An interview with Parcelhub, on multi-carrier fulfillment
We recently interviewed one of our valued partners - Parcelhub. They offer bespoke multi-carrier delivery management systems.
Their Marketing Manager, Simon Wright joined us for a chat to talk about all things fulfilment.
There are a number of amazing insights in this interview, so let's get stuck in!
What should companies look for when choosing a carrier?
With more than 200,000 online retailers in the UK, there is huge variety. Ecommerce merchants have different product categories, levels of customer urgency, domestic and overseas customers and in some countries, consumers expect in-flight delivery options, drop-off boxes, click and collect and returns.
When choosing delivery providers, retailers must first analyse their current customer base, future ideal customers, and then contrast this with market research. Based on these findings then the retailer can develop a delivery strategy, or work with a carrier management company to create a bespoke portfolio of carriers and delivery services.
When looking for a carrier, retailers should look at the carrier’s customer feedback, ease of integration, levels of cover and maximum allowable dimensions and weight for their services.
2. Should companies use multiple carriers?
The average number of units per transaction is 2.82 and the average mid-market retailer has anywhere from 500 to 2000 SKUs. This means the amounts and types of items will vary wildly for each retailer. Furthermore, 51% of UK consumers made a purchase from overseas online retailers in 2020. These statistics indicate retailers would be best-placed to diversify risk by deploying a wide range of carrier partners, tailored to each customer decile, geographic region and product types.
Research Parcelhub conducted in 2021 identified 10 ‘blind spots’ retailers have where they are not delivering on consumers’ expectations of metrics such as delivery performance.
While only 15% of mid-market retailers thought high delivery costs would stop consumers from purchasing from them, a staggering 62% of consumers said they would not purchase from a retailer due to high shipping costs. Moreover, while only 18% of retailers felt lengthy delivery times would stop consumers from purchasing from them, 46% of consumers said they would decide not to purchase from a retailer because of lengthy delivery times.
This disconnect between retail decision-makers’ perceptions and consumers’ expectations means retailers are missing out on sales opportunities by not offering sufficient delivery choice. Based on these findings alone (there are many more), it would be prudent for a retailer to give consumers the option to at least upgrade their delivery in terms of urgency, or offer a free cost-effective option for price-sensitive consumers who are less urgent.
3. How can ecommerce companies automate their shipping processes?
Once a customer places an order through a merchant’s ecommerce store, a request is made and the order data is supplied to the merchant’s order management system (OMS). By integrating their OMS with a delivery management platform (DMP), retailers can automate and accelerate their label production, and with the right DMS-OMP connection such as Parcelhub-Brightpearl, can print labels from multiple packing benches and automate delivery status updates at each stage of the shipping journey through to the final mile.
Retailers can also automate fulfilment processes and throughout the delivery journey can utilise proactive technology to monitor potential delivery failures and deploy reactive resource to remedy these predicted issues before they impact your customers and your bottom line. Furthermore, retailers can automate barcode scanning to facilitate printing of shipping labels. For example, with Parcelhub software, your warehouse operative simply scans an order, this goes into Parcelhub as an order number, creating a shipping label. Retailers can further automate and save time by building a preference list of delivery services and backup lists if packets and parcels exceed dimensions and weight limits.
4. What are the most common mistakes you see companies make with their shipping processes?
As businesses scale, they all reach a point where laborious repetitive tasks stunt their growth. Rather than managing different sales channels separately (such as eBay, Amazon and your online store), utilising a multi-channel OMS means you can synchronise your stock levels and build a single source of customer truth, regardless of which channel they use to purchase from you on. Furthermore, utilising a customer experience management platform (CEM) such as Freshdesk empowers retailers to manage their customer communications across all contact channels (such as their website, marketplaces, live chat, social media and contact centres.
Startups will often manually print shipping labels one-by-one or upload CSV files, both of which methods can be expedited thanks to the adoption of an ecommerce order management system. SME retailers waste time by having carrier collections performed at different times of the day. With a delivery management platform such as Parcelhub, if a Parcelhub depot is close to your warehouse, a single collection can be performed by a Parcelhub vehicle, after which Parcelhub will assort your parcels to be redistributed to each carrier partner.
For larger retailers, if collections are performed early in the day by the carrier, this can impact the merchant’s ability to offer next-day delivery due to the impractically early cut-off. Retailers of all sizes miss a trick by not leveraging economies of scale and working with an enterprise carrier management provider, missing out on discounted shipping rates due to economies of scale.
5. What processes should companies look to automate in an integration between WMS and carriers?
By integrating a WMS or OMS with a DMP, retailers should look to automate:
- Order confirmations
- Delivery tracking
- In-flight delivery changes
- Out for delivery notifications
6. What does the Parcelhub platform do?
Parcelhub is a multi-carrier delivery management solution that helps retailers give their customers greater delivery choice. Unlike other delivery management providers, Parcelhub has a team of specialists who can act as an extension of your customer service team, taking care of delivery-related customer queries, as part of your team. Distributing over 8 million parcels annually on behalf of hundreds of SME and mid-market retailers,
Parcelhub offers 600+ delivery options through its 20+ carrier partners. Parcelhub’s free delivery management software gives retailers access to these delivery options through a single platform, helps them track shipments and accelerate their label production. Customers benefit from dedicated account management and the option of a single collection regardless of carrier choice.
7. What challenges do prospects face that leads them to look at Parcelhub?
Retailers tend to struggle with delivery-related bad reviews. They may feel that they are over-paying with their delivery provider and want to access economies of scale by working with a buying group. Many Parcelhub clients struggle dealing with consumers’ ‘Where Is My Order’ (WISMO) queries during their busiest periods. This is where Parcelhub’s Enhanced Delivery Management solution can help them redeploy their own resource while Parcelhub can take care of their delivery-related customer issues.