HermesHermes has launched a new service that gives online shoppers an Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) for next day and standard delivery purchases as well as returns.

Hermes will initially provide customers with a four-hour time window on the morning of their parcel delivery or collection – but this timeframe that will be reduced to two hours by the end of the year. The company said that the launch has followed on from a successful trial with major retailers.

“The service has been designed to increase visibility across the supply chain, boost first time delivery rates and reduce the amount of enquiries retailers receive from online shoppers,” said Hermes. “By removing the need for customers to wait in all day for a courier, ETA helps improve the overall customer experience.”

Retailers deploying the new service will be able to select which parcels they would like to apply the new ETA service to and can choose how they want to communicate the time-window from a choice of Hermes Parcel Manager SMS, Email or Mobile app push.

As previously reported, Hermes has invested £18m in 20,000 handheld scanners which will be in place by peak 2016 and will play a major role in supporting the new ETA service. The scanners will feature Geo-fencing technology and a built-in camera.

Commenting on the new service,  Carole Woodhead, CEO of Hermes, said: “Recent research from Metapack revealed that two thirds of consumers are anxious about leaving their homes when they are expecting a delivery. In addition, a Retail Week study said 91% of end customers view time windows as the most important feature when selecting a delivery service. Therefore it is clear that the vast majority of consumers want the convenience of an ETA for all of their deliveries, and not just when opting for a premium service.

“Our ETA solution provides additional choice and convenience to those online shoppers, which will reduce queries for retailers and boost their brand loyalty. This innovative new service, together with our substantial investment in our final mile delivery network, illustrates our ongoing commitment to providing the UK’s leading retailers with premium delivery features for a standard price and helps us move towards our goal of 100% first time delivery success.

“After a successful and record peak, this is Hermes third major announcement this year, with the investment in our new Super Hub in Rugby, scanner technology and now the new ETA service for collection and delivery in the standard market.”

The new service has had a thumbs-up from retailer. For example,  Ian Carr, Logistics Director, JD Williams, commented: “JD Williams sees ETA messaging as a welcome service development in line with our drive towards a digital-first business model. It has been well received by our customers, especially those who use mobile technology. This complements our efforts to provide customers with proactive updates at critical stages of the parcel journey, which keeps them fully informed without the need to enquire further.

“We will continue to work with Hermes to widen the reach of this and other services that will be offered on the Hermes Parcel Manager App.

“We will also encourage those customers who are not yet users to try these services at every opportunity.”

By Alison