Latest update: January 12 2021. URGENT – Royal Mail Blacklist.
Coronavirus courier updates – Coronavirus has dominated 2020 and impacted e-commerce logistics significantly. The UK has already faced a strict lockdown earlier this year. Now a new lockdown has begun and will last the duration of the busiest peak season. Couriers will have many updates and changes to services to deal with both the coronavirus and holiday season.
To save you time, we have collected all the coronavirus courier updates for UK delivery companies. Each UK courier tackles coronavirus differently, so stay up to date with what delivery companies are offering during this busy time so you can make sure your shipping continues to run smoothly.
We also take a look at: how the coronavirus has impacted e-commerce in the UK, what customers now expect with their online shopping, and how you can continue business during this hectic period.
- E-commerce & coronavirus: what are the impacts so far?
- Industry growth and sales
- Customer attitudes and behaviours
- The upcoming peak period
- Coronavirus courier updates:
- Top tips to for success the following months
- Supply chain and stock outs
- Flexible shipping and multi-carrier strategy
- Delays and tracking
- Flexible returns
The combination of greatly increased uptake of online shopping, and the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes….Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resources, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales.
Royal Mail’s list of areas with limited deliveries:
- Ashford (TN23-TN27)
- Barnsley (S70, S71, S72 and S75)
- Basildon (SS13-SS16)
- Bow (E3)
- Bury St Edmunds (IP28-IP33)
- Chelmsford (CM1-CM3)
- Christchurch (BH23)
- Daventry (NN11)
- Debden (IG7-IG10)
- Enfield (EN1-EN3)
- Grays (RM16-RM20)
- Hampton (TW12)
- Highbury (N5)
- Hornsey (N8)
- Horsham (RH12, RH13)
- Ilford (IG1-IG6)
- Leeds City (LS1-LS5)
- Lewisham (SE13)
- Magherafelt (BT45, BT46)
- Margate (CT7-CT9)
- Rugeley (WS15)
- Somerton (TA11)
- South Ockendon (RM15)
- South Woodford (E18)
- Upper Holloway (N7)
- Wandsworth (SW18)
- Wellington (TA21)
- Widnes (WA8)
Important note: Royal Mail also advices the people in these ares who have received a “Something for you” notice card to check its website for revised opening hours, and whether it is possible for them to collect the item. However, if there is no “Something for you” card, and there were no alternative arrangements for the package, then the mail is going to be unavailable for collection. We advise making sure your customers also understand this so they aren’t left disappointed if they miss their delivery.
Before we dive into the coronavirus courier updates, let’s take a look at how e-commerce has been affected this year by the pandemic, and what you can expect in the following months.
In a global study released this week by Salesforce Inc., 63% of consumers said the way they obtain goods and services “transformed” during 2020. This obviously includes consumers turning more to online shopping, which caused a sharp increase in sales and growth for many e-commerce retailers earlier this year.
At Sendcloud, we have seen a significant increase in the number of packages sent since the beginning of lockdowns across Europe. When we compare the week of 6th of April (week 15) with the weeks before some of the first preventive measures were implemented (week 11), we see an astonishing increase of 90%.
This has consistently remained at a higher level throughout 2020. Currently in Europe, the number of packages being shipped from online stores is still about 22% higher than expected, demonstrating the growth to e-commerce.
In the long term, it is expected that online shopping will continue to increase by 6 to 9%.
Ready to tackle lockdown 2 and peak season? Make sure to download our Coronavirus action sheet for 20 strategies you can instantly implement to make your logistic process run faster without hassle!
To find out more about what consumers really want – and how their expectations changed during the corona crisis – we conducted our own research. So what were the main behaviour and attitude shifts we identified for UK consumers?
- Consumers are understanding of delays in times of crisis, but do expect to be well informed. 67% of the British consumers surveyed experienced a delay with parcels generally being delivered around 2 days later than expected. However, British consumers did become willing to wait an average of 6.7 days for a package with standard delivery, as they became more understanding of the situation. What’s most important is that customers want to be informed about any delays in advance. (Read on for our tips on how to handle delays.)
- Delivery costs still remain the most important decision-making factor for customers to continue checking out. However, we saw an increase for preference in other areas of delivery: 26% of respondents said the flexibility to change the time and place of the delivery became an important option.
