A courier service has a tremendous impact on several aspects of an eCommerce business. It directly affects operations, business expenses, marketing decisions, and customer service. When a customer buys something on an eCommerce website, they rely on a courier & parcel delivery services to deliver it. Businesses also rely on courier services to deliver goods to one another and to their warehouses.
Ecommerce businesses need to calculate the cost of courier service to estimate their expenses and decide the price for their products. Courier service also impacts marketing offers such as free shipping and same-day delivery. But most importantly, courier service has a direct impact on customer satisfaction.
Owing to all these reasons, eCommerce businesses need to choose the right courier service to handle their products and serve their customers.
How to Find the Best Domestic Courier Service
A domestic courier service delivers parcels within a country. Below are the important components that can help you choose the right courier service for your business.
A courier company is only as good as its delivery network. The first thing you need to check about the courier company is whether they can deliver products to your desired locations. You also need to check if they deliver to these locations directly or do they outsource delivery to a third party.
A courier company needs a physical presence in a city for efficient operations. If they do not have any physical presence, then they might outsource the services to another courier company.
Ideally, your courier partner’s delivery network includes at least 70% to 80% of your desired locations. Then you should inquire about the infrastructure and resources. This includes warehouses, fulfilment centres, transport vehicles, human resources, etc.
It will tell you about the services they can provide for you. For instance, if a courier company has aeroplanes in its fleet, it can easily facilitate express deliveries for you. Based on this information, you can gauge the proficiency of the courier company.
Different courier companies have different schedules for pickup or collection. Though some companies would set pickup schedules at your convenience.
These schedules may seem insignificant at first. But if you can’t match the pickup schedule, it can have a domino effect on the overall delivery time. A delay in a pickup will cause a delay in transport. This will delay the delivery. In the end, you cannot deliver products to your customer within the promised time.
You need to ensure that the designated pickup time is convenient for you. Or you should choose a courier service that creates a suitable schedule for your business. It means that your warehouse staff should be ready to hand over packed products to the courier company at that time.
Similarly, you should also ask if the courier service can arrange pickup on-demand. This will ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction in unlikely situations as well.
Time of Delivery
Fast delivery is one of the biggest influencers on customers’ buying decisions. And long delivery time is one of the most prominent reasons for cart abandonment. That is why you should ensure that the courier service delivers your products to the customers as fast as possible.
Based on the demand forecast, you can get an idea about the possible customer locations. You then need to ask the courier service about the estimated delivery time to these locations. Alongside standard delivery time, you also need to ask about delivery time for express couriers.
Many customers are happy to pay to get faster delivery. But, if your courier service provider does not have this option, you won’t be able to extend this benefit to your customers.
You also need to check the schedule for final (last-mile) delivery at different customer locations. The delivery time should be convenient for your customers. What good is a courier service that would wake up your customers at 6 in the morning on a Sunday?
Final delivery is the last interaction between eCommerce and the customer. If the courier service causes inconvenience for the customer at this stage, they will associate your brand with that experience. A convenient delivery time is very important for customer satisfaction.
While the products have to reach the customers on time. They also need to be in proper condition when the customer receives them. You need to consider both the aesthetic and practical aspects of packaging.
The packaging should protect your products during transit. If the courier company uses flimsy packaging, your product might get damaged during handling or transport. This is even more important if you are shipping products internationally.
You also need to check if the packaging is suitable for your products. If you are shipping delicate items, the packing should include cushion material to protect the contents. Similarly, some products may also require special packaging to sustain the journey.
You also need to see how the packaging would look. While the packaging need not be extravagant, it can’t be unappealing. Before a customer sees your product they’ll notice the packaging. If it looks ugly, the customer will not get a great first impression of your brand.
Regardless of how reliable the courier service is, it is still nice to know the status of your parcel at all times. That’s why order tracking exists. Courier services assign unique tracking numbers to each parcel. Though not all courier companies have this facility.
