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What is it like working with an eCommerce delivery partner?

Delivery management can be complex – managing different carrier relationships, collections, comparing costs, all while tackling the unpredictable such as sudden surges in demand or carrier delays. So, you may be thinking about outsourcing deliver management, but what is it really like working with an eCommerce delivery partner, and how can they help your business?

Find out everything you need and hear directly from businesses just like yours about what it’s like to work with GFS.

woman holding parcels at Christmas looking at her phone

What does a delivery service partner do?

Your carrier partner might offer you a variety of services and you may feel you have the best rates. However, there is a world of carriers out there and lots of different types of services. Working with multiple carriers might seem too overwhelming – how do you manage all the different contracts, relationships and pick-ups? That’s where a multi-carrier eCommerce delivery partner can help. eCommerce delivery partners manage those relationships for you, so you can get even more delivery services, ensure you have the most competitive rates and easily scale your delivery up or down depending on how busy you are. Multi-carrier delivery is the key to a delivery strategy that works for your business, and only with a partner that has the expertise to handle it all can it be simple and easy.

“There was a limit on how many orders we could send each day, which was really restricting our ability to sell as much as we wanted and grow. I knew GFS was the only way to help us get to the next level.”

How GFS helped AK Kin

How can an eCommerce delivery partner help my business?

An eCommerce delivery partner can help every aspect of your business. If you are working with multiple carriers to give your customers a wide choice of delivery services, your logistics teams will be handling multiple pickups at different times of day. Working with one ecommerce multi-carrier partner means just one collection, whick can ease pressure on your warehouse. It also reduces the admin stress of managing different contracts, label formats and carrier relationships. Being able to scale up and scale down depending on how busy you are, or turn off certain carrier services if they’re over capacity, is also vital, so you can react to what’s going on around you. This adaptability is key when it comes to providing a consistent customer experience that will keep customers coming back.

“GFS has helped transform our delivery strategy and drive 50% growth in online revenues by enabling us to increase operational efficiencies and give customers the choice and service they expect from us, every time.”

How GFS helped Wilko

How do I choose an eCommerce delivery partner?

Choosing the right shipping partner for your eCommerce business is a vital part of your delivery strategy. You might be able to control your website, your advertising and your product lines but once the product leaves your warehouse and is in the hands of your eCommerce delivery partner, you no longer have control over the customer experience. That’s why you need to be sure you’re working with the right partner. There are a lot of things to consider, from service options to software, but ensuring your delivery partner has the expertise to support every part of your delivery journey is vital.

Will transitioning to an eCommerce delivery solution be difficult?

With the right delivery partner, moving your services over is quick and easy. At GFS, set up requires just one single software integration to cover every stage of delivery; from point of sale to the doorstep and back again. Our easy integration will mean 0 days downtime and you will be up and running quickly. Talk to us about how easy it is.

“GFS immediately helped by reducing our carrier contract administration, while cutting our costs, and helping to manage very ‘lumpy’ demand.”

How we helped Hampers.com

Do I need a different eCommerce delivery service for all my sales channels?

No! Our eCommerce software connects all your different channels, so whether you’re selling on your website, Amazon, Notonthehighstreet.com, Etsy or others, all your orders will be entered into one order system for labelling, collections, tracking, delivery and returns. Sound simple? It is!

“Now we do everything through the one GFS system. GFS Checkout has made it easy to add delivery options (we now offer 17), while the breadth of service and automated technology has given us more control and agility to respond to changing customer and business needs. I didn’t know this was possible – it’s unlike any other delivery service we’ve tried before, but it’s absolutely worked for us.”

How we helped Leisure Outlet

Read more case studies and find out how we helped our clients achieve:

50% increase in sales

Dramatically reduce cart abandonment rates

600% increase in parcel volumes

2021-09-15T15:21:35+00:00September 15th, 2021|

Peak Season 2021: Are you ready for make or break?

Peak Season 2021: Are you ready for make or break?

Talk to us about your Peak season 2021
christmas gift

83% of brand marketers think this Christmas will be ‘make or break’ for their business*, according to a study by market research firm Advanis. This might not come as much of a surprise given the struggles faced by businesses over the last 18 months, with both Covid and Brexit causing havoc for businesses. But despite the importance of peak, just 25% of businesses claim to feel prepared*!

So, what can we expect from peak season this year and how can you make it your best yet?

miniature shopping trolly on a laptop keyboard

An even bigger, longer- and EARLIER – peak

Black Friday usually rings the bell to kickstart peak trading, but in recent years retailer promotions have stretched out to a week, 2 weeks or even a month before Black Friday. This year, pent up demand is expected to see peak begin even sooner.