- Consumers wanted to shop locally, not internationally. Before the pandemic, 45% of British online shoppers said that they ordered from an international online store. However, this reduced to just over 30% during the pandemic. What’s more, 43% of consumers also said that they preferred to shop at local or UK national e-commerce stores rather than shopping at international stores or giant marketplaces.
- Consumers want return items to be collected from home. Before corona, UK shoppers mostly preferred to bring their returns to a drop-off point. However the stay-at-home order shifted this preference slightly more towards home pick-ups for their return items.
It is expected this year will be the busiest peak season ever. Usually, these months are dominated by Black Friday and public holidays, which means that consumers are spending a big part of their money to buy gifts and Products. And this year is no different: A study of over 1000 UK consumers, conducted by Quantcast, has found 67% plan to spend the same or more money than usual on Christmas this year.
So how much bigger will peak season be? We expect it to be 20% larger than the ‘corona peak’ of May earlier this year. Despite the week-on-week growth in the number of parcels being sent will generally be in line with previous years, the volume will be higher. And the biggest increase is expected in the week of Black Friday, with about 76% increase in sales.
Coronavirus courier updates: What have carriers changed to handle coronavirus, peak season and lockdown 2?
With the appearance of the coronavirus, couriers needed to introduce new measures, not only for the safety of their employees, but also to handle the influx of shoppers. To save you time, we’ve collected the latest coronavirus courier updates and any other useful information from the following to UK delivery companies:
As a department of the UK Government and an integral part of the UK’s infrastructure, Royal Mail is committed to providing the highest levels of service during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help ensure this, Royal Mail has chosen not to avail of the furlough scheme. They have increased resources and extended overtime opportunities to staff. Naturally, this is not at the expense of staff health and safety. Royal Mail has made a significant investment in health and safety/PPE equipment and related training to ensure all staff are protected.
Royal Mail is endeavouring to collect from as many business and residential customers as during normal times of service. The company will try to inform customers about any delays to services. It is advisable to send mail as early as possible to ensure prompt delivery. Contingency plans have been set up to mitigate impact on customers and deliveries If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Royal Mail site.
Royal Mail has put the following coronavirus updates in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These came into effect on Monday 28th September.
Changes to 9am and 1pm Guaranteed Service Deliveries
This is definitely a key coronavirus courier update to take away from this article, especially if you use these services. Make sure to take note of the following changes, and communicate them clearly to your customers so they understand why things have changed.
Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed services for 9.00am the next working day will change to by 11.00am the next working day. This includes Saturday guarantees. Prior to the pandemic, this guarantee was for by 12.00pm. Some postcode exceptions apply.
The Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1.00pm the next working day will change to by 4.00pm the following working day. This service includes Saturday guarantees. This guarantee was previously for by 9.00pm. Some postcode exceptions apply.
Please see the Royal Mail website for more details.
Additional business services from Royal Mail during the coronavirus pandemic
Royal Mail has introduced a number of services for businesses that have been forced to move their operations online due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the following:
- Simple online form requests to stop and restart business collections.
- Simple online forms to set up or cancel redirections if your business is closed temporarily or permanently. Redirection requests can be for 3, 6 or 12 months.
- Straightforward request processes for diverting business mail. This Royal Mail service is ideal for customers who have been forced to close specific departments of their business rather than the whole business. It is also useful for businesses who share a building with other companies that share a reception area that is now unmanned. The business mail diversion service is available for 3, 6 or 12 months. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can avail of the Royal Mail’s Small Business Diversion service.
- Businesses can arrange to book a collection for up to 5 items from your door. At the time of writing this service is only available on the Royal Mail website. Parcel Collect will be available through the Royal Mail app soon. There is also an option to arrange for a regular collection from your door. Please see the Royal Mail business parcels collection page for more details.
- Businesses also have the option to arrange a return package from your premises. This service is also only currently available via the website. It will soon be possible to arrange a return package pickup via the Royal Mail app. Please check the website for more details.
- For businesses that receive smaller amounts of mail, the Royal Mail Keepsafe service is ideal. The Keepsafe service instructs the Royal Mail to hold your mail for a maximum of 100 days. Simply sign up to the service and instruct Royal Mail when you would like your mail service to resume.
