Creating your delivery zones

Best practice for creating delivery zones

What does a good delivery & pick up schedule look like? 

Naturally, when your store starts to offer delivery it can be tempting to think: 'let's make the schedule work for us', 'let's start small, because we aren’t getting many orders yet', and 'when is the van available anyway?'.

This is a vicious cycle, if your schedule is business-oriented and not customer-oriented, then it will not suit your shopper's needs! If you plan to start small and then grow it as volume increases, in reality the volume will never come because your service isn’t convenient.  You need to cast the widest net possible when you offer online delivery, and the convenience to your business needs to come second to the convenience of your customer.

So, what does 'good' look like initially and where should you start? 


Delivery catchments

Understand what your Primary, Secondary & Tertiary catchments are, as this will determine the frequency you go to these areas. For example, Primary could be 10-15 mins from the store, Secondary could be 15-30 mins and Tertiary would be over 30 mins away.

Primary Catchment

  • 7 day availability is important to truly compete. Essentially if your existing store is open for shopping 7 days a week, online delivery shouldn’t be any different. 

  • Have a mix of morning, afternoon and evening delivery times throughout the week and make sure the weekend has at least one morning and evening option. This provides customers options and flexibility, whilst ensuring you as a business are casting your net wide enough that it will suit the majority of customers. 

  • Cut off times for 'same day' delivery - for morning deliveries ideally the evening before, or very early morning of that day.  For evening deliveries they will ideally close off at around midday. This is very attractive to customers and allows them to build an easy routine of shop tonight for tomorrow or shop this morning for this evening. 

  • Slots ideally should be between 2-3 hours wide, eg: 4:30-7pm.


Secondary Catchment

  • 4-5 day availability (minimum) spread across the week

  • A mixture of morning, afternoon and evening slots, with a minimum of 1 weekend day, is ideal here to give the customer the option of midweek and a weekend.

  • For same day delivery, where possible try to have a similar setup to your primary catchment. 

  • Slots ideally should be between 2-3 hours wide, eg: 4:30-7pm.


Tertiary Catchment

  • 2-3 days a week availability is ideal, but could be less if the area is remote.

  • At least one morning and evening delivery is recommended and ideally one of your delivery days is a weekend day.

  • Same day delivery is not expected for these zones but avoid having more than 24 hours cut off between order and delivery. 

  • Slots ideally should be between 2-4 hours wide, eg: 4-8pm



Pick Up (Click & Collect)

When planning your pick up schedule it's important to consider what the store logistics are and what you can physically hold. Use staggered order cut off times and multiple ordering windows to your advantage:

Allow your customers hourly pick up windows all day, during your store opening hours. This gives you ability to stagger your cut off times and spread orders out across the day, and ensure you have space in store for your orders.  Customers also like hourly windows as they feel they can choose when they want it, when in reality you will have it ready far earlier, and it will be waiting for them. 

Same day ordering beyond midday is generally recommended for in store pick up, as there isn’t the logistics of delivery involved.