B2C Couriers: finding the right delivery partner

Many online retailers underestimate the impact poor delivery partners have on their bottom line, their businesses brand, the likelihood for a consumer to repurchase and their reputation in the market.

When customer orders are placed, it’s not always a smooth journey from thereon in. Each and every order is exposed to potential logistical problems that can ultimately have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. These problems are typically:

  1. Product damage (or poor quality)
  2. A delay in despatch
  3. A delay in delivery

While 1 & 2 are under the control of the retailer, 3 is generally reliant on the performance of the courier.

Doing a little research, understanding what couriers are on the market and more importantly, understanding their differentiators, can go a long way to finding a good logistics partner.

As the web increasingly becomes the go-to marketplace for consumers worldwide, carriers are responding to this demand with a diverse range of service options – each with different strategies. Retailers today are becoming more demanding too. With so many courier companies on the market, each company has to step up its game in order to remain competitive.

These are some of the industry drivers behind a growing range of courier offerings:

  1. Speed – With the emergence of fast fashion and a growing need for prescription drugs, cost is less of an obstacle. Consumers and retailers expect their goods faster than ever before.
  2. Value – Products are getting more costly, therefore there is more demand for high security transportation for products such as IT hardware and mobile phones.
  3. Fragile items – There is a growing need for handling more fragile goods, such as wine.
  4. Volume – High volume retailers typically require a combination of competitive pricing and service reliability.
  5. Coverage – Businesses with a larger regional focus have a different set of requirements than retailers who predominantly service the metro areas.
  6. Bulk purchases – The increased purchase volume by consumers means that courier companies cater for this through a wide variety of pricing options.
  7. Item tracking – Typically used by carriers of high cost technology products, item tracking is a good idea in remote regional areas where third party agents are often involved and telecommunication coverage is at a minimum.
  8. And of course reliability – If the customer expects a delivery within a prescribed time, that has to be achieved.

In reality, as a retailer you’ll probably take into account several of the above. You may even need to consider several logistics partners, so that all your clients are properly serviced, in a cost-effective way.

The trick is, to understand the subtle differences offered by each carrier, so that you can make a well-informed decision. Be sure to look for things such as their policies for not being able to deliver first-time. For high value items, a card approach is obviously a better option than your items being left at the gate. Decide what’s important and then start researching your options.

If you would to know more information about how to improve your distribution strategy to generate more revenue phone us on 1300 727 347 or send us an email.

Steve Hambridge is a process improvement and cost management specialist backed by years of proven experience who more recently has been working with a range on online retailers. He has been instrumental in helping countless business save hundreds of thousands of dollars and improve their customer loyalty and repeat purchase through his improvement strategies. Read about how Steve was able to save one of his clients a whopping 23%!