Shopify is a great platform for selling goods worldwide, but with a few apps and clever integrations you can be a hometown hero in no time! From in-store pickups and returns, to store locaters and on-demand delivery, here are some tips for keeping your local business thriving.
In-Store Pickup and Local Delivery
There's a really excellent Shopify App called Store Pickup + Delivery that will provide you with everything you need to offer your customers local pickup and delivery options. It fully integrates with your Shopify checkout process so there's no fiddly hacks that could lead to errors and even worse: angry customers. You'll be able to set parameters based on weight and price, automatically offering the right fulfillment options as to not leave your customers guessing. Your locations can be set as delivery-only or pick-up only to ensure your business operates as smoothly as possible. To top it all off you can set delivery windows, the number of deliveries possible in those windows, and even blackout dates. There's far more to the app than we've touched on here, but needless to say it is all encompassing. It even offers Zapier integration so you can unlock some extremely powerful automation with other platforms you utilize.
On-Demand Delivery and Local Fulfillment
The example above assumes that you'll be handling your deliveries on your own, but don't fret! You have options with on-demand courier services and even the big-time shipping players such as FedEX and USPS.
Shopify offers two integrations with on-demand delivery services. Those being Postmates and UberRUSH. Both options enable you to have couriers pick up orders from your warehouse or storefront and have them delivered to your customers that same day. This is the future of local commerce as companies like Amazon push ever closer to near-instantaneous delivery. Since these are Shopify-supported integrations it means you'll have an easy time setting them up and only customers within valid shipping zones will see the options for this type of fulfillment.
Speaking of shipping zones, if you only want to ship to certain states or territories, Shopify will let you do this with great ease. Whether you can't justify long-distance shipping because of cost, perishable goods, or certain legal restrictions, this is the key to making sure you don't ship to places your business simply can't. Shipping Zones are also a great way to employ the major fulfillment services mentioned above for your local business. You can set things on a very macro level and define shipping zones where you only want to offer on-demand services, and others that can only utilize USPS or FedEx.
Making Your Store Discoverable Online and Offline
Once you're all set up to handle local e-commerce, you'll need to make sure your customers can find you! This requires some best practices in local SEO, but also a good store locator on your website.
There's a really great checklist available to help you optimize for local SEO. It covers nearly every avenue of ensuring that you make your business searchable online. If you follow everything listed you'll have tackled social media, proper search listings, submission to local directories, and more! You'll also find links to each topic with tips on how to get each one done.
When it comes to helping your customers find your store locations, there's a really great Shopify App from Bold, simply called Store Locator App. The app is fully integrated with Google Maps and offers you drag & drop functionality so you can add your locations with ease. It's fully customizable, allowing you to keep everything on-brand. It supports unlimited locations and searchable filters so you can categorize your locations based on their special services such as being pickup-only or open 24-hours. Integrating this into your shop will also let your customers get directions to your stores with ease! Following our recommendations outlined here will make you a local e-commerce pro in no time.