Delivery Complaints Across The UK: How To Optimise Your Delivery Strategy

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Optimise Your Delivery Strategy

While the ‘parcel boom’ seems to be calming down as people order less online and return to the high street, delivery-related complaints are still on the rise. In fact, delivery is the biggest deal-breaker for two-thirds of online marketplace shoppers with almost three quarters (71%) of consumers saying flexibility in delivery is key for them. 

 

Consumers are looking for flexible delivery options and while standard delivery options (30%) remains the most used, closely followed behind is next-day delivery (21%), same-day delivery (10%) or local store pick-up (7%). 

 

According to IMRG, the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver shortage - which has been exacerbated due to Brexit and the pandemic, means there are around 90,000 fewer drivers on the road than is needed. Other industry challenges such as increased fuel prices and port congestion are also likely to be adding to the pressure for postal and courier services, forcing them to rethink fulfillment and shipping strategies. Royal Mail recently claimed  that it needed to urgently adapt to the post-pandemic environment as parcel deliveries, originally boosted by Covid lockdowns, continue to wane. 

 

Dave Pickburn CEO & Founder of Go2Stream shares his thoughts on the current HGV driver shortages:  

 

“HGV driver shortages in the UK, and their impact on the supply chain, has been a very topical issue for some time. Across our subscribers, we’ve seen a trend for businesses to use smaller vehicles across their logistics operation where practical. If you can use a 3.5 tonne van rather than a larger vehicle you can immediately open up your driver pool. In this way, businesses don’t necessarily need a specialist to fulfil their deliveries. 

 

“Some businesses have taken that practice a step further to facilitate the final mile through urban interchange points. They’re bringing HGVs to those sites, breaking pallets and repacking them for the final delivery legs in van fleets.” 

 

 

What areas have been affected? 

 

New research from Mintsoft analysed thousands of monthly Google searches in the UK from people searching for advice regarding a missing or delayed delivery, to determine which areas are suffering the most in regards to delivery delays. With 63,660 searches per month in the UK, the industry as a whole is failing to meet customer expectations, despite the ever-increasing demand for excellence in delivery. 

 

The research is based on 20 common Google searches from Brits searching for help for their delayed, missing or damaged parcel, and we then analysed the searches by location to identify the residents most likely to suffer from delivery delays. 

 

Some areas of the UK have been affected more than others, with Glasgow reporting the highest number of searches of people looking for help with their delayed parcel per capita than anywhere else in the UK. 

 

Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Manchester also ranked highly in terms of delivery-related complaints. 

 

Rank

City

Index score

1

Glasgow 

100

2

Leeds

88

3

Newcastle upon Tyne

84

4

Manchester 

81

5

Edinburgh

80

6

Nottingham 

77

7

Derby

74

=

Bristol 

74

8

Sheffield

61

=

Kingston upon Hull

61

9

Stoke-on-Trent

60

=

Brimingham 

60

10

Liverpool 

59

11

Southampton 

54

12

Belfast 

53

=

Coventry 

53

=

Bradford 

53

13

Leicester 

52

14

Greater London

43

15

Cardiff 

37

 

 

What are delivery-related issues? 

 

Data from Ofcom revealed the most common aspects complained about in regards to postal services are: 

  • Delayed mail 
  • Delivery issues 
  • Junk mail 
  • Lost mail 
  • Pricing 
  • Quality of service 
  • Redirection

 

How can retailers and logistics businesses adapt and overcome certain industry challenges? 

 

As footfall on the high street begins to pick back up, consumers are once again realising the benefits of instore shopping - with just  53% of consumers saying they prefer shopping online. 

 

This puts further pressure on ecommerce businesses to provide a great customer experience, with research showing that 78% of consumers say they value convenience more today than they did before the pandemic. The service levels of delivery of goods is a huge factor in this. 

 

In order to build customer loyalty and repeat sales further, businesses must realise that an unacceptable delivery experience would strongly or somewhat affect a buyer’s decision to order from that company again. Customer experience continues to be the main differentiating factor for the top ecommerce brands, forcing online retailers to implement a more varied and robust delivery strategy. This is where a multi-carrier strategy and automated software comes into play. 

 

Commenting on the findings, Jordan Westley, ecommerce and order management system (OMS) expert at Mintsoft said:

 

“This research has been conducted to highlight the ecommerce businesses which may need to look deeper into their current operations in order to ensure that customers are kept happy and satisfied. With the competition of the ecommerce sector continuing to grow, it’s so crucial that you shine a spotlight on your order management and logistics software to keep your customers happy with a timely and efficient delivery. 