After last year’s subdued celebrations, a quarter of the British public think Christmas will be more exciting this year, with 28% planning to start their Christmas shopping before the end of the summer*! Following supply chain issues and delivery delays throughout the pandemic, consumers won’t be leaving anything to chance this Christmas. Retailers should be prepared for this early start to peak, as customers look to secure the products they want in advance. It will be critical to have the stock, staff and space available, while delivery capacity should be locked in as early as possible too.

christmas presents on a conveyor belt

Market-leading eCommerce delivery experiences

With less opportunity to browse instore last year, consumers have become accustomed to the ease and convenience of shopping online, so home delivery will still be first choice for many consumers in the run up to Christmas. Those that are choosing to shop instore are doing so with purpose, which has led to an uplift in Click & Collect, with major retailers like John Lewis, M&S and Pets At Home all expanding their Click & Collect networks ahead of a busy peak season.

Shoppers are continuing to get to grips with a ‘new normal’ post-Covid way of life, which means different things to different people. Retailers that are sensitive to this and offer customers a diverse range of easy and convenient delivery options will come out on top as the market-leaders. 53% of consumers are expecting retailers to be better prepared for peak^, so delivery problems are unlikely to be tolerated by consumers this year, making it important that retailers can make sure they can deliver the goods through every eventuality.

miniature car with present on the roof

Partnerships to help you pivot

If we’ve learnt anything over the last 18 months, it’s that no matter how well you prepare for anything you can never be 100% ready for every challenge or mishap.

In recent years, delivery during peak has been impacted by a global pandemic, Brexit, extreme weather and carrier capacity issues. This peak is set to be massive, but unpredictable. There are still supply chain blockages around the world, as factories and ports struggle to get back to pre-pandemic productivity levels. New EU VAT rules have caused uncertainty amongst retailers who have had issues implementing new processes. Carriers have also become stricter on volume forecasting, collection timings and service availability during peak – making it imperative not to put all your eggs in one basket.

It goes without saying that a multi-carrier management strategy gives you the flexibility, but a single multi-carrier partner takes away the complexity of managing individual carriers so it’s easier to adapt to change and scale quickly, as well as get access to specialist logistics solutions for extra cover and support, even when things go wrong.

How well prepared are you for peak this year? Do you think it will make or break your eCommerce business?

Find out what you need to do to get ready for peak and by when – download our peak checklist! It’s not too late, but the time is now…

Why not speak to us to find out how you can secure a delivery strategy that won’t let you down this peak?

Contact us

Sources:

*Study of 400 marketers and 1000 UK consumers – Advanis/Sitecore, 2021

^  ‘Peak Selling and The Pandemic’ – Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 2021

2021-08-25T14:35:09+00:00August 24th, 2021|

Best Practices for Global Returns Management

As an eCommerce business, you may have spent time making sure your delivery is efficient and your customers are getting a good experience. However, what about returns? It’s one of the most complex struggles for retailers, who can get overwhelmed with the manual process of getting stock sorted and back on shelves to be re-sold – and not to mention the cost! Returns management doesn’t just make your logistics more efficient, it’s also benefits your customer’s experience, which can help grow sales. Returns are a big part of selling online, with 42% of shoppers having returned something in the last 6 months, and many shoppers over ordering to try items at home before returning what they don’t want. Returns have a huge impact on the bottom line, costing retailers a whopping £60bn a year.

So, how can you manage your eCommerce returns to save money, grow sales and increase customer loyalty?

woman scanning parcel with her phone

What Is eCommerce Returns Management?

Returns management kicks in when a customer wants to return a product they have bought online. It involves collecting the product or having it sent back to your warehouse, checking over the item, and restocking inventory so that it can be re-sold. Returns management encompasses logistics, inventory management and customer support. Although you can mitigate quality issues so that customers don’t receive inferior products, returns management is a key part of eCommerce and can be a huge cost to your businesses when mismanaged. However, getting returns management right means you can keep the business impact of returns to a minimum.

person scanning a parcel in a warehouse

The Returns Management Process

Products that are returned go through the following process:

  • Customer is unhappy with product when it arrives and requests a refund or exchange. This can be because the product is damaged, it doesn’t fit, or isn’t as they expected.
  • Customer Services staff decide if the customer is eligible for a refund or exchange.
  • The business picks up the product from the customer, or the customer returns the item via a drop off location or post office.
  • The product is delivered back to the warehouse and inspected, sorted and organised. If the product is resalable, it will be integrated back into the inventory.
parcels being checked in a warehouse on a conveyor belt

