How are your carriers coping with Christmas?

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We’ve heard from a number of Tamebay readers that their parcels are being delivered late by carriers this year in peak season. It’s not one particular carrier that’s failing, it’s pretty much across the board according to what we’re hearing.

Amazon TrackingEven the mighty Amazon are failing to match their delivery promises, I’ve two parcels, both of which were scheduled for delivery by Thursday last week the 4th of December, and tracking shows that although they’ve been out for delivery but they’ve still not yet arrived.

I’m not particularly worried because it’s still 18 days to Christmas and I’m pretty sure my parcels will arrive this week. Your customers probably aren’t too worried either, however the concern of many is that if carriers are delivering late, will their seller metrics on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon suffer?

It’s worth remembering that Amazon had to suspend their next day delivery promise even for Prime customers due to their unprecedented amount of sales on Black Friday. We’ve heard that at least one Prime member who complained got their membership extended by three months as a goodwill gesture. Also for several months the Freight Transport Association has been warning of a shortage of haulage drivers should delay deliveries this Christmas.

How are your carriers performing? Is it acceptable, or at least understandable, that a 24 hour courier or Royal Mail first class parcel might take a couple of days to arrive instead of being next day? Are you finding some carriers worse than others?

There’s little you can do as a retailer, other than to ensure that sales are despatched as quickly as possible. Whenever possible ship parcels on the day they’re sold to ensure delivery as soon as practical. If you’re a consumer making purchases for Christmas then get buying as early as possible. This year, if you do leave your shopping to the last possible moment, your orders may not arrive in time for Christmas and it won’t necessarily be the retailers fault.

5 Responses

  1. Unusually we experienced problems with Royal Mail Special Delivery last week. 2 failed to make it next day but were delivered a day late; one to Birmingham, the other to Lincoln (not rural areas but city centres) despite being dropped off early afternoon at the sorting office. We’re monitoring these and will fill out the claim forms in the New Year.

  2. We have this morning took the decision to upgrade all 2nd class items to 1st class for this week and next week and just take the cost on the chin. So far Interlink have performed well for our parcels, we have had 2 problems in the London area.

    Our problems are much more with suppliers not being able to keep up. If we have too many orders, I would work late and start earlier and be happy to do so to make sure they all got packed. If you have too many orders in one day – surely you don’t want to start the next day already behind.

  3. Maybe there is an argument for using Royal Mail rather than other (more competitive?) shipping handlers?

  4. Higher percentage than normal of First Class items have apparently not been delivered at all. We’ll see how many “not claimed” returns I get from Royal Mail . usually it is approx. 50%. Last year got the impression Royal Mail were on top of it (almost brilliant) the whole way through, but not getting the same feedback at all this year.

    Myhermes I use for returns if the buyer doesn’t use Ebay managed returns. Cheaper and often more convenient for the customer to drop off. So far I’ve been pleased.

    Deliveries to me is a different issue. The culprit is Yodel.

    Saturday night a business delivery of 3 large boxes at 19.20. That just isn’t acceptable for a business delivery. Waiting on 2 other Yodel deliveries. 1 despatched Friday for delivery today. According to Yodel tracking it hasn’t left their Northampton Centre yet following collection. Another despatched Thursday for delivery Friday. Still waiting.

    I’m telling my suppliers who use Yodel maybe they should be considering a different partner.


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