Delivery services updates: Reviews, pricing, customer options

An image with the text the delivery services updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guideWhat’s in our Delivery Services updates hub?

Delivery services updates: What’s the latest news?


FEBRUARY 2016 – Market entrants
Amazon is quietly inviting drivers for its new “on-demand” delivery service to handle its standard packages, as it looks to speed up delivery times and tamp down its growing multi-billion dollar logistics bill – Yahoo Finance.


FEBRUARY 2016 – More market entrants
Europe’s postal companies, already under pressure from Amazon, could soon face a challenge from Uber, which is moving into deliveries – Reuters.


FEBRUARY 2016 – Warehouse expansion plans
Royal Mail rivals DPD and Hermes step up parcel delivery competition with warehouse expansion plans – Financial Times.

Reviews: Which delivery service is best?

For parcels up to 1kg, the consensus seems to be that Royal Mail is the best service, however for heavier parcels, various others come recommended. It is also recommended that you get to know your local staff, both those collecting parcels and the individuals working at the local depot. Good (or poor) staff can be found across different providers and could drastically change your experiences with certain couriers.

Paul Norman, Director at OrangeTree Online, comments:

“We use DPD and Fedex, depending where in the world the parcel is going. That works well for shoeboxes! [With] smaller packages, frankly, the Post Office [is] going to be the cheapest. Avoid Yodel ([which suffers] volume-related meltdowns) and myHermes, unless you don’t mind refunding items for taking a long time to arrive.”

UKBF forum member RogerBa says:

“[We] used to use UPS and their service is excellent, however, surcharges for residential deliveries made them too costly as our business is both B2B and B2C.”

Ian Dade, Project Manager at StoreFeeder, shares some interesting internal stats:

“As a fulfilment house we use a wide variety of carriers as you would expect. I would say that domestically, 75% of our parcels go via Royal Mail services, be that 24/48 service, Recorded or Tracked. This tends to be true for parcels up to around 1.25kg, then it is more cost-effective to use a parcel carrier for us.

“80% of our parcel carrier traffic is sent via DPD. We have used a number of carriers over the years and DPD’s customer service is great. The other 20% goes through a company called 13ten, which utilises MyHermes and Yodel. This is generally for low value, 2-3 day delivery parcels”

Website rating service TrustPilot has a Parcel Service category. Here are the services that have garnered more than 4,000 reviews from consumers (mainly parcel recipients but also senders) and their Trustscore out of 10:

Pricing: What do delivery services cost?

As Shopify points out in its US-focused beginner’s guide to ecommerce fulfillment, it can be tricky to compare the price of services exactly because of the variables involved, such as:

  • Package Size
  • Package Weight
  • Departing Country
  • Destination Country
  • Tracking
  • Insurance

Depending on what stage you are at with your ecommerce business, maybe consider setting up a business account for additional benefits, e.g. Royal Mail, UK Mail’s ipostparcels Pro or Yodel.

For packages up to 750g, most people seem to recommend sticking to Royal Mail, with prices ranging from £2.80 – c. £44 within the UK depending on weight, volume and compensation amount.

There are a number of comparison sites/brokers including ParcelHero.com, My Parcel Delivery, Parcel2go and Parcel Monkey.

Back in June 2014, Shopify Builder took a look at ways UK businesses can save money on delivery costs.

Which delivery service options should I offer my customers?

An Econsultancy survey found that 50% of respondents had abandoned a purchase online due to unsatisfactory delivery options – options clearly matter to conversion rates.

As popularised by the ecommerce 800-pound gorilla Amazon, free shipping for the consumer is one road you might go down, though of course that will involve swallowing cost and reducing margins.

Shopify explores the possibility of real-time carrier rates or a flat delivery rate as options for customers.

There are a number of premium delivery options customers might expect to see including:

  • Fixed-date delivery
  • Pick up points
  • Same or next day delivery
  • Shorter delivery windows, e.g. 2-4 hour slots

Econsultancy looks at a range of examples of where businesses can put delivery cost information on sites to reduce cart abandonment – surprise, surprise, Amazon leads the pack.

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Thomas Quillfeldt

Thomas Quillfeldt

Editor, eCommerce Insights

February 19, 2016

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