Local Businesses, Step Up Your Game with Delivery Time Picker at Checkout

18 min read

Restaurants, grocers, and all local businesses, listen up!

We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of a new, much-anticipated tool for your merchant toolkit. Now you can ask your customers for their preferred delivery date and time at checkout:

Choosing a pickup date and time has been available for in-store purchases for some time already. But when we saw the same need for local delivery, we decided to make it available for both! Now your customers can choose a convenient delivery date and time in a couple of clicks, no matter how they order from your store.

Our delivery time picker has rich setting details that cater to the needs of any business — from pizza places and bakeries, to flower shops and farms. You can set both day and time slots for when you’re available to deliver orders. You can also take into account the time you need to prepare and order for delivery.

Our new tool makes it easier than ever for you to prepare and deliver orders on time. It also simplifies purchasing for your customers, which we hope will mean more orders for your store.

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How You Can Benefit from Delivery Time Picker

Since the start of the pandemic, local delivery has been a lifesaver both for businesses and customers alike. To help maintain social distance, people have been using delivery for ordering everything from groceries and household goods to takeout food and holiday gifts.

Of course, it didn’t take long for consumers to realize that getting an order delivered right to your doorstep is convenient — with or without a pandemic going on.

Customers have come to expect a certain level of service from local businesses: they want their orders on time — and often as fast as possible. They want to know when to expect their order — or  better yet, to be able to choose when it’s delivered.

Now you, as a small business with local delivery, can provide that service — with a little help from Ecwid E-commerce.

With the datepicker, there’s no need for a customer to contact you with details about their local delivery: they’ll be able to choose their delivery time right from their checkout. You’ll see their chosen date and time in the order details, and be able to plan out a route for your deliveries accordingly.

Our delivery time picker is handy in all kinds of situations. Here are some examples:

  • Groceries need to be delivered when the customer is at home — allow them to choose the same-day delivery and their preferred delivery time.
  • A flower bouquet needs to be delivered on a specific day — allow customers to specify the date.
  • Specify the time it takes to make and deliver a specialty item — like a cake, for example, in your delivery date and time possibilities. This way, customers won’t be able to order from you without giving your crew enough notice to get everything perfectly made and on time.

You can adjust local delivery for cases like the ones above, as well as a ton of other useful scenarios. Specify your business hours, order fulfillment time, and delivery details. Customers will be able to choose only from those dates and times that you specify in your settings.

This tool is a must if you offer local delivery and have availability to deliver orders on specific dates and times.

Our new tool is helpful both for beginner online sellers and those who already have an established delivery routine. The settings are a breeze to work out, and you can change and re-change the specifics to suit your business needs as they evolve.

How to Set Up and Use Delivery Time Picker

You can explore different settings in our delivery time picker to fine-tune it based on your business needs. Let’s explore how to use our delivery time picker in your Ecwid store.

Note: Delivery time picker only works with local delivery options. It’s not enabled automatically. If you’d like to enable it, you need to set it up for each local delivery option you have. You can do that on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page in your Control Panel.

Ask for delivery date and time at checkout

Now your customers can pick a convenient delivery date and time when placing an order in your store. You can adjust the tool to your needs: just specify in the settings which dates and times are available to customers.

Here’s how to start asking for the delivery date and time at checkout:

  1. In your Ecwid Control Panel, go to the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page.
  2. Choose the local delivery method you want to edit, or create a new one following these simple instructions: for the “Local delivery” box, click “+ Add delivery.”
  3. Scroll down to the “Set operating hours” setting click on. Set up days and hours when you’re available to deliver orders.
  4. Scroll down to “Ask for delivery date and time at checkout” and turn it on as well. Choose how you want to limit your delivery time choice — by date or by date and time.

If you pick the “Ask for date and time slot” option, your customers will be able to choose the delivery date and time at checkout using a special form:

Note: Time options are displayed in the timezone you set up on the Regional Settings page of your Control Panel. At checkout, customers will see which timezone is enabled for your store.

Read on to learn how to use the delivery time picker settings to their fullest potential:

Specify delivery time slot length

Get precise with your delivery time by specifying each delivery time slot length.

As you likely know, each online store organizes delivery differently, because each seller has different delivery needs. Some sellers ask for just a delivery date, and decide on the time of delivery themselves. Others get precise and allow customers to choose a specific time, right down to a two-hour — or even 15 minute time slot.

Specify delivery time slot length to allow customers choose the most suitable delivery time for their needs. The shorter your time slot length, the more convenient it is for a customer, as they’ll be able to plan their day according to the arrival of their product.

Just make sure you can actually deliver your orders in time! It’s important not to over-promise to customers. We recommend starting with a larger window of time and narrowing down as you better understand your own delivery processes.

Here’s how to specify delivery time slot length:

  1. When editing your delivery option on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page, scroll down to “Delivery time slot length.”
  2. Choose your delivery time slot length (15 minutes to six hours) depending on the accuracy of your delivery. By default, time slots are set up in one-hour increments.

Let’s say you run a farm and your business is delivering farm-fresh groceries. Delivering each order individually to the nearby city is too expensive, so you decide to batch deliver three times a day. This way, you have enough orders to load up a car and enough time to deliver all your orders without delays or wasted trips.

In this case, you might choose three hour delivery windows as your delivery time slot length. This means that your customers will be able to choose their delivery time from these time slots: 9 am  12 pm, 12 pm  3 pm, 3 pm  6 pm.

Here’s another example: you bake birthday cakes. It’s likely your customers expect to get a cake delivered fresh and just in time for their party. In that case, it might be ideal to set up a 15-minute time slot length to maximize freshness.

