Flexibility is Key for Retailers Delivering Parcels to Rural Scotland

As consumers, we can be forgiven for taking quick, cheap parcel delivery services for granted.

With competition in the online retail space becoming more intense by the day, companies are offering all manner of eye-catching deals in order to get more people buying their products. Free delivery, next-day courier services, more specific time slots, even one-hour delivery options; retailers are pulling out all the stops to offer their customers the most convenient and inexpensive service possible.

According to a study published by Barclays, products ordered online in the UK resulted in more than one billion parcel deliveries being made in 2013, and this figure is predicted to reach 1.35 billion by 2018. Such a mind-blowing rate of expansion highlights just how important it is that the UK continues to invest in its delivery infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

Improving rural delivery options

Delivering parcels to the Scottish Highlands

New research conducted by Citizens Advice Scotland has suggested that consumers who live in rural/remote parts of Scotland are being penalised when ordering items online.

Statistics showed that many people in the Highlands, and Islands to the north of the country, are actually paying a bigger surcharge on their parcel deliveries than they did three years ago. More encouragingly, the report noted that fewer retailers now issue additional costs for sending couriers to these parts of the country when compared with 2012. It’s just that those that do continue to charge a premium have hiked their rates.

The cost of rural delivery services is something Parcel2Go has talked about before. We recently looked at some of the least accessible locations that couriers have to go to in the UK, some of which were in Scotland. The aforementioned Barclays study also predicted a surge in the number of online orders being placed in rural locations by 2018, so there’s an urgent need for retailers to find a reliable system that ensures their country-dwelling customers receive the same level of service as their city-based counterparts.

Retailers need to expand their delivery service horizons

Many retailers have become set in their ways when it comes to their parcel delivery policies. They’ll continue to use the same courier for years without even entertaining the idea of weighing up other options.

We see this kind of attitude in all walks of life. A lot of us keep using the same energy provider, oblivious to the fact that switching to a cheaper deal can save us huge sums of cash. We’ll keep using the same takeaways or supermarkets, even though we constantly bemoan the declining quality of the products on offer. While it seems that we’re naturally averse to change, once the penny drops that the grass can be greener elsewhere, our entire outlook can change for the better.

This is especially true in the parcel delivery world. There are many couriers out there, all of them vying for your business, which means there are some fantastic offers to be had. Retailers need to ensure they’re getting the most cost-effective, reliable delivery services possible, and finding these deals is easier than ever. In 2015, comparing the market for the best prices can be done in a matter of seconds.

Flexibility is the key to ensuring that rural customers are not getting a raw deal when ordering goods online. The courier that you currently use may whack on a great big premium for transporting packages anywhere north of Aberdeen, but you can bet there’s a company out there that will offer cheap, affordable delivery services to the Highlands and Islands – AJG Parcels is one example that immediately springs to mind.

Consumers are becoming more demanding, and while residents on a remote Scottish Island will appreciate that a London-based company isn’t going to get their package to them within a few hours, they still expect a decent level of service. With so many courier options at their fingertips, retailers that continue to fail their rural customers are fast running out of excuses.

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Can Your Love Be Weighed in Kilograms?

From autonomous drones to unicycle robots, it’s clear that major strides are being made in the parcel delivery industry. All in response to soaring customer expectations, more focus is being placed on speed and efficiency, and making the entire delivery process as convenient for the customer as possible.

It’s no surprise that consumers are expecting more from their retailers. A study conducted earlier this year by Parcel2Go.com questioned more than 600 people and asked; ‘Have you ever taken a day off work to wait for a parcel delivery?’ Although 72.7% of respondents stated that they had never felt the need to take a day off work in order to receive an order, 27.3% said they had. Any retailer or courier worth their salt would agree that this is 27.3% too many people.

Although these results show that people either aren’t having to, or aren’t willing to, fit their daily lives around their parcel deliveries anymore, more certainly needs to be done to make the process more convenient. Both for those receiving the parcels, and those who send them.

cardboard box isolated on white wood background

The problem with parcel prices

While it’s true that convenience is key, there is no denying that price certainly factors into consumers’ buying decisions. When it comes to online shopping, abandoned carts are incredibly common; people add items while browsing online but rather than following through on the purchase, they close the page. According to statistics from the Baymard Institute, which analysed 19 different studies, the average rate of cart abandonment is 68.53%, and one of the most commonly cited reasons for this is unexpected delivery charges.

