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Holiday parcel delivery concerns: from shipping air to ETD

Holiday parcel delivery concerns: from shipping air to ETD
Holiday parcel delivery concerns: from shipping air to ETD

With the festive season around the corner and shipping fees set to kick in in a few days, many retailers are scratching their heads over how to improve last-mile delivery. 

One of the critical factors retailers are thinking about this peak season is to give customers certainty of the delivery date of parcels.  It’s no longer “fast shipping, for fast shipping’s sake.” 

Customers choose the correct delivery date, not the fastest necessary. Instead, they choose which option will work best when they are at home to receive it. “I might not be home in two days. It might sit on the porch, or it might sit in the mail. It might disappear. Because of that, consumers are very nervous about which package will be delivered,” says Vijay Ramachandran from Pitney Bowes, a global shipping and mailing company. 

Locate2u CEO Steve Orenstein says what often happens is that people running their fleet or their drivers can give customers the exact estimated delivery time of their parcel. “This is easy because they can control the infrastructure and drivers’ actions. They control the number of deliveries daily inside those time windows. Where someone’s using a third party for that kind of makes it depend on how sophisticated that third-party carrier is.”

Orenstein says investing in software that can tell customers when the parcel will be delivered is a huge advantage. And it’s not even expensive. “Any business can be doing this.”

How to avoid ‘shipping air’

Several e-commerce owners nowadays are looking at ways to package their products smaller to cut unnecessary shipping costs. For oddly shaped products, it means the smaller you can get a package, the less air you are shipping and the more money you are saving. 

“One of our clients in the New York area that sells very unusual products in a marketplace format had automation doing all of their packing, creating the packages, and cutting it to size. The problem with the automation was that it was cutting the length at variable sizes. Still, the width was consistently the same for every product they ship,” explains Ramachandran.

“It meant that even though they had automation (packaging their product), they were shipping air almost every time. It was the uniform width of the package. As a result, they were paying higher parcel shipping rates,” says Ramachandran, speaking at an online webinar hosted by Industry Dive. 

Returning to the manual packaging model, the company cut its packaging costs and saved more than 10%.

Retailers’ parcel concerns

The costs of serving customers are always the number one priority. It’s the brand identity, and if you have a loyal customer base, you have to spend extra to keep them coming back. 

“The way to minimize the cost is to look for how can I create opportunities to offer grounds shipping alternatives not having to focus on express shipping,” says Ramachandran. He also says at the same time, you want to maintain that delivery certainty still. “For many, that means moving inventory closer to the customer and multiple fulfillment centers. That allows you to create more certainty on the estimated delivery date time the package doesn’t travel far.”

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand. Do you have a story you would like her to expose, report on, or consider? Please send your request to Newsdesk@locate2u.com.

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