Online businesses have become even more popular than ever in the last few years. However, there’s particularly been explosive growth in the area of online food delivery.

This area was moving forward in leaps and bounds before the global pandemic hit. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength as increasing numbers of consumers have become comfortable getting food delivered to their doorstep.

If you’re keen to start your own venture in 2021 or beyond and think a food delivery model may be the right option for you, here are some top tips to consider as you get started.

Research the Competition

First, learn as much as you can about your competition. Research other businesses with similar models in your area and those beyond that deliver in the locations you plan to service. Find out exactly how they work, the processes customers go through to get food delivered, the fees charged, the types of food delivered, and the suburbs delivered to.

Check out the platform or websites your competitors use and the type of content and language they use. Discover how long deliveries take, where these businesses market and how, and the kinds of customer service they provide. Also, who do your competitors target? Who are their prime customers, and are these people the same ones you want to sell to? The more information you have, the better you can position your brand.

Learn About the Market in Your Area(s)

Similarly, your market research should involve investigating who the best audience will be for what you want to offer. Find out about the customers you think will be keen to use your services and how they live and work. Determine the core age range of your prime target market and details related to socioeconomic status, family life, hobbies and interests, and other needs and wants.

You also need to work out if there’s enough of a market in the area you want to target to make your business idea viable. It’s all well and good knowing people in the vicinity are keen to have food delivered to them, but there needs to be enough of them to give you the cash flow you require to make your company a success long term.

Find a Point of Difference

All the info you learn from research will make it easier to work out a point of difference for your online food delivery service. To ensure your venture stands out from the competition and engages consumer interest, you need a unique selling proposition (USP).

This phrase refers to whatever it is your business does that others don’t, such as enabling people to order a different type of cuisine or targeting a specific customer base currently being ignored. You might have an order platform that works like no other or create branding and marketing that truly stands out. You could cater to vegans or those eating only gluten-free or dairy-free diets or specialize in delivering food that makes kids’ eyes light up.

On the other hand, your USP may revolve around something your business doesn’t do, such as charge a certain type of fee, make customers wait too long for deliveries, or take too long to respond to customer service questions or complaints. Your point of difference should be something only your business can boast and capitalize on.

Consider Packaging and Delivery

The way food gets delivered to clients is incredibly critical too. People don’t want to receive goods that have been dinged or otherwise damaged in transit. They also want to receive hot food that’s still nice and toasty warm, or cool or cold items that haven’t melted or otherwise heated up too much. As such, make sure you investigate how to get the right packaging and delivery tools for your business needs.

For example, you might need to buy gel packs, insulated containers, refrigerant solutions, or a quality temperature indicator to place on parcels in transit to ensure temperatures stay at the ideal level. Other factors to consider are how to stack deliveries in vans or trucks so you fit the maximum amount in and items don’t move too much. You may need to work out the best time of day or night to deliver packages to make food last longer, too.

These are some of the key things to work out as you develop your online food delivery business idea. Other facets to investigate include the platform or website you use, best marketing avenues, and the types of permits and licenses you require to trade. Do your homework early on, and you’ll give yourself much more chance of success later.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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