While there is plenty that retailers can do in order to reduce this rate, such as offering free shipping over a certain amount, or by clearly stating their delivery information on the website, couriers can also do their bit.

To help out businesses and retailers who have to regularly send out smaller items, Parcel2Go.com has offered a little helping hand. Parcels weighing up to 1 kilogram can now be sent for just £2.16 to anywhere in the country, giving retailers an easier and cheaper option for shipping out lighter goods to their customers. Savings which they can then can then pass onto their customers in the form of cheaper delivery charges – everyone’s a winner.

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How little can your love weigh?

But how can the new offer help out when it comes to everyday deliveries? Thanks to the internet and how easy it is to travel nowadays, the majority of us will have friends and family scattered across the country and even the world! And while email and social media certainly make staying in touch with one another a lot quicker and easier, nothing beats the feeling of sending, or receiving, a parcel full of presents or a handwritten letter from a loved one.

Our ‘Sent With Love’ campaign aims to encourage just that by reconnecting friends and family who may live at opposite ends of the country or on the far side of the world. The campaign will bring back people’s love for traditional mail, by reminding them that while you may receive emails everyday, opening a parcel is far more exciting. But what exactly can you send your loved ones that weighs less than 1 kilogram?

Something soft

The sight of something cuddly can brighten anyone’s day, which means a teddy bear or a stuffed animal is the perfect gift to send someone in the post, especially if you have a little relative out there! But the best thing about stuffed animals; they’re incredibly light, which means you can take advantage of our new 1 kilogram for £2.16 offer! Let your imagination run wild here, it doesn’t have to be a teddy bear. Really think about what your recipient will like, and you can send them a fluffy friend that suits their personality.

Brown paper package with heart shape tag

Something memorable

Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages, and often it isn’t necessary to spend large sums on those things. While it’s wonderful to open an unexpected gift, it’s so much better to open up a package and find a memory inside. Are you expecting a baby? Why not send a relative a picture of the recent scan? If you’ve recently left university, don’t forget to send your grandparents a proud picture of your graduation ceremony.

Something nostalgic

Nothing beats that warm and fuzzy feeling inside when you open an old box and find a long lost memory inside, whether it’s a drawing that you did in crayon as a child or an old letter from your childhood penpal. Why not have a dig around in your past to see if you can find anything, and perhaps you could send it back to your parents or an old friend? You can’t put a price on the smile you will bring and, who knows, maybe you’ll rekindle a forgotten friendship?

The possibilities are endless! So if you’ve been inspired by our latest project, why not take part yourself? You can send a parcel that weighs less than 1 kilogram to anywhere in the UK for just £2.16; not bad for putting a smile on someone’s face! If your friends or family are located in one of the four corners of the globe, you can still get involved. Visit our international delivery page to find out just how little it will cost you to send a memory abroad, and make someone’s day.

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Parcel Delivery Firm DPD Signs Deal for New Base

The parcel delivery company DPD has announced that it has signed a deal for the construction of a new distribution base in Scotland.

Built on the outskirts of Aberdeen, the new delivery centre will be based at a 43,000-square-foot office, workshop and yard space recently procured in a 25-year lease deal, and built by construction company Dandara.

The project is expected to be completed by March 2017, with more than £6 million being invested. It is also predicted that the opening of the delivery hub will create 20 new jobs following the relocation from Altens.

Neil Young, Commercial Development Director of Dandara, commented on the announcement: “This is a significant investment in the north east by DPD, and we are pleased to welcome them as a third major tenant at Badentoy North.

“The facility will bring the latest in logistics sorting and distribution technology to Aberdeen for the first time – DPD is now the only major delivery provider to create a regional hub with these capabilities in the north east rather than a small scale delivery report.”