- Recognising the impact that home working has had on shipping, Royal Mail has set up the Royal Mail Hybrid Service. This enables remote workers to upload and send mail to the secure printing facility. The items are printed and sent by Royal Mail. Businesses can manage their accounts and budget through a simple reporting system. They can also store and manage branded templates. The Royal Mail Hybrid service does not have set-up fees and has no minimum volumes or license fees. It is available to use right away after you sign up.
- Royal Mail also offers a data cleansing service. This can be particularly useful during times of upheaval such as the current pandemic. The data cleansing service can check for duplicates, parties that are temporarily away, parties that have permanently moved and deceased accounts.
- Should your businesses need to print invoices, Royal Mail has launched an electronic invoicing portal. This sends a PDF of the invoice via email as it is generated. It also provides a copy of the invoice on the portal. Customers can access this service via tablet, or phone.
Handling returns with Royal Mail during COVID-19
Our research showed that the number of people wanting their return items collected from their home increased during the pandemic. Royal Mail has introduced the option to arrange a return package from home. This service is currently available via the website.
Additional domestic services from Royal Mail that are useful for small online stores
Royal Mail have changed or introduced the following services, and they could be very useful if you run a small webshop from your home:
- If you are running a small webshop, it’s easier than ever to buy postage from home from the Royal Mail online shop, Royal Mail app or Click and Drop tool.
- The option to print postage from home and drop off at a Parcel Postbox.
- The ability to book a collection for up to 5 items from your door. At time of writing this service is available on the Royal Mail website. Parcel Collect will soon be available through the Royal Mail app.
Royal Mail international shipping during the COVID-19 pandemic
Royal Mail is striving to maintain international mail services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, customers need to factor in potential delays. Signature services may be particularly impacted. Delays will vary depending on the country or territory you are shipping to. You can check the Royal Mail international incident webpage for more information on how each country is affected.
Royal Mail service changes for consumers during COVID-19
There’s been a lot of changes to how services operate for your customers as well. It’s good to take note of these changes, help to inform your customers to avoid confusion or disappointment, and maybe even take advantage of some of the changes.
Changes to Royal Mail Customer Service Points
The hours that Customer Service Points are currently open have changed due to the impact of the pandemic. The majority of the Customer Service Points that are based at larger locations will be open between 07 -11 am. Most other Customer Service Points will be open between 07 – 09 am. Hours will vary depending on the location.
Important note: between Monday 6 April and Monday 31 August 2020 Royal Mail extended the retention periods at Customer Service Points from 18 calendar days to 30 calendar days. The company reverted to 18 days on Tuesday September 1. For Custom charges the retention period is 21 calendar days. The services affected were; Items with a ‘Something for You’ card, Items with a ‘Surcharge to Pay’; Items that have a ‘Customs Charge to Pay’ and Local Collect items where the parcel is addressed to the Customer Service Point or Post Office branch.
Signing for and receiving items with Royal Mail
As you may know, limiting person-to-person contact has been a key coronavirus courier update in order to protect staff and customers. Therefore, Royal Mail has adjusted the following services to minimising contact during delivery:
- Logging the name of the recipient rather than capturing signatures on hand-held devices.
- If an item won’t fit through a letterbox, Royal Mail will leave the item at the recipient’s door. The Royal Mail representative will then knock at the door and wait at a safe distance for a response. If the recipient is unable to come to the door the delivery person will leave a ‘Something for You’ card, which advises of other ways you can arrange to get your item. A trick for you to avoid this happening to your customers is to ensure you enable proactive tracking to ensure customers know when their package will arrive so they (or someone from their household) is home. Proactive tracking is even more useful in the event of a delay, so customers are kept up-to-date and will still know the ETA of their package.
- The option to have mail held for up to 100 days. This service is called Keepsafe. Keepsafe is a great service for people who are not at their usual residential address. Once the customer returns to the address they can notify Royal Mail who will then deliver the package.
Hermes introduced a lot of new coronavirus courier updates to mitigate impacts to their service. The shipping carrier has also introduced a number of new services.
At the time or writing, there is no impact on Hermes’ UK parcel delivery services. Please check with the Hermes website for up to date information.
