Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for flexible delivery

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for flexible delivery

Parcelhub, a provider of multi-carrier delivery management and proactive tracking support, has surveyed 100 UK B2B and B2C mid-market retailers to understand how they are responding to the demands customers place on them for flexible delivery options.

The key findings:

Delivery timescale: 68% offer 48-hour delivery and 61% offer next day delivery

Purchase return option: only 55% offer returns as standard

Customer flexibility: 51% offer leave parcel in a safe place; 31% offer Collect+, only 25% offer tailored delivery windows

Delivery management: 40% use a third-party delivery company with 60% working directly with carriers

Carrier choice: 37% Royal Mail; 35% Hermes; 22% Parcelforce, 20% DHL, 20% DPD

Carrier satisfaction: 88% are satisfied with carrier collections and 83% with delivery service

Customer acquisition: 56% offer free returns; 46% offer free delivery; 31% loyalty points; 22% free international shipping; 12% friend referrals; 13% none

Delivery developments: 41% will adopt a green focus; 35% will offer additional delivery options; 29% a returns solution; 27% proactive tracking technology; 24% introduce new delivery regions; 13% outsourced fulfilment

Customer service: 69% struggle to manage their customer service queries to the required level

Ticketing software: 51% use ticketing software, of which 72% measure the impact of failed deliveries to control costs and improve customer service and retention

Customer service investment: 39% plan to expand internal customer service operations; 32% invest in AI; 29% in customer experience management; 24% outsourcing customer service operations; 18% none

International operations: 47% deliver to both the UK and internationally

Challenges to international delivery: 33% uncompetitive delivery costs; 19% introducing new marketplaces as channels; 14% overheads; 12% language barriers

Marketplaces: 55% use Amazon; 48% eBay; 17% own website

Item tracking: 90% believe they have good parcel tracking visibility with 72% considering outsourcing delivery tracking to a third party, with those who already use a carrier management company, 84% are willing to outsource tracking to a third party

Order management: 29% use a multi-channel order management system, of which 95% consider the process efficient

Commenting on the findings, Simon Wright Marketing Manager Parcelhub said: “Our research shows that the delivery landscape is increasing in complexity as consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for flexible delivery services. Larger retailers have the size and scale to be able to adapt to these needs but smaller retailers do not have the critical mass to be able to directly manage these complex carrier relationships.

“At Parcelhub we are well placed to work with mid-market retailers who are looking to diversify their delivery capabilities yet want to do so within one carrier management system and outsource customer service. Our research shows this is exactly what mid-market retailers are looking for with 69% struggling to manage their customer service queries and 84% are willing to outsource the delivery tracking component of their customer service to a third party; this means our unique offering is really relevant and has broad appeal.”

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