EPoS, E-commerce, Mobile, Websites, Graphic Design
In November 2014 we sent out an email newsletter, which highlighted the potential pitfalls of being under prepared for the busy Christmas season. One of our ‘Top Tips’ included having reliable couriers as part of your order fulfillment program and although aren’t able to offer recommendations for specific couriers to use, we hope you manged to get through the ‘silly season’ unscathed.
Unfortunately, Christmas 2014 was a particularly rough time for the parcel delivery industry, with the announcement that City Link were being placed into administration, leaving 2,356 staff out of work. Whilst this isn’t something that we would like to have predicted, it does highlight the importance of having 2 or possibly even 3 courier companies on your list of preferred suppliers. It’s also why Sparkstone offers multiple carrier integration modules with our Ecommerce solutions including Royal Mail (Parcelforce), DPD and Yodel all as standard.
Having a selection of couriers for your customers to choose from not only helps to improve their perceived level of customer service but it could also help your bottom line. By having the option to use different companies for different types of products and for different locations (national and international), you can seriously improve your margin on low value goods or on baskets with multiple items of varying size and value that could require increased insurance or specialist delivery services.
November 2014 saw retailers enjoying their biggest sales growth in over 5 years, with sales continuing to soar in the weeks before and after Christmas. Much of that growth was seen in the home electricals sector, so for those particular retailers having a delivery partner who can handle large, bulky items was essential. Meanwhile the unusually warm whether resulted in increased footfall for many UK high streets. This helped to boost in-store sales and softened the blow from decreased online clothing sales. It’s these type of external factors, which make having a reliable delivery service an essential part of every retailer’s business model.
By using Sparkstone you can offer not only the best solution for your customers, but also the solution which allows for maximum profit with minimum fuss. Actually having the option to use more than one carrier, also gives you greater clout when setting up your contracts with different providers. Obviously we’re not advocating any sort of ‘retail cartel’ approach to getting courier costs down, but just because companies like City Link have gone to the wall, doesn’t mean that retailers should follow suit because of disproportionate costs. So continuing with our Top Tip from November, why not use this New Year to spring clean your delivery structure – throw out the poor performers and overly expensive companies, and replace them with a selection of agile, cost effective and possibly smaller courier firms who can be more flexible to your needs and budget. After years of punishing cost increases for courier firms such as fuel and vehicle insurance, the recent and ongoing dip in fuel costs make this the ideal time to fix or cap your own contracts for the next 12 months.