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
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.