Allow (or block) same-day delivery

Now you can enable or disable receiving orders for same-day delivery. Use this setting if you need more time to prepare an order, or if you have to plan the courrier’s route ahead of time.

However, if you can deliver orders the same day they are placed, allow your customers to choose same-day delivery. Usually, customers want to receive their orders as fast as possible, so same-day delivery is a strong competitive advantage.

To avoid delivering orders late into the night (and therefore, becoming the de factor delivery boy when your employees have all gone home), set up a time-cap for placing orders for same-day delivery.

For example, you can stop same-day deliveries an hour or two before you close your store. This way, you can deliver all today’s orders on time and in an appropriate window for your employees.

Here’s how to allow same-day delivery:

  1. When editing your delivery options on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page, enable the “Same-day delivery” setting.
  2. In the “Cutoff for same-day delivery” field, specify the latest time for same-day delivery.

If a customer places their order after the time you specified, they’ll be able to choose a delivery time for the next operating day or later.

For example, if you run a restaurant and the kitchen closes at 18:00, it might be helpful to set 17:00 as a cutoff time for same-day delivery. This ensures that all your orders are prepared and delivered on time.

Specify order fulfillment time

It takes time not only to deliver an order, but also to prepare and package it. In some cases, you need to prepare an order from scratch. For example, if you run a restaurant, it might take 20 minutes to make your signature Caesar salad.

Or, if you sell engraved jewelry, it might take up to several days to make each bracelet. It’s important to take prep time into account to avoid keeping your customers waiting longer than expected.

Here’s our solution: set up order fulfillment time. This is the average time from order placement to its delivery to the customer. The formula is simple: the time it takes you to prepare an order for delivery + your average delivery time.

For example, you need 20 minutes to prepare an order, an hour to hand it over to the customer, and ten minutes as a buffer. Mark 90 minutes as your order fulfillment time and voila! You get your orders to the customer on time, without the stresses of rushing around for delivery.

Here’s how to specify your order fulfillment time:

  1. When editing your delivery option on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page, scroll down to the “Order Fulfillment Time” field.
  2. Specify how many minutes, hours, or business days it takes to fulfill an order.

If you previously chose the “Ask for date only” option, you can only set a fulfillment time in terms of days.

With this feature enabled, customers won’t be able to choose a time or date for the order to be delivered that comes before you are ready for it.

So, that’s all great in theory, but how does order fulfillment time work in practice?

Here’s a quick example to illustrate this tool in action: your cafe delivers from 9:30am-6:30pm, and your order fulfillment time is one hour. If a customer places an order at 4:00pm, you’ll be able to deliver it at around 5:00pm. In this case, the nearest window available for your customer to choose will be 4:30pm — 5:30pm.

This gives you a reasonable window of time to get your order to them, and takes the guesswork out of the delivery process for them.

Ready to get your order out there the moment it’s placed? Leave the “Order Fulfillment Time” field empty.

For restaurants: Blocking orders outside of operating hours

Here’s a bit of a special case — when you don’t want to ask for delivery time and date.

When ordering from a cafe or restaurant, customers expect to get their food as fast as possible. I mean, imagine how angry a customer would be if they ordered pizza at 11pm, and after waiting for an hour found out that the pizza place actually closes at 10 pm, and their pizza won’t get to them until tomorrow.

To avoid misunderstandings like these, just block placing orders outside of your operating hours. Here’s how to do that:

  1. When editing your delivery option on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page, enable the “Set operating hours” setting.
  2. Check off the days and choose the times when deliveries are available. You can choose several blocks of operating hour intervals on the same day.
  3. In the “Order outside of operating hours” dropdown menu, choose “Blocked.”

If customers try to place orders after operating hours, they’ll see their delivery option as unselectable, and a message about the next available time for placing the order.

This option is handy if you don’t need advanced settings for picking a delivery date and time. Or, if you’re okay with contacting customers yourself for their delivery details.

Note: If you set up a date picker for in-store pickup, placing orders outside of operating hours will be allowed by default.

How to Manage Local Delivery Orders

You can see all your orders from the Orders page in your Ecwid Control Panel. That’s where you can change order statuses, see order details, edit and filter orders. If you haven’t done so already, try managing your orders in your Control Panel.

To check the delivery date and time information specified by a customer, go to the Orders page. You’ll see the information about the order delivery time on each order card on that page:

The delivery time selected by your customers will also be displayed in their order details:

To find out which orders you have to fulfill first and which ones can wait, filter local delivery orders by delivery date and time. To do that, click “Filter” and then click “Pickup or delivery date and time”:

You can specify the time range you are looking for, or look for orders coming in in the next 3 hours, 24 hours, on any particular day, or over the next 3 days.

Customers will see the delivery time and date they chose in the Order Confirmation email they receive as soon as their order is confirmed. Customers sometimes forget the exact dates and times they select, so this feature helps them avoid having to contact you directly to confirm a delivery date and time. They can just check their email:

To learn more about local delivery settings, check out our Help Center.

More Tools for Local Businesses

Last year, we added lots of new local delivery tools to make it easier than ever for you to manage local delivery. We hope this also makes the checkout process much smoother for your customers.

You can find new tools in the “Local Delivery” section on the Shipping, Delivery, and Pickup page in the Ecwid Control Panel.

To provide even more options to your local customers, be sure to take advantage of all local delivery tools in your Ecwid store:

We’re constantly adding new tools for local businesses to make your life easier and encourage more sales. Do you have an idea that will make Ecwid even more convenient for local businesses? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments!

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About the author

Anastasia Dmitrieva is a Product Manager at Ecwid during the day and a proud plant mum in her free time.

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So simple to use – even my most technophobic clients can manage. Easy to install, quick to set up. Light years ahead of other shop plugins.
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