Order tracking is useful in several scenarios. If you know the current status of the courier, you can estimate the time it will take to reach the destination. You will also get to know if the parcel gets stuck at a certain stage of delivery.
Order tracking will also tell you about expected delays in the delivery. In such cases, you can inform your customers about possible delays. You can even make arrangements to counter the delays.
For instance, if you see that your parcel is stuck at customs, you can immediately contact the carrier to resolve the issue. If the solution might take longer than expected, you can contact the customers about the delay in delivery.
This is especially important for international couriers. These couriers go through several delivery cycles. If you know where your parcel is stuck, you can take measures accordingly.
If the courier company provides order tracking, you need to ensure the reliability of the system. Ideally, the system should be exempt from manipulation by the courier company. Each update in order tracking should coincide with an action in the delivery process.
Proof of Delivery
Alongside the tracking system, you also need to check whether the courier company gets proof of delivery. This means that they need to get some form of validation from the receiver. This can be a signature (physical or digital) or an OTP. The proof of delivery is a form of transaction between the courier company and the receiver.
The proof of delivery is considered reliable if it fulfils a few key criteria. Firstly, the form of authentication should be unique to the receiver. Secondly, it should be something that the courier company cannot fake. And thirdly, it should be something that the receiver cannot deny.
While the majority of people are good and trustworthy, proof of delivery protects you from the bad apples. It ensures that you don’t get misled by any customer or the courier company.
A protection warranty ensures that you get compensation if your parcel is lost or damaged during transit. Most courier services have their own protection warranties in place for this purpose.
Though a protection warranty adds to the cost of a courier, it is necessary for several reasons. 99 out of 100 times the courier will reach its destination without any problem. A protection warranty helps you avoid crises for that one unfortunate event when the parcel gets lost or damaged.
Different courier companies have different types of protection warranties. Some offer complete coverage. This means that you receive the full value of the parcel in case of mishappenings. On the other hand, some protection warranties offer partial coverage. This means that you receive compensation depending on certain conditions.
While complete coverage is an attractive option, it is also expensive. You need to measure the cost of the protection warranty over the years instead of just one trip. Then you compare it against possible losses if one such trip fails. These calculations will help you determine the value of the protection warranty for your courier needs.
The protection warranty is especially important if you are shipping valuable items. It is also necessary for products that are more likely to get damaged. If something happens to such parcels during transit, you will be glad that you had a good protection warranty.
Terms & Conditions
Alongside benefits, you should also check the limitations. A courier company may have a variety of restrictions. This may include weight, volume, locations, modes of transport etc.
First and foremost, you need to inquire about restrictions on the size and weight of the parcel. If your products exceed the limitations, the courier company might charge extra. Next, you need to ask about volume.
Weight and size limitations would also come into play if you add new products to your eCommerce business. You need to consider the present and future viability of the restrictions imposed by your courier service partner. These components would prove vital when you intend to scale your business.
You need to ensure that the courier company can manage a larger volume if needed. They may also have volume restrictions based on the mode of transport. This has a direct impact on the courier cost and delivery time. If your courier partner imposes such restrictions, you should be aware of them. If your courier service is flexible, then order management will be a lot easier.
Value for Money
While the cost is important, you need to measure it against the value. As an eCommerce company, you will be shipping products to different customers time and time again.
You have to pay more attention to the value a courier service can bring to your business over the years. At the same time, you also need to consider your specific business needs. Both present and future. If your eCommerce business only intends to use courier services in Australia, an international network does not bring any benefits to your business.
Similarly, you need to measure the value of a courier company for your future needs. Say you are shipping 100 kgs this year with plans to courier 800 kgs the next year. You should check if the courier service can accommodate the additional volume. And you should check whether they give you additional benefits for a larger volume.
Price is not the only measure of worth. A cheap courier service may bring great value to your business and in the same way, an expensive one might turn out to be unnecessary. When you choose a courier service, you should look for the value they bring to your business and to your customers.
