google. If you change it to 37-49 Browns Road, it will be fine. So if you intend to use the Google Maps integration, I suggest that you change the address in your system where the green arrow is pointing.

We will discuss bulk change of addresses in a later post.

 

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One of our competitors has come out of the dark with a recent new attack. Now they claim that we have copied them in Google map integration, and what they did was *innovation* but not us. The last time these guys made such an attack on us was to claim that we were too cheap. 

Unlike the early claim of being too cheap, we have no idea what they are talking about Google Maps. I am not sure when we first implemented Google Map integration into our software, but it was before 2009. We were early on to it, as we knew from our discussions with Google on how the system worked. Then it was all new, and no one knew how to make it work. The earliest mention about us having this integration was in our newsletters dated Tuesday 26th May 2009, showing DOS users how to use it. Yes, it was available in our older DOS versions too. As it was a new development that was long stopped in DOS by then, we did it earlier, but I cannot find when.

And before anyone jumps up and down on me, let me say that I looked at some other competitors. They have Google Maps too. Generally, they use a paid service like Pointy. Since we wrote our own API, there is no charge for our users for Google Maps.  

Before 2009, it was innovative. It is not innovative in 2022, and pretending that it is, I think, is an absurdity.

So summing up, I am sure that now their users are glad that finally, they have some of the benefits, which our users have had for over 13 years. 

Now let us move on and discuss how do we use it?

The easiest way in your software is to look for a box marked "Show Google Map". It is in many places, e.g. see the green arrow in the supplier screen below.

Once you press that box out will pop out in Google Map the location in a map.


 

You then have the full facilities of Google Map, although you can do much more than in this simple example.

The following are some of the significant uses our clients are using their Google Maps integration for:

1) If you are going to go to a place you have never been to before. Who knows how far and what the traffic is like going there. Using Google Maps, they can get an estimated time of arrival and an estimated time of return. This makes it much easier to get organised.

2) The primary use that people use is to send the address to their phone, so they can use it for directions while in the car. This saves time.

3) Failed deliveries due to wrong addresses are costly for retailers. It can be a significant cause of customer dissatisfaction. So using this Google Maps integration, you can check that you have the correct address before going out. You need some intelligence here as sometimes Google does not have a valid address. We have had discussions about this. Currently, there is nothing anyone can do about that, but we are actively looking into it.

4) See my post a few days ago on handling many locations and making a route.

I urge you to experiment with these functions and yes there are more, but we will discuss them later when I cool down.

PS Here is an interesting oddity for you, Google Maps was invented in Australia and is an Australian Product. It is True Blue, we do get around us Aussies.

 

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Many years ago, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce decided to analyze how good Australia Post was on deliveries. So they asked many of their members to send them a return letter on a particular day. They concluded that the letter probably would get through on time, but you cannot count on it happening on time. If there was a problem then, it is much worse now.  

Due to COVID, we are all facing problems now with deliveries. I think it's made Australia flawed delivery system worse. Years ago, I was told that it was cheaper if you had many items to send to many places in Australia to package it and send it to China. Then have them separate it and send it back to Australia to the many places. That was then and now, I think we have had worse service and higher prices

Today Australia Post uses a measure that states if a parcel is three days late or less, it was delivered on time. With that measure, they are at 90%. Tell me, if you were three days late would you consider yourself on time?

So I was pretty impressed when in Townsville, I was given this analysis of 352 taken over seven months.

 

If you look at it, Australia Post in Townsville is doing well, that shocked me. Tip: If you send a parcel to Townsville, Australia Post looks like a good choice based on this. It is often the easiest too although rarely the cheapest.

Unfortunately, this sort of analysis is only suitable for what we send out. For what we get often, we have no control over who sends it.

Our experience now in Melbourne is pretty mixed, we have not broken it down by couriers, but we often face late deliveries now. One of our engineers was so upset recently. So he jumped into his car and delivered it personally. When I complain, I have noticed that even Australia Post now subcontracts much of the deliveries. Many problems are caused by most freight in and out of Australia going through consolidators. These consolidators wait for a container to be full before they ship it. This causes significant delays.

This is something we are living with now.

 

 

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POS SOFTWARE

These sorts of emails are, regrettably, common now. COVID has made business peoples lives difficult. In spite of the best efforts of delivery people, everyone currently is encountering delays and lost parcels.  

Fortunately, most people now understand the obstacles. 2021 is a challenging year for everyone. We are all trying to do our best to make it easier.