 

“Investing in an order management system with pre-built courier and multi-carrier API integration capabilities will allow you to simplify and speed up delivery times and the overall shipping process. Although it might take up more time to research and identify the best couriers to work with and set up relevant integrations, you’ll thank yourself in the long term by ensuring that items turn up on time, in condition, and with a delivery price that your business (and customers) can afford. 

 

“With rising fuel costs and a nationwide cost of living hike, offering a competitive delivery pricing will allow retailers to stand out from the competition - as will the ability to meet customer demands of choice, flexibility and speed.” 



What is multi carrier shipping software?

 

Simply put, multi-carrier shipping means using more than one carrier to deliver parcels to your customers using shipping management software. More often than not, this is done using automation, with the software allowing users to select the best carrier and service based on your business’ and your customer’s needs by comparing rates, routes and transit times and automatically switch between carriers.

 

Using more than one courier gives you more choice and flexibility and allows you to  accommodate customer requests by using a particular carrier and service level to suit them. 

 

What are the benefits of multi carrier shipping software?

 

Whether you want to improve customer experience, save time to focus on other areas of your business or simply want to revamp your shipping strategy to ensure maximum efficiency, onboarding multi carrier shipping software is key. Below are a few of the benefits using a multi carrier shipping platform has: 

 

1. Reduced costs and increased efficiency

 

Having access to choice of carriers is not only beneficial to your customers but also for your business. It’s often difficult to know which is the most cost-effective courier to use based on weight and location of the order, but by using system-held weights, product prices and delivery regions, automated technology can be used to make the courier choice for you.

 

Automated technology can also support offshore and cross-border shipping. The system will automatically check against a postcode and then switch to a more suitable courier for your needs, taking care of intensive paperwork by automatically generating commercial invoices when required.

 

The ability to compare shipping options seamlessly allows you to compete for fair pricing, creating a lot of cost savings in comparison to relying on a sole courier. In addition, it will provide you with the power of negotiation to further drive down shipping costs or offer the flexibility to easily switch over to a different carrier when one is over capacity or underperforming.

 

Using multiple couriers or a multi-carrier partner will also give you access and insights into every shipment, enabling you to analyse each spend. 

 

2. Enhanced control: Data consolidation and order management 

 

Data consolidation frees up time for more crucial tasks and multi-courier shipping solutions acts as a database for all shipments, including quotes and spend history. 

Previous shipments can be easily found and tracked as needed without additional tools, giving you instant access to everything you need to know - all in one place.

 

3. Reduced risk of human error 

 

Shipping and logistics software eliminates the chances of human error by automating and verifying each element of an order or shipment, allowing users to work faster while being rest assured that the quality will not suffer. 

 

4. Deliver services that customers want 

 

Poor service or experiences with logistics will leave a lingering negative impression, causing a damaging reputation. Not only do customers expect convenience and zero delivery issues, their expectations are heightened too, with same-day deliveries now more widely available. 

 

Improve customer confidence levels by having the ability to easily switch over to a different carrier if another one better suits the delivery needs of your customer, whether it be same-day, nominated-day, or even a more sustainable option. For example, many customers are now preferring the option to collect a parcel at their convenience, and technology can further enhance this offering. 

 

It’s so important to have an adequate operational strategy in place. Through automation, shipping management software can enable courier services to be automatically selected, based on the criteria that you define. 

 

Final thoughts: 

 

Automated technology such as an order management system helps to improve traceability and accuracy in the last mile through innovations like clear and flexible label creation in transit. Technologies can also help to improve agility for ongoing shifts in documentation compliance and support the maintenance of a smooth and time-efficient flow of goods.

 

In response to the growth and demands of online retailers, companies are putting a lot of effort into improving last-mile services. As part of this, new technology is being applied on a wider scale throughout carrier operations – for instance, automated sorting in hubs and depots, and trials of drones and robots for the last mile.

 

Customer satisfaction is pivotal in the current climate and the ever-increasing demand for excellence in delivery is putting more pressure on parcel operators, with overall service levels often failing to meet expectations. However, with the relevant and efficient frameworks in place, customer satisfaction can be improved and consumers' trust restored.

 

Methodology

 

Mintsoft analysed data from Google Keyword Planner for 20 common Google searches related to delayed ecommerce deliveries, including searches for complaint numbers to delivery brands, and searches for advice on how to retrieve a lost parcel. Over 63,000 monthly searches were analysed and grouped into location, to determine which city was searching the most for advice on delivery delays. To ensure that the data was not skewed by population size, Mintsoft divided the total number of searches by the population size, according to data by The Geographist, to come up with a per capita score.

 

Data accurate as of 30 May 2022.

 

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