Parcel delivery is a multi-billion dollar business. After all, we are having more and more items delivered. Sit back, select your groceries for next week, order gifts in comfort and send everything back if you don’t like it. Logistics is in motion like no other industry. But parcel services also reach limits. Online commerce is still booming in 2018 and online shopping is part of daily life for many consumers. In the future, more and more packages will have to find their way from online stores to customers. Meeting increasing customer demands for service and convenience while providing good solutions for merchants and service providers is a clear challenge. It is not easy to reconcile the gigantic shipping volumes, the driver shortage and the right to delivery to the front door.
- Customers are placing increasingly higher demands on shipping and delivery
- Package delivered late or damaged
- Flexibility beats speed in delivery
- Reduced accessibility of customers is a challenge
- Up to the front door: is that responsible?
- Central collection point offers a solution
Customers are placing increasingly higher demands on shipping and delivery
Shipping and delivery are, in addition to the actual product service that online stores offer, the strongest means of customer loyalty. This may include matters such as:
- punctuality of delivery;
- being able to track the shipment (‘track and trace’);
- choice of delivery options;
- reliability of stated delivery times.
Consumer demands continue to rise. Punctual and transparent delivery alone cannot make online shoppers more enthusiastic . The logistics of parcel delivery is becoming an increasing challenge for parcel services, with an increasing emphasis on flexibility.
Package delivered late or damaged
Parcel services are constantly confronted with complaints, for example when packages arrive late, damaged or are not delivered at all. What rights do consumers have in such a situation? The basic principle is that packets must be delivered directly to the addressee or to a neighbor. Delivery to the door or in the stairwell is not permitted. If the neighbor receives the package, the actual recipient must be notified with a readable card.
Exclusions in general terms and conditions of parcel services
Customers are not entitled to delivery within a certain time. This is usually stated in the general terms and conditions of parcel services. Liability for damage or loss is also usually limited by the general terms and conditions of parcel services.
Flexibility beats speed in delivery
Online shoppers expect more and more service, including shipping and delivery:
- If the customer expects not to be at home during delivery, he wants to be flexible in deciding what happens next with his order. Ideally with an alternative delivery time;
- Transparency is also crucial in delivery. The customer wants to be informed about his order anytime and anywhere;
- Easy returns are also a requirement: online shoppers want to be able to return items quickly and easily.
Reduced accessibility of customers is a challenge
Online shoppers prefer to receive their orders at home, but they actually receive less than two-thirds of the packages there. Wish and reality differ:
- due to full-time jobs, the majority of customers can only be found at home in the evening;
- fast-paced lifestyle: busy jobs, consumers are on the road a lot and spend little time at home.
People have therefore diligently looked for alternatives to delivery to the front door. Convenience does not necessarily have to be lost with alternative delivery methods. Delivery to the workplace and central collection points can provide a solution.
Up to the front door: is that responsible?
As much as we love having packages shipped these days, the annoyance about poor service is just as common. Environmental factors also play a role. How harmful is sending packages? Wouldn’t we be better off going to the store around the corner? In any case, consumers should expect that delivery to their doorstep will one day cost more than collection from a parcel store. About 60 percent of the costs in parcel delivery are responsible for the so-called last mile, i.e. the delivery to the front door.
Central collection point offers a solution
No other company in logistics is growing as quickly as parcel delivery. This poses increasing challenges for courier and parcel services. How can they deliver orders correctly and on time to their destination with overcrowded roads and driving bans in inner cities? One option concerns parcel stores. These are central delivery points where not only shipments from one specific parcel service can be collected, but also deliveries from competitors. The aim of the parcel services is to reduce the number of home deliveries and to bundle the delivery of parcels in such stores.
Central collection points as a standard option for major parcel deliverers
In 2018, many online stores and parcel deliverers already offer the option of having ordered items delivered to a central collection point. Customers can then decide for themselves when they will collect the ordered item. Collection points that are open longer are particularly popular. Central collection points are a standard option for major parcel delivery companies. As an example:
- Postnl has more than 2,850 collection locations in our country and approximately 800 locations in Belgium. There is always one nearby, including at Albert Heijn, Bruna and Jumbo;
- The parcel delivery company GLS has approximately 700 ‘GLS Parcel Shops’ where customers can collect their parcels. GLS offers this service in a wide variety of stores according to a ‘shop-in-shop system’. Once the package has arrived at the selected Package Shop, the customer will receive a message by text message or email. Some of those parcel shops are also open in the evenings;
- Parcel delivery company DHL offers the option of receiving parcels via a ‘DHL Serv icePoint’ nearby. This could include supermarkets or gas stations. DHL will of course also let you know with a message when the package has arrived.