If all things seem alright, you need to check the reputation of the courier company. You can check online reviews of the company or speak to its existing customers. This will help you understand several aspects of customer experience concerning the courier company.
All the services a courier company offers to you are basically promises. Customer reviews will help you understand if they live up to those promises or not. You will also learn about the common challenges customers face with the courier service.
Alongside the customer experience, you should also try to find out how the courier company handles difficult situations. A courier service that cannot help you in a time of crisis might cause more harm than good. It is better to look for a courier company that can stand by its customers in any condition.
How to Find the Best International Courier Service
When a parcel needs to cross international borders, several new factors come into play. The below two factors will help you ensure that the courier company is capable of handling international deliveries.
International Delivery Network
You first need to check if the courier company can deliver to your desired international locations. If so, you need to ensure that they use reliable means for such courier services. This includes the international presence, infrastructure, and resources of the courier company.
Firstly, you need to check how the courier company takes your parcels abroad. If they have their own ships and aircrafts, they don’t have to rely on a third party for transport. By extension, this means that you don’t have to depend on a third party.
Secondly, you should inquire about the physical infrastructure of the courier company in the destination country. This is important because a courier company will need to process your parcels in the destination country. A company with its own warehouses or fulfilment centres is more reliable than one that outsources it.
And thirdly, you have to ask about the final (last-mile) delivery. A courier company might have all the infrastructure to deliver your products overseas. But they might be using an external agency for final delivery.
Since this requires direct contact with the customer, the last carrier should be reliable and professional. If any of these processes are handled by a third party, you will need to learn about their reputation as well.
One of the most crucial aspects of international courier services is customs clearance. A courier company needs to prepare documents to ensure that your parcel complies with the import laws of the destination country.
Each country has its own import laws. Different products may also require undergoing different processes for customs clearance. Your courier company should be aware of the requirements for your products. If you are shipping products to multiple countries, the courier company should be able to handle clearance in all those countries.
If the courier company does follow proper procedures, your parcel may get detained by the customs department of the destination country. Even if you can get it cleared later, such obstacles would affect the delivery time.
If a courier company cannot handle customs clearance, they are not the right choice of international couriers.
Find a Trustworthy Courier Service
The purpose of all this inquiry and investigation boils down to one thing: Trust. As an eCommerce business, you should be able to trust your courier partner. The best courier service is the one in which you can trust your products and customers.
PACK & SEND offers reliable courier services to more than 80,000 destinations around the world for individuals and businesses. Several companies trust PACK & SEND to deliver their products and have also graced us with wonderful reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to courier a parcel?
You can courier a parcel by hiring a courier service to deliver the parcel on your behalf. You can hand over the parcel to the courier company. They will then arrange to transport it to the destination and deliver it to your desired address. If you want the courier company to deliver the parcel faster, you can use an express courier service. But this will cost a little more than standard courier service.
How do courier services work?
A courier service takes parcels from one location and delivers them to another location. The courier service process consists of three actions: 1) receiving the parcel, 2) transporting the parcel and 3) delivering the parcel. Courier services employ human resources, fulfilment centres, and transport vehicles to complete the delivery. The location of delivery can be in different cities, states, and countries.
How to track a courier?
You can track a courier using a tracking number. A courier company assigns a unique tracking number to each parcel. This tracking number traces the journey of the parcel through the delivery process. It can tell you about the current location of the parcel and the current stage of the delivery process. You can also use order tracking to estimate overall delivery time.
Which is the best courier service?
The best courier service is the one that meets your requirements. The best courier service should deliver your parcel within the desired time. Alongside fast delivery, the courier service should also be cost-effective and ensure the safety of your parcel.
Which is the best international courier service?
The best international courier service is the one that has the largest international delivery network. Such a courier service can handle complex logistics in different countries. A good international courier service will make sure that your parcel complies with international trade laws. It also makes sure that your courier gets cleared by the customs authorities of the destination country. The best inexpensive courier service can take things from one country and deliver them to another without any problems.
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