He continued by adding that the new delivery centre is well positioned to provide a speedy service: “Badentoy North benefits from nearby access to the main trunk road network, adjacent to the A90 and a few moments from the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, giving tenants superb connectivity to local, regional and national destinations.”

Over the past five years, the firm has experienced strong growth in the UK, largely due to its new and innovative service Predict. Predict allows customers to follow their parcel’s progress on a computer or smartphone, and will even provide them with email and text updates of their one-hour delivery slot, meaning they don’t have to wait in all day.

The ideal location of the new DPD delivery centre puts it in prime position to ensure that it is offering the best possible services to all of its clients.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, said he was pleased to see a reputable company such as DPD committed to furthering their customers’ experience: “As a parcel delivery firm, DPD understand just how important it is for a parcel to reach its destination, but they go beyond that by offering exceptional services that give the customer a better user journey. Their new base will allow them to continue their work towards an even more impressive delivery service that puts the customer first.”

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New BRC Figures Highlight Online Shopping Trends

New figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have shown that online sales in July increased by 14.7% when compared to the same month in 2014.

According to this month’s BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor, in July of this year, online transactions made up 17.6% of all non-food sales, an increase compared to July 2014 when this figure stood at 16.5%.

The research found that footwear was the fastest growing category, and had achieved its best sales performance this year since December 2012, when the BRC’s records began. Sales of furniture also grew at the quickest rate on record, followed closely by homeware, which also experienced significant growth.

Director General of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, commented on the statistics: “July saw a continuation of strong online sales growth, up 14.7%, driven by robust performance across fashion, home and health, and beauty. These categories all responded well to summer sales and promotions which in some cases were later than last year.”

Usually, a rise in online shopping may often be accompanied by a dip in sales at traditional high street stores, but this proved not to be the case. During the three months leading up to July 2015, both online and in-store channels made a relatively equal contribution to non-food growth, although a closer look at the statistics reveals that the contribution by high street stores exceeded online.

“In some cases online is helping to drive shoppers back into stores which often inspires impulse purchases,” Helen Dickinson continued. “This may help explain why bricks and mortar stores contributed slightly more of the overall sales growth than online in the three months to July.”

The statistics show how online shopping can act as an enabler for growth across all channels, including click-and-collect and mobile commerce. Online sales data has given retailers an insight into their customers’ habits, helping them to deliver a personalised experience in-store; promoting more sales.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, believes the figures show how retailers must develop their online stores in order to improve sales across all their channels: “These figures show just how important online sales are to a store. Retailers should focus on improving their customers’ online experience as much as possible, from a smooth user journey to speedy and reliable parcel delivery, if they are also to keep their high street stores thriving.”

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British Online Retailers Benefit from China Spending Boom

A new report has revealed that online shoppers in China have expanded their shopping habits to more than 100 countries and regions across the world in the past decade alone.

According to news website AsiaOne, the figures published in The Ten-Year Report on Online Shopping Overseas by g.taobao.com, China’s largest shopping website, reveal how the habits of Chinese online shoppers have changed since 2005.

In the earlier years of the report, Chinese consumers appeared to prefer to shop on websites based in countries such as Macao and Hong Kong. The more recent figures, however, show a shift towards a wider range of countries, including the UK, North America, Japan, South Korea and South Africa.

Other favourite locations included European nations such as Denmark, France and Germany, and countries like Australia and Taiwan.

The report also showed how much online shopping has taken off in China, with the year 2015 experiencing exponential growth in online sales. This year new buyers accounted for 28% of sales, a figure significantly higher than in previous years.

A metadata analysis within the report showed how shopping habits varied between people, for example, those who were new to online shopping appeared to prefer to shop for cosmetics, whereas those who were more experienced opted for food products. Mothers were shown to be the most active type of online shoppers, with nearly half of the products that were bought most frequently online being baby formula and other baby products.

A further report by MasterCard has shown that mobile shopping apps have contributed to the online shopping boom in Asia. The MasterCard Mobile Shopping Survey, conducted between October and November 2014, found that a third of smartphone users in Singapore used apps to make a purchase online in 2014.

