The battle between online and in-store shopping is changing the way we purchase products. Moreover, it’s changing the way we receive these purchased goods. Research suggests that UK shoppers are more likely to shop online for goods than in-store, the reason being that online shopping provides customers with more choice, the ability to compare prices easily and indeed cheaper prices altogether
…all from the comfort of their own home. However, when there is an increase in online purchases, there is the consequence of a rise in delivery demands. Retailers such as Amazon and fashion company Pretty Little Thing have even introduced ‘Same Day Delivery’ in areas such as major cities, including Greater London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Cardiff and others. Whilst not all companies are currently able to offer this same-day service, customers’ needs are being prioritised and the online market is still expected to grow by over 15% by 2022. FORWARDER investigates the most recent demands from our basket-buyers and how they are affecting the UK courier. Based on recent research performed by Royal Mail**, here are the patterns that seem to be occurring with our brown-boxed deliveries…
Whether you’re buying or selling a product, you want to make sure your parcel arrives as efficiently as possible. Apparently, as customers, we also want it delivered for free. Statistics suggest that there is a common attitude towards free delivery, with 44% of online shoppers expecting free delivery, and 35% expecting to spend a maximum of £20 to qualify for free delivery. Furthermore, customers admitted that if their free delivery expectations are not met, some would wait for a free delivery offer before pressing the checkout button, with others abandoning their cart entirely.
The trust seems to be in tracking when it comes to parcel deliveries. Whether it’s checking courier updates online or signing up to SMS notifications, 61% of shoppers want to know when their item has been dispatched and 65% also want progress updates throughout the journey. The ease of refreshing an app or checking emails gives customers a feeling of control over their packages, knowing exactly when it leaves the warehouse, all the way up to the ring of the doorbell.
Whilst the majority of parcels are delivered by courier services such as Royal Mail, Hermes, DPD and Yodel, self-employed courier drivers are an alternative method of delivering a parcel. Known as ‘lifestyle couriers’, it is estimated that 5–7%* of UK logistics workers are self-employed courier drivers. Lifestyle couriers tend to have previous courier experience and may choose to work at weekends as an extra source of income. With the rise and demand of online purchases, some lifestyle couriers deliver around 70 parcels a day from the back of their car.
Flexibility in ordering a parcel is key for both customers and retailers, especially when technology allows us to shop ‘on the go’. The majority of online purchases are made on a laptop (58%), but it has been recorded that 39% of UK mobile shoppers make their purchases via smartphone or tablet on a weekly basis. 71% of those who use their mobile or tablet to shop online claim they use it when travelling, and 55% admit to purchasing their goods whilst at work. But it’s not just the flexibility of ordering our purchases that’s important: it’s in how we can receive our parcels. Couriers now offer an array of delivery options: home delivery, a neighbour’s house, click & collect, Amazon Locker – our options are broader than ever, and methods such as click & collect and Amazon Locker also provide free delivery.
From start to finish, our retailers and courier services are keeping up with the demands of click-happy customers.
No doubt the demands will become higher and courier services will be under pressure to deliver an even more ‘express’ service. Alternative methods are already being tested, such as drone deliveries, where Amazon claim they can deliver parcels up to 5lbs in weight via drone within 30 minutes. Private jet? One-hour delivery? I wonder what delivery options will be next.
Rachel Jefferies, Editor, FORWARDER magazine
**Royal Mail statistics taken from Understanding the needs of online shoppers in the UK 2017