Hermes has had an agile and employee-centric approach to the pandemic. Hermes has made an investment of £100m to create 10,000 jobs to cope with an increased demand for online shopping. The company has made a fund of £1m available for their team of self-employed drivers to support them during the pandemic. Hermes has also guaranteed drivers will keep their jobs should they need to self-isolate.
Additional and alternative services from Hermes during the COVID-19 pandemic
Hermes have introduced a number of customer centric features that can help reduce the amount of undelivered packages during this period, and these are their main coronavirus courier updates. We advise to read up about them, and help by informing your customers of what they are, and how they can take advantage of them.
- Diverting parcels to a safe place. This service from Hermes helps to minimise contact between delivery drivers and recipients. It is also useful if the recipient doesn’t know if they will be in at time of delivery. All Hermes customers can use this service. Customers can set up their preference for a safe place in their MyPlaces settings or on the Hermes app.
- Your customers can also use the company’s What3Words tool to set an exact delivery location and add PIN codes to access their property. Customers can also select a preferred ParcelShop and Locker drop-off location. They can also add waypoints to their destination.
- If the recipient is not in at time of delivery and there is no safe place selected on the account, the Hermes delivery driver will leave the parcel in a safe place. They will take a photograph of the safe place which will be included in the delivery notification. Make sure your customers are aware that this could happen if they are not in and they have not updated their details. Some customers won’t be happy about their package being left somewhere, and that means you may receive complaints, or lose customers.
- To reduce contact, Hermes delivery drivers will not attempt to get a signature from the recipient. The driver will knock on the door and take a step back to await response. When the recipient answers the driver will take a photo of the package on the doorstep as proof of delivery. Hermes will attempt delivery three times before returning the parcel to the sender.
Impacts on Hermes international deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hermes is committed to providing the best possible international shipping services during the pandemic. Here are some of the potential impacts Hermes customers should keep in mind when shipping internationally.
- At time of writing all Hermes international delivery and tracking services are running normally. Please check with the Hermes website for updates.
- At time or writing, Hermes customer service is still available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- International deliveries may be subject to delays at short notice. This is particularly likely to impact on deliveries within Europe. Use proactive tracking emails to update customers – in advance – when a delay occurs.
- When obtaining signatures, Hermes delivery drivers will only take the recipient’s name rather than a physical signature. They may also ask for the last digits of their ID document. The requirements for this process depends on the country the shipment is being sent to.
- Hermes is committed to keeping ParcelShops running as usual. However, there may be impacts on ParcelShops depending on the location. Please check the Hermes website for more details.
DPD has implemented a lot of coronavirus courier updates to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on its services and customers. The company has also been very proactive with keeping customers informed about changes to services and what they can expect from DPD as the situation evolves.
In May 2020 when the impact of the pandemic was being felt throughout the continent, and the wider world, the DPD group delivered more than 300 million parcels in Europe. This was an increase of 30% from 2019. DPD is expecting its highest shipping volumes ever over the coming months. Naturally, Christmas will impact on this further. As experts in UK and international shipping, DPD continues to put processes in place to ensure its shipping services run as smoothly as possible.
DPD is using its UK distribution network to deliver 3D printed face shields to the National Health Service (NHS) free of charge. The company has also donated 45,000 care items to NHS staff at 160 NHS hospitals nationwide. The list of items has been agreed with the NHS and deliveries coordinated with DPD’s existing NHS contacts. The welfare pack includes cosmetics and toiletries, noodles, energy drinks, biscuits, crisps, tea and coffee.
Here are the main updates on DPD services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional and alternative coronavirus courier updates from DPD
- As part of its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, DPD is operating a contactless delivery service at all times. The DPD driver will now place the parcel at the door of the recipient. They will then either call the recipient on their landline or mobile, or ring the doorbell. The driver will then take a step back and keep a safe distance at all times. The driver will wait until the customer opens the door to take the parcel and acknowledge receipt.
- If customers are self-isolating, DPD requests that the recipient leaves a signed note on the door instructing the driver about where to leave the parcel. The driver will take a photo of the package at the nominated place as proof of delivery. The recipient does not need to be in the photo.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, DPD advise that consignees do not need to sign for their parcels. The shipment will be issued with a PIN code or a personal identification document.