49.5% of respondents across the Asia-Pacific region chose convenience, 43.9% liked that mobile apps allowed them to shop on the move and 39.5% of survey respondents found that the growing availability of apps made it far easier for them to conduct their shopping online.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, believes opportunities abound for British retailers that are looking to make inroads into lucrative Asian markets: “These reports highlight the fact that there is a huge market out there for British online retailers, but in order to make the most of this, it is essential that both the website and parcel delivery service offered by companies are up to scratch.

“Websites should be both easy-to-use and mobile-friendly, and now more than ever it is essential to have a reliable yet cost-effective international parcel delivery service that will ensure a customer’s order arrives safely, without costing the retailer a small fortune in postage.”

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Businesses ‘Capitalise on Trend for Home Deliveries’

New figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have shown growth in the commercial vehicles sector, suggesting that businesses across the country are investing more to satisfy people’s demands for home delivery services.

Registrations for commercial vehicles rose by 3.7% in July and although there was a small drop in the vans category, this was compensated for by a strong demand for trucks. The statistics also showed a positive year-to-date performance for the commercial vehicle market overall, with a 19.3% increase in 2015 registrations.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, commented on the figures: “The commercial vehicle market’s record performance in the first half of the year has been followed by a more sedate July, underpinned by a slight fall in van registrations. This is not surprising given a particularly big uplift in the same month last year on the back of the launch of several new key models.

“Demand is still at a very high level, with year-to-date van registrations up 17% as confident businesses continue to invest in their fleets and capitalise on the ongoing trend for home deliveries. Registrations of trucks, meanwhile, saw another robust month in line with the sector’s performance in the year so far. Once again, the principal gains were made by the heavier vehicles in each market segment.”

Not only do the new figures show that the demand for commercial parcel delivery vehicles is growing, they also reflect a continued move towards maximum efficiency. This drive has been demonstrated through the increased demand for heavier commercial trucks and vans.

Having larger vans means that e-commerce businesses are able to deliver more parcels to more customers in a shorter timeframe. Access to more efficient courier methods may lead to more companies offering a variety of delivery methods such as next-day parcel delivery and click-and-collect.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, remarked: “It is really great to see that businesses in the UK are striving to develop and better their services. Delivery is a huge part of the customer’s buying process and can really make a difference when it comes to a customer deciding whether or not they will return to your store. By focusing on this aspect of the client’s journey, businesses show a continued commitment to improving experiences and ensuring that their customers are kept happy from the moment they place their order to the moment it arrives on their doorstep.”

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5 People Who’d Make Great ‘Parcel Delivery Runners’

Whether it’s via drones or the New York Subway, we’re always keen to hear of innovative new parcel delivery techniques used by forward-thinking couriers.

Recently, we read about Doddle’s quirky ‘Runner’ service, which could revolutionise the way packages are delivered in busy UK cities. The premise is simple; a consumer who wishes to return goods quickly uses an app to summon a trained runner, who collects the parcels and takes them wherever they need to go.

The delivery service is being launched in London, which makes sense as it is city residents who are most likely to benefit from this kind of offer. We all know how difficult it is to get around the capital during the day. Who remembers that early episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson attempted to drive around the London Marathon course quicker than a runner? Needless to say, the runner won convincingly, which underlines the challenges that London-based couriers are facing on a day-to-day basis.

Few will argue that the Runner service isn’t a good idea, but it got us thinking how parcel delivery companies might change their recruitment policies in the future. Rather than hiring someone with 20 years of van-driving experience under their belt, maybe they’ll be looking for people who can run two miles in less than ten minutes.

If you were looking to return an item in double-quick time, who would you trust to get the job done? Here are some suggestions…

1) Mo Farah

Mo Farah

The Olympic hero has become a bit of a divisive figure in recent months, but regardless of what you think of him, there’s no denying that the guy can run long distances very quickly indeed. Earlier this year, Farah broke the two-mile indoor world record in Birmingham, posting a time of 8:03.40.

If the double-Olympic champion decided to moonlight as a parcel delivery runner, there isn’t a vehicle in the land that could compete with him.

