How COVID-19 is Affecting Shipping Times

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on many different industries and has caused multiple businesses to face difficult challenges. As we start to emerge from the other side, there are still some industries that are yet to return to normal proceedings – the logistics and shipping industry being one of them.

With that said, some shipping businesses have been able to adapt their services to work through these challenges and combat the delays seen across the board due to the global lockdowns and restrictions. Here Sam Whittaker, marketing manager of World Options explains how the business has continued to keep up with demand during this difficult time.

What has changed?

We understand that when something so large and disruptive shakes the industry, there must be other ways of working in order to remain successful and work effectively given the current times.

Coronavirus has affected the way that e-commerce businesses operate, especially during busy times and peak periods, such as seasonal holidays, where people still wish to send and receive gifts to their loved ones. Over the last 18 months, the role of couriers has shifted from important to essential, as everyone was urged to stay at home and minimise contact where possible, people relied on e-commerce shipping to deliver gifts, general shopping and other items.

With more people staying at home, and shops closed – online shopping grew exponentially –  further increasing the need for delivery services.

How can we adapt?

In order to overcome the delays to shipping caused by COVID-19, businesses have had to adapt their usual ways of working and streamline their processes. Improving order and shipping management has been key for e-commerce businesses that have been impacted by the disruption to typical shipping operations.

Investing in a platform that provides multiple shipping options, allowing your customers to choose from multiple courier companies has meant many companies have been able to still provide a service regardless of the issues within the industry at such times.

World Options’ have implemented programmes, that have allowed us to introduce our clients to a more streamlined way of working, meaning that they can process multiple orders at once, as well as isolating specific orders if needed. This helps to minimise the overall disruption and delay whilst completing a shipment.

We’ve also been able to use our great network of carriers and freight services to provide updates to our clients around such issues throughout COVID-.

Keeping customers informed

We understand that it’s important for everyone to be aware of the delivery process, along

every step of the way. Being transparent and encouraging our clients to inform customers of potential delays before they happen has allowed for extra patience and understanding, both from a business and consumer point of view.

Pre-empting where delays might happen helps businesses to understand periods of high demand and how to best handle them, whilst keeping customers in the loop about the whereabouts of their order.

Systems that provide real-time tracking notifications to customers, so that they know roughly when to expect the arrival of their parcel are highly beneficial. This has proven to be incredibly valuable with more consumers working from home and wanting to know how and when their deliveries will be arriving.

Managing consumer expectations in a post-COVID world

As we start to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses adapt to this ‘new normal’, it’s crucial to continue working in an adaptive manner, figuring out new logistical ways to further improve communications in regard to shipping processes.

We’ve realised that consumers understand that, during unprecedented times, delays are to be expected. However, it’s important to continue to keep them as informed as possible, even as these delays decrease, as it helps to maintain good practice.

We also understand the importance of transparency in regards to fulfilling certain orders, for example, some shipments to and from specific regions had to be refused at the height of the pandemic in order to adhere to the UK’s COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. Regardless of the capabilities of our carrier partners, there has been specifically no access during these times. It’s important that consumers and our clients are aware of this when making and completing orders as things continue to change.

Delivery costs have, and always will be, one of the most important deciding factors when consumers are choosing to buy your product over competitors. This is why we believe that it’s important to provide consumers with various delivery options, and show them what is available to them before they complete their purchase. This might also mean that they can easily find a replacement service to their usual one, with a different courier if this is required.

The future of shipping

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is how important it is to be prepared for any eventuality. As restrictions continue to change, shipping overseas in particular is likely to come with challenges. It’s important to continue to be proactive and adapt your services as and when required to limit the negative impact this has on your customers. We recommend doing this by:

  • Improving internal processes to streamline your shipping
  • Keeping customers informed about any potential delays
  • Building relationships with your courier partners to strengthen communication
  • Relying on technology where possible to speed up the overall shipping process so the impact of any delays is minimised
  • Having back up options in mind for high priority shipments
  • Being ready to adapt as and when delays arise

What we do

At World Options, we provide a fast and competitive courier service to each of our clients. Using a simple approach, we aim to integrate the shipping process into one, easy-to-use, manageable platform to handle all of your e-commerce orders.

Since our conception in 2003, we have grown into a leading provider of affordable shipping solutions for businesses. Through this, we offer the best shipping rates available on the market from some of the world’s most favoured courier companies to our clients.

Author:

Sam Whittaker is marketing manager of global shipping and logistics company World Options. World Options was established in 2003 and has since grown into a leading provider of simple and affordable shipping solutions for businesses.