- DPD has ensured all staff are trained on COVID-19 distancing and sanitation processes. This includes DPD contractors and subcontractors.
- DPD has arranged for office staff to work remotely to combat the spread of infection.
- Due to the fact that the COVID-19 situation is constantly changing, DPD recommends checking it is possible to deliver packages to the intended recipient before sending. This includes shipments within the UK and internationally. This will help avoid additional costs should the packages need returning.
- Due to the significant reduction in airline traffic relating to COVID-19 DPD has been unable to sustain its services at the previous rates. This has meant DPD has temporarily increased costs for international air shipping.
- DPD understands the need for customers to have the same flexible pickup and drop off service as before the pandemic. The company reports that 60% of DPD Pickup points, parcel shops and lockers are currently available, worldwide. DPD will store items at Pickup Points for up to 7 days. If the item is not retrieved from the Pickup point within 7 days, it will be returned to the sender. Customers with COVID-19 symptoms are strongly advised not to go to Pickup points to receive their shipments. Customers can transfer their delivery to a Pickup point or DPD Locker free of charge. Please check the DPD website for information on your local Pickup point or Locker.
- Due to COVID-19 DPD are not currently able to offer the expert courier service. This service is for customers who request a courier pickup from one of DPD’s Drop Off Points.
- DPD is endeavouring to maintain the same levels of customer service during the pandemic. Customers are advised to use online account management where possible. Customers should also be aware that response times may be impacted due to COVID-19.
DHL has set up a coronavirus task force to closely monitor the pandemic and mitigate impact on services, staff and customers. This is led by the company’s CEO. DHL has put a variety of measures and services in place to help keep services running as smoothly as possible and to protect their employees, customers and the general public.
Additional and alternative coronavirus courier updates from DHL
- DHL has extended its delivery window until 8pm. The company is also delivering every weekend.
- DHL is encouraging customers to book parcel collections online, which can be done on DHL’s book a collection webpage.
- At time of writing, all DHL customs teams are operating normally. DHL advises that individual country’s customs clearance procedures and delivery times may be altered due to the COVID-19 crisis situation.
- DHL will hold Express shipments for a minimum of 7 days. The company may extend this if it has an agreed delivery date. Customers will not be charged extra for this service.
- Before DHL returns a shipment it will always contact the customer for instructions. DHL can reroute to an alternative address, return or dispose of the shipment. Due to fluctuations in volumes or other unforeseen circumstances, DHL may adjust the provision of this service where necessary.
- When delivering parcels that require a signature, the DHL driver will ask the recipient to sign a piece of paper. The courier then takes a picture of it. This will be uploaded to the customer’s account for reference.
Impacts on DHL’s international deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic
- At the time of writing, DHL Express’ intercontinental network, including the global hubs in Cincinnati (Americas), Leipzig (Europe) and Hong Kong (Asia Pacific) are operating normally. For detailed information on each country please visit DHL’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage.
- DHL’s service provision is subject to impacts from delays at borders, customs or fluctuations in transport capacity. Visit DHL’s live COVID-19 update webpage for information on temporary service adjustments for DHL Express Time Definite International services.
- DHL is committed to maintaining a high level of freight services during the pandemic. For up to date information visit DHL’s dedicated COVID-19 international freight webpage. If extended lead times for freight services impact on shipment schedules, DHL will inform customers about changes in routing and/or delivery times. They will do what they can to arrange alternative transportation and/or storage.
- With a few exceptions, all DHL Global Forwarding stations are open.
- DHL has put new procedures in place for packages that require signatures within Europe. The requirements will differ depending on the country or territory that the deliveries are going to. Check DHL’s dedicated webpage for more information on each country’s requirements.
At the time of writing, UPS continues to ship worldwide. Naturally, UPS’ service levels will depend on restrictions imposed by individual governments. The company’s shipping services are deemed critical infrastructure by governments. UPS is working closely with governments, customs offices and health authorities to help ensure shipping services run as smoothly as possible.