2) Amy Hughes

Amy Hughes

According to the Office for National Statistics, online sales increased by 11.4% in June 2015 when compared with the corresponding month in 2014, and with more people shopping via the web, it’s inevitable that the demand for fast parcel delivery services will continue to grow. As such, retailers need to ensure they have access to reliable couriers for 365 days a year.

With this in mind, we’d suggest that Amy Hughes would make an incredibly good delivery runner. She might not be a household name, but Hughes made the headlines in 2014 when she broke the record for completing the most marathons in consecutive days – an astonishing 53.

This kind of reliable, unrelenting performance would certainly come in handy when couriers hit the Christmas rush. We suggest the sports therapist could make a killing in January when everybody is returning their Christmas presents. There’d be no stopping her!

3) Usain Bolt

Bolt

The Jamaican sprinting legend wouldn’t have anywhere near the levels of staying power as the previous two candidates in our list, but if you wanted a parcel to be delivered over a short distance in the quickest time possible, Bolt’s your man.

Bolt ran the 100 metres in an eye-watering 9.58 seconds in 2009 – a world record that is unlikely to be touched any time soon. You’d have to be extra careful when weighing your parcel, mind. Sprinters are made for speed and huge amounts of time, money and effort are spent on making these finely-tuned athletes as aerodynamic as possible. We can’t imagine the six-time Olympic champion would be too pleased if you asked him to pick up your rock collection.

4) Forrest Gump

Gump

With an abundance of couriers to choose from, consumers have never had so many options. This means that delivery companies need to ensure they’re offering exceptional levels of service at all times if they are to stay ahead of the pack. It certainly helps if your couriers are friendly and likeable – two words that adequately describe Forrest Gump.

“Run, Forrest, Run!” is one of the most famous movie quotes of all time, and we don’t think we’ve ever met anybody who hasn’t seen the 1994 classic film. Not only did Forrest Gump, played by Tom Hanks, win our hearts with his lovable naivety, he also demonstrated that he’s a pretty nifty long-distance runner. His affectionate nature, coupled with his impressive athleticism, make him the perfect candidate for a delivery runner role, though he’s probably happy enough spending his time eating chocolates in Greenbow, Alabama.

5) Tim Shieff

Shieff

You’ve probably never heard of Tim Shieff, unless you’re a fan of edgy urban sports that is. Nicknamed ‘Livewire’ Shieff is a professional freerunner, a world champion no less, and is renowned for pushing the boundaries of what is safe and logistically achievable.

Anybody who is familiar with parkour will be aware of the kind of amazing acrobatics that the runners are capable of. The object is to get from one inner-city point to another, running, climbing, rolling and somersaulting your way through any obstacles that lie in your way.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s hard to think of many people better equipped to transport parcels around a busy city on foot than freerunners. We’ve got visions of a slightly unhinged runner gleefully sliding across the roof of a stationary delivery van as they race across town with several parcels in tow. In fairness, your package is probably going to arrive in better condition having travelled in the back of a van than it would in the rucksack of a freerunner who has a penchant for doing backflips.

What does the future hold?

We may jest, but who knows what weird and wonderful new ways of delivering parcels will emerge in the future? It seems that delivery drones are only a few years away from becoming mainstream and who would have predicted that a decade ago? One thing’s for sure, couriers are getting busier and are going to great lengths to ensure their customers’ needs are being met. That can only be good news for consumers!

If you need to send a parcel, you can save a tidy sum of money by comparing delivery services. Click here to get a quick quote right away.

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Why Don’t People Send Memories Anymore?

When was the last time you sent a gift in the post to someone you love, just because you could, knowing that it would take several days to arrive through the recipient’s letterbox, and being perfectly happy with that? With the exception of birthday and Christmas cards, chances are that the last time you wrote a letter and posted off something sentimental is a distant memory.

Back in the first days of the internet, receiving standard mail was so commonplace that an email gave us such a buzz. Now, when we have potentially hundreds of unread emails, the click of the letterbox brings us unprecedented levels of excitement. As many of us have family scattered across the globe, our methods of communication have adapted to allow us to speak to them as regularly as possible, but even in today’s modern world there are some things that technology simply cannot replace.