In my experience, the sooner you notify your customer, the easier it is to deal with the problem. Let them know by a call or email there is a problem. Give your customer the carriers new delivery date if possible, the carrier's reference number and contact details. That may get you out of the loop. 

What you need to do is let your customer know that you are here to support them.

If you do a lot of shipping with one carrier, we have several carriers integrated to automate this process. Unfortunately, many of these are not free services from the carrier but subscription services. So there is a cost for this service.

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POS SOFTWARE

The public is demanding free delivery, yet everything has a cost not necessarily fair as many larger firms can negotiate cheap delivery costs. Then there is the packing of goods which adds costs. So as delivery cannot be charged often the goods must be dearer priced.

Also, currently, delivery times are causing havoc. 

Solution why not have a click and collect service?

It is free, fast, and convenient. So you can save on shipping costs. A significant advantage here, unlike delivery, the goods are inspected before acceptance. 

If so, here are some steps:

Have a standard form to email your customers with the steps outlined for collection. 

Make a formal pick-up point with accessible signage, hopefully, under security camera viewing. Many retailers share such a spot with other retailers nearby.

Email order details and confirmation with pick-up details and instruction form attached. 

Have your items pre-sorted and ready for pick up aligned with the customer pick-up notices. 

Why not review the customer experience? Send them a thank you email as this will both advertise your shop.

Finally, why not request feedback from your customers; this will allow you to improve in the future.

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POS SOFTWARE

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry  conducts regular surveys to see how businesses are adapting to the current crisis, we participate. What they have noticed is that many companies in Victoria are changing their delivery system. 

It makes sense if you think about it what business should and many are now thinking about customer values, rather than customer value to them. If you want customer loyalty, you need to realise that it works on both sides, customers and you.

Okay, ask yourself what is important to customers now and how has this COVID-19 pandemic changed their behaviour? What is important to them to help build a connection.  Consider offering more delivery and/or click and collect to your selling strategies.

The problem with delivery in Australia is that delivery costs are too high and unless the item is somewhere over $100, its not worth delivering. Click and collect add very little to the charges. It is convenient and fast.

Here is what one enterprising retailer, I saw who set it up.

The owner told me here, due to the success he is having with it, they intend to continue this once the lockdown ends.

My advice is to try these items and see what happens simply. You can also make adjustments as you go on, if it does not work you can stop it.

 

 

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Australia Post

If you are going to to use Australia Post as a delivery agent if you require your goods to arrive by Christmas, then you better send it now. Even with Express post would be the latest you could send it. When I rang up on behalf of my clients, I was told the bushfires would not be an issue, and then they referred me to this calculator here

Of course, the claimed delivery schedules and actual arrivals do not always agree.

I would suggest that you set our software delivery options to reflect this. 

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Tracking delivery monitoring

Order tracking allows your customers to know where their order from you are at any time from when you shipped it till when it is delivered. There are many reasons for that, for example, the customer wants to know

  • Has their order been sent?
  • Where is their order right now?
  • When is it expected to be delivered?
  • Has it been delivered?

The last point sounds a bit weird, but we have had clients that tell us that customers have rung them up querying when an order arrives that has already been delivered.

So one service that is getting very popular is that we can provide our clients who use delivery agents a tracking service where your customers can monitor the progress of their delivery from your shop.

What happens is that you send your client an email which its appearance can be customised to match your shop. In this email is a tracking ID and widget. This takes them to a web page.

This web page looks very professional. It is optimised so if they are looking at it for computer desktop, a tablet or mobile it will look good. They can read this page in a vast number of languages which is great if you are dealing with tourist.

Using this you and your customer can track the progress of the goods that you are sending them. 

You can also add advertising to the tracking page which is great as people who are interested in where their goods do read the tracking documentation.

There is a cost associated with this service but it is well worth if you use a lot of delivery agents to deliver goods from your store.

The other benefit is that you get a rating of how each delivery agent is doing plus you can track the items too.

If you are interested let me know.

As far as I know, we are the only ones in our market space to provide such a service integrated if you are thinking of a website, its a must.

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Australia Post

If you intend to use Australia Post as a delivery agent if you require your goods to arrive by Christmas. These would be the latest you could send it.

If you're sending in Australia by Express Post network, you need to send your items before 1 pm Friday 21 December 2018. If you’re sending the items overseas this year, you need to send them today if you want to use their standard delivery, and by Monday 17 December 2018 for Express delivery. 

Of course, delivery schedules and actual arrivals do not always agree.


 

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