During the coronavirus, couriers have also helped in crucial logistics for health care and other essential services. UPS has helped to support a number of healthcare and community initiatives following impacts from the coronavirus. The company has set up a variety of systems and processes to monitor ground and air networks and mitigate any disruption. Here are the main updates on UPS services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional and alternative services from UPS during the COVID-19 pandemic
- UPS is currently delivering and picking up parcels, nationwide, between Monday and Friday.
- For up to date information on service provision in the UK and internationally please see UPS Service Alerts webpage.
- At the time of writing UPS delivery services are continuing with the same expected delivery time frames. Government restrictions, delays at borders and with customs, reduced air capacity and other quarantine measures may impact on shipping times and services.
- Due to the fact that the impact of COVID-19 is constantly changing, UPS has suspended its Money Back Guarantee. This is also known as the UPS Service Guarantee. The Money Back Guarantee service was suspended on 26 March 2020. Customers will not be able to use this service until further notice. Please check the UPS website for service updates.
- To minimise contact between UPS delivery staff and customers, UPS has adjusted its Signature Required processes. The UPS staff member will still need to have contact with the customer. The driver will ask the customer to open the door, state their name and acknowledge that they are accepting the parcel. They may also be asked to show government approved ID. Parcels that are not signed for will be marked with the code UPSID, plus 11 digits of the consignee’s name.
- UPS is doing all it can to ensure that as many UPS Access Points stay open as possible. However, some locations are closing or adjusting their business hours in response to the pandemic. Make sure your customers are aware that services may be disrupted, and encourage them to check their local UPS Access or Drop-off point with the UPS Drop-off Point Global Locator.
- The company is committed to providing the same levels of customer service as during business as usual. However, due to unforeseen circumstances this may change at short notice. Waiting times may also be longer than usual. The company advises customers to use their online tracking where possible.
UPS additional services for business customers during the coronavirus pandemic
UPS is committed to helping its business customers navigate succeeding in e-commerce during coronavirus. Customers can sign up to a free 15 minute consultation with a UPS customer service representative. During this session the UPS team member can help address any particular concerns and answer any questions.
UPS has also published a number of guides and set up special discounts and offers to help customers. Please see the UPS coronavirus resource webpage for more details.
FedEx is paying close attention to advice from WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and adjusting its services and approach accordingly. FedEx has over 475,000 team members around the world. They are prioritising the safety of their staff and customers during the pandemic. FedEx and its subsidiary TNT have 115 years of experience in delivering services during a variety of challenging situations. Both companies can implement contingency plans at short notice and have the infrastructure and flexible approach that enables them to adapt to a variety of scenarios.
FedEx is supporting relief efforts relating to the pandemic with humanitarian aid organisations such as Direct Relief and International Medical Corps. These organisations are providing critical items such as masks, disposable medical protective clothing and disposable medical gloves. Since the beginning of 2020, FedEx has sent 10 humanitarian aid shipments of medical supplies to China through its collaboration with Direct Relief.
Additional and alternative coronavirus courier updates from FedEx
- FedEx aims to mitigate and reduce the impact of the coronavirus on service delivery. As government guidelines change, FedEx’s services may be subject to adjustments at short notice. Please check the FedEx service alerts web page for up to date information.
- FedEx recognises that businesses may have had to change the way they’re accepting deliveries during the pandemic. The company has created a customisable sign to place on the door to inform FedEx’s drivers whether you’re open or closed for deliveries. You can also include your updated hours and any other special instructions for deliveries. You can download signs free of charge on the FedEx website.
- If you need to halt or restart deliveries or pickups at your business you can inform FedEx via simple online forms.
- FedEx has temporarily suspended its signature required services for most deliveries in Europe. The only exception to this is shipments that require an adult signature.
- FedEx is encouraging customers to use its online tracking tool, obtain a quote tool and process new booking tools rather than contacting a staff member.
- FedEx has temporarily suspended its money back guarantee for all FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office services until further notice.
- In order to meet an increase in demand, FedEx has added extra flights from Europe to the U.S.
- FedEx has implemented a temporary surcharge on all FedEx Express and TNT international parcel and freight shipments, from April 6 2020 until further notice. The surcharges apply to both import and export shipments between these origins and destinations. Please note – the surcharge does not apply to domestic intra-country shipments. Find out more about FedEx’s temporary surcharge.