While technology has been extraordinary in breaking down the barriers of distance, it has also taken away the thrill of receiving something special in the mail. In a world where we are always on the go, with speed and convenience being our top priorities, how exactly do we share memories with relatives on the other side of the globe?

Social media or posting parcels?

In order to find out more about how people across the world keep in touch with one another, we asked 750 people the question; ‘How do you keep in touch with relatives living abroad?’ The results ended up very much in favour of digital communication, with the traditional art of putting pen to paper appearing to take a back seat.

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The majority of those surveyed (28.8%) said that they would use social media to get in touch with people, with email coming in second at 22.7% and a Skype call in third with 20.5% of the vote. Traditional telephone calls or texts were rather unpopular with 16% of the vote, perhaps due to the high fees attached to calling and texting people abroad. Meanwhile, sending letters by post came in last with only 7.6% of respondents choosing this option.

An average of 38% of those aged between 18 and 44 years preferred to use social media to contact their relatives living abroad. Only an average of 3.2% of the same age bracket said they would send a handwritten letter.

An average of 38% of those aged between 18 and 44 years preferred to use social media to contact their relatives living abroad. Only an average of 3.2% of the same age bracket said they would send a handwritten letter and parcel.

Towards the higher end of the age spectrum, the preference for contact shifts away from social media and instead towards email and telephone calls or texts. This preference isn’t surprising, especially as latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 11% of 65 – 74 year olds and only 3% of those aged 75+ belong to a social networking website. However, what is surprising is that traditional letters of communication still aren’t a favourite with the older generation. Although the number of people sending letters increases with age, with an average of 15% of those age 55 – 65+ choosing this, it is still the least popular option.

Bring back snail mail

In a world filled with digital correspondence, from the bleep of a text to the ping of an email as it arrives in your inbox to be read immediately, speed and convenience is everything. It is far easier, quicker and often cheaper to send an email to a relative in another country or post important pictures on Facebook for distant friends to see, which means that the handcrafted package is in danger of dying out.

Woman posting letter

Throughout our lives we go through so many wonderful moments; getting married, the birth of a child, watching that child go to school for the very first time and if there’s one thing we love to do it is to share these moments with as many people as possible. While it’s great to see photos of your cousin’s wedding in Australia that you couldn’t attend on Facebook, or open an email attachment to see a scan of your unborn baby niece on the screen, it’s just not the same as holding that memory in your hands.

Here at Parcel2Go.com, we believe that the art of writing letters and sending sentimental items through the post is one that should be revived. As part of our new campaign ‘Sent With Love’, we hope to reconnect families across the world through small gifts and tokens of affection via good old-fashioned mail. As we encourage families everywhere to reach back to their childhood with a handwritten letter and parcel full of love, take a read of our top reasons why you should join us and send a parcel to a loved one today.

It shows you care

We all know it is so much easier and quicker to send an email, text or a Facebook message, which is why sending a handwritten letter shows the person just how much you care about them. You have set aside time during your day to print off wedding pictures or package up that child’s school report you are just so proud of. The recipient knows that you put thought and effort into that and while it’s nice to send an email to your sister living halfway across the world; imagine how wonderful it would feel for her to find a personal letter and memory sitting on her doormat.

It will be a surprise

Nowadays, the only post we tend to receive are bills, bank statements or junk mail, and those aren’t even handwritten. Whether they’ve had a bad day or a great day, a carefully penned letter with a hand-painted picture from your toddler will brighten any grandparent’s day even more, especially as they wouldn’t be expecting it at all. Trust us, it’ll have a far greater impact than an email attachment.

It doesn’t actually take that long

The term snail mail was most likely coined when the lethargic garden mollusc moved faster than our postal service, but nowadays there is the wonderful phenomenon of first-class and next-day delivery. These options mean that your parcel could go from being penned and packaged by you to open in the reader’s hands in just a couple of days. There really isn’t an excuse not to send one.

There’s no denying that we’re all on the go, and sending a text or an email to our family halfway across the world is the quickest way to show them we are thinking about them. But why not make a change and go the extra mile to put a smile on someone’s face by sending them a handwritten letter and meaningful parcel? Let’s keep the love of sending touching messages and tokens in the post alive and make sure it doesn’t become something we tell our baffled grandchildren about; like dial-up internet, mixtapes and phones with wires.

