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The importance of a multi-carrier delivery strategy

By a contributor   
December 07, 2021

By Simon Wright - Marketing Manager at Parcelhub

The average e-commerce business not only sells across multiple channels, but they also have hundreds or even tens of thousands of product lines and SKUs. Each of these product types will attract different customer segments with different behaviors, purchase patterns, degrees of urgency, and with product diversification comes value differential.

With so many variables at play, for a retailer to rely on a single carrier to take care of their urgent, non-urgent, domestic, international, lightweight packets, shoebox-sized parcels, and in some cases, 2-man deliveries, would be inefficient. Some carriers’ core competencies lie within shipping lightweight packets and parcels fast throughout the UK, whereas others, for example, are better geared up to distributing bulky items across the pond.

This is where it makes sense to deploy a wide range of carriers, tailored to your current and ideal future customers’ preferences, bespoke to your product range. At Parcelhub we interviewed 1000 consumers and 100 mid-market retailers back in 2020 and found the delivery landscape is increasing in complexity as consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands for flexible delivery services. Larger retailers have the size and scale to be able to adapt to these needs but smaller retailers do not have the critical mass to be able to directly manage these complex carrier relationships.

In this research, we found only 61% of mid-market retailers offer next-day delivery and only 25% offer tailored in-flight delivery windows. With the introduction of in-flight options to increasingly premium mainstream carriers such as Hermes Digital Futures and Yodel Xpect, retailers are able to more easily offer the tailored in-flight options consumers demand, without this impacting their bottom line.

More recently, in a 2021 study by Parcelhub and Brightpearl, we found 66% of merchants surveyed offer next-day delivery, showing some growth of 5% from the year before. While free and next-day delivery are the biggest influences on consumers’ purchasing decisions, how important is diversification of delivery options?

Although (73%) of merchants believe they are offering enough delivery options, one-third do not offer next-day delivery, the most popular option for consumers. The same issue exists when considering the top five in-flight delivery options consumers would like to see available:

Consumers’ Top 5 delivery options and percentage of retailers that currently do not offer them – from The Retail Expectation Gap, 2021

  • SMS Notifications - 56%
  • Safe Place Nominated - 62%
  • 1 Hour Delivery Window - 83%
  • 2 Hour Delivery Window – 83%
  • Preferred Neighbour Options - 71%

With many retailers not currently offering these delivery options, this presents an opportunity for merchants to differentiate against competitors.



How Parcelhub can help you offer greater e-commerce delivery options

At Parcelhub we give retailers access to 600+ delivery options via 20+ carrier partners, all through our free multi-carrier delivery management platform. Integrating easily with your order management system, you can benefit from accelerated label production, a single collection regardless of carrier choice, and our proactive technology.

What makes Parcelhub different from other delivery management providers At Parcelhub we are more than a delivery management solution. We have a team of specialists who can act as an extension of your customer service team, taking care of delivery-related customer queries, as part of your team. At Parcelhub we are dedicated to enhancing your customers’ delivery experience. Our in-house Enhanced Delivery Management team takes tracking-related queries away from your customer services team, while our ticketing platform provides merchants with full transparency of how we are dealing with your tracking queries, increasing the likelihood of you receiving positive feedback across your sales channels.

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