- FedEx Office exclusive hours are available at many locations for customers over 60 and people with special health or physical needs. For more information, contact your local FedEx Office.
- FedEx is encouraging customers to sign up to its free Delivery Manager service. Delivery Manager enables customers to do the following:
- Track packages.
- Arrange to pick packages up from a nominated location with more flexible and convenient opening hours.
- Arrange for packages to be held for up to 7 days.
- Arrange for the driver to leave parcels at the side of the house.
- Ask the driver not to ring the bell when delivering.
- Receive delivery notifications.
- Request to hold any deliveries to your address for up to 14 days.
- Use your phone or computer to sign for a package if you won’t be in to receive it. Please note, this service is only available for eligible packages. It cannot be used for deliveries that require an adult or direct signature.
Find out more on the FedEx Delivery Manager webpage.
It’s important every part of your e-commerce logistics process is fully optimised for this busy period during peak season and the coronavirus lockdown 2. Check out some of our following top tips:
E-commerce, coronavirus and the peak season means it is going to be the busiest time of the year. This means there is a higher risk to delays to your supply chain or for you to experience stockouts. That’s why it’s crucial that you keep on top of your supply chain, as well as maintain 100% accuracy with your inventory management. Otherwise you risk disappointing your customers, especially if they were relying on your products or wishing to purchase gifts.
Here are some of our top tips to make sure you have in place:
- Keep track of supply chain shipment routes, and ensure to plan back-up/alternative routes if possible.
- Consider finding back-up or alternative suppliers for your raw materials or products, or find alternative manufacturers. You could also try expanding your product range. Adding alternative products from various suppliers helps to spread the risk if one supplier fails with their fulfilment
- Stay in touch with your supplier(s). Make sure you have a good relationship and ask for regular updates. Keep in mind that it will be a stressful time for them too. Stay polite and respectful of their own struggles, otherwise you could risk damaging your relationship with them indefinitely.
- Use inventory management systems like: Fishbowl Warehouse, TradeGecko, DEAR Systems, Primaseller, and ZaoERP Inventory. And consider setting up “Back In Stock” notifications as well to keep customers up-to-date.
Provide flexibility with your delivery. It can be hugely beneficial to offer more than just one carrier or one shipping method at this time. So think about offering several options. Especially during peak season, it can help so much to switch from one carrier to another if your primary carrier cannot handle the influx of orders, or cannot reach a certain destination. You can also look into alternative local carriers like bike couriers as an alternative, helping to spread the workload.
We also found that almost half of British consumers will abandon their cart if their preferred courier is not offered. Offering multiple delivery companies in your checkout means you decrease the likelihood a customer won’t continue with their purchase, as they will have more choice for their delivery.
Delays are inevitable and during the coronavirus, each courier will face difficulties. With it being both peak season AND a corona lockdown, sales will be high and the carriers will be extremely busy.
From our consumer research, we saw that consumers became more understanding towards delays. What’s key to remember is that your customers want to be proactively updated in advance if a delay is occurring.
Make sure to have automated tracking emails that can update your customer if their product is going to be delayed. This means they are aware of the situation in advance, and you can minimise the risk of a disappointed customer, meaning you’re more likely to retain that customer for the future as well.
E-commerce in coronavirus times has also impacted the way people are able to return products. Our research revealed the way that people want to return has changed. Offering multiple return methods so your customers are able to find what fits them best will help retain your customers in the long run, particularly during this period.
Unfortunately, if your sales increase, it’s inevitable the amount of returns you will get coming in will also increase. This is not only hectic for warehouse workers, but an inefficient process will cause chaos and slow down the processing of returns (i.e. slow down your refunding and sending out of replacement items).
Something that can help both you and your customers during this time is extending your return period. This gives your customers more time and flexibility, but can also spread the amount of returns coming into your warehouse out over a longer period, meaning it’s less of an overload for your warehouse. What’s more – studies show that the longer customers have a product, the less likely they will return it! So win-win!
Do you want more ways to succeed during this busiest time of the year? Make sure to download our Peak Season checklist. We detail the best strategies you can implement right away to help cope with the busy months ahead.
If you want more information on any of the coronavirus courier updates, or have any more questions regarding how to optimise your shipping during this time, then don’t hesitate to contact us.