For more information on the Sent With Love campaign or to get involved, please contact pr@parcel2go.com.

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eBay Trials New Delivery Feedback Feature

Online auction giant eBay has been trialling a new addition to its feedback page, which requires buyers to evaluate the delivery of their order.

The brand new feature, which will reportedly be rolled out to all buyers, allows customers to state whether the order arrived on time or not. A specific estimated parcel delivery date or time window will be given, with the option to select ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in response.

Unlike high street stores and large online retailers, the delivery options on eBay aren’t set in stone. There are usually a variety of options available such as express delivery, standard parcel delivery and economy delivery, with click and collect also offered for larger items. However, it has always been up to the seller to dispatch the item, update the system and notify the buyer.

The new change has been met with criticism by some sellers. Many have said there isn’t enough space for buyers to leave enough feedback about the product’s delivery speed, especially as it joins a star-rating system that already allows buyers to rate the delivery.

Others have raised concerns that the new system doesn’t allow for extenuating circumstances to be considered that are outside the seller’s control, such as delays or issues with couriers. Busy periods such as Christmas and during popular online sale times like Black Friday have also caused some worry.

That said, a system such as this could improve speed and efficiency when it comes to parcel delivery and therefore boost customer satisfaction.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, believes the new feedback tool could prove to be incredibly useful for improving services to customers: “Aside from the current limitations in the feedback section, eBay are trialling a potentially great idea. Knowing that delivery could affect their seller rating even more will ensure that sellers are doing all they can to live up to the buyer’s expectations. eBay is recognising the true value of timely parcel delivery when it comes to the whole buying process, and their new system means that sellers will become more accountable for the delivery of their orders.”

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UK Online Retail Sales Spike by 18% in June

Online retail sales in the UK rose by 18% year-on-year in June 2015, according to the latest data from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Earlier in the year, UK online retailers experienced an unexpected fall, which many attributed to the economic and political uncertainty stirred up by the General Election in May. However, June showed that growth was strong once again with the IMR reporting that the figures added up to the highest recorded growth for the year of 2015, and equated to £9.3 billion in online spending. The report also discovered that the number of deliveries made on time stood at 94.5%.

Commenting on the latest figures, IMRG said: “With a 2.7% increase on May, the results also mark the strongest June month-on-month (MoM) growth since June 2003, reflecting the ongoing increase in UK consumer confidence.”

“The total growth for H1 reached 11%, supported by a much-improved second quarter of the year – the Index recorded an annual increase of 14% between April and June, double the growth experienced during January and March (7%).”

A number of factors have been credited with helping cause the recent boom in online sales, with the Index reporting that the travel and clothing sectors were particularly strong, thanks to the summer weather and holiday preparations. Post-election relief will certainly have resulted in a rise in consumer confidence, combined with sales and promotional activity by retailers after a slight slump at the start of the year.

The growing sector of m-commerce (online shopping on mobile devices) also experienced a further increase of 57% when compared to June last year, with figures showing that sales completed on smartphones were much higher than tablet devices.

Head of E-Logistics at IMRG, Andrew Starkey, believes that the figures bode well for the rest of the year: “After the slowdown we saw last month it is good to see the UK’s online retail sector back on the upswing. If this trend continues we will soon approach our start of year forecast of 13%. July usually delivers a mini-peak on the back of summer spending which should push us even closer to this figure.”

Also shown in the Index was the importance of delivery when it comes to dealing with consumers and piquing their interest. Faster and more flexible delivery options such as paying more for next-day delivery and click and collect services are giving the consumer more control over their orders.

Robert Mead, Marketing Manager at Parcel2Go.com, believes these figures show how fast parcel delivery has become an essential part of the customer’s journey: “Focusing on the customer’s parcel delivery needs is essential to building a strong relationship between the retailer and buyer. Providing different options allows retailers to cater to each customer individually, it is then up to retailers to deliver on time as a way of boosting customer confidence and loyalty.”

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