The Logistics of Product Returns Management

When returns arrive back at your warehouse, often your logistics teams don’t know what item has been returned, why it was returned, and whether it is re-saleable. It requires digging around for the right information to understand how the product should be processed. With so many customers returning products, this can quickly lead to returns piling up.  With every minute that a return is waiting to be processed, you could be losing money either through resaleable stock not getting back onto the shelves quick enough, or unhappy customers not buying from you again due to an overlong returns process. You need an efficient returns management system with full tracking so that you know when a return is arriving, and the reason for it. Having a logistics plan for returns is both good for your customers, and for keeping your warehouse efficient.

person online shopping

Increasing Sales with a Clear eCommerce Returns Policy

Your returns policy outlines the terms for returning products and a clear and transparent returns policy is a key component of a good customer experience. The most important things your customer wants to know is:

  • How long do they have to submit a return?
  • The range of options for the return and how convenient are they?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Can they exchange an item?
  • How quickly will they receive a refund?
  • Will the return be tracked so the customer knows when it’s been received?

Your returns policy shouldn’t just be an afterthought – it can make or break a sale. 78% of all consumers look at the returns policy before making a purchase. They want to know how easy it would be to return an item to mitigate the risk of buying something they can’t see in person. This is even more key for international customers, with more risk involved buying from an overseas retailer.  Your policy needs to be easily accessible, as a customer may give up a purchase if they are unable to find it. You can also include a hardcopy with the product when shipping to make it even clearer to your customer and avoid any frustrations if they do decide to return it.

man making an online return

Providing a Better Returns Experience for Your Customers

The returns experience can affect whether customers keep coming back to your business. In fact, 73% of consumers said the returns experience affects whether or not they would keep shopping with a brand. The cost of a return to your business doesn’t compare to losing a repeat customer altogether. Customers want an easy to use and quick returns process, so they want to have a range of returns options so they can choose the most convenient method for them. The key thing is that returns aren’t a hassle.  They also want to know when they will get their refund so the process for refunds needs to be as efficient as possible. 88% of customers would limit or stop shopping with a merchant that took too long to process their refund, and 77% are less likely to recommend a retailer if it takes too long. You need to offer customers a quick and easy way to make the return, whilst making sure your internal process is quick to avoid losing customers altogether.

It’s also important to consider your international customers when you are improving your returns experience. Different countries and markets have different preferences. For example, consumers in France mostly prefer a drop off location, whereas in China they prefer parcel lockers. Understanding the markets you are selling in and offering a wide breadth of returns options will ensure your international customers are happy, even if they do have to make a return.

Find out about our global returns portal that enables customers worldwide the ability to process a return in under a minute, with a range of returns options and full tracking.

When it comes to the cost of returns, and deciding whether or not to offer free returns, it’s important to fully understand how much returns impact your bottom line. You must consider the cost of reverse logistics, as well as the man hours your Customer Service and Warehouse teams spend managing returns. 79% of customers won’t purchase from an online store that charges return shipping fees, so if your calculations can make it work then offering free returns may be the best route for your business. Plus, you may get a sales boost from doing this that covers the additional cost to your business.

big parcel being checked on arrival at a warehouse

Provide Full Visibility into eCommerce Returns Through Tracking

Many eCommerce businesses offer transparency for the shipping process, but how many provide the same level for returns? Customers like to know the progress of their return, so that they have a good idea of how long their exchange or refund is likely to take. Consumers say tracking and receipt of return is the most important aspect of the returns process. Full tracking of returns parcels or text / email alerts that their return has been received and/or refunded all make for a seamless returns experience. Plus, tracking the return helps you manage your logistics as you will know when the parcel will arrive at your warehouse so you can get the item(s) back in stock quicker, ready to resell.

woman making an easy online return

GFS Global Returns Pro

GFS Global Returns Pro offers a high-end returns experience without the high-end cost including:

200+ returns options in 195 countries

320,000 global drop-off locations

Localised in 35 languages

Electronic customs declarations for duty relief

Find out how it can help you cut costs, gain control and improve speed of your returns management.

GFS Global Returns Pro

2021-09-02T15:01:33+00:00August 23rd, 2021|

What Is eCommerce Fulfilment and How Does It Work?

When many eCommerce businesses start out, they manage their storage, picking, packing and returns in-house. Whilst the business remains small, this is the most straight forward way to get packages into customers hands. However, as your business grows, the process of picking, packing and sending more and more orders a day can become overwhelming and take your focus away from business growth. You may find yourself needing to offload some of the work, so handing over eCommerce fulfilment to an expert partner is an effective way to save time and money. Even successful well-established businesses can find themselves outgrowing their operation and turning to third-party eCommerce fulfilment services.

But what is eCommerce fulfilment and how does it work? We’re here to answer all your questions!

parcels being delivered

What is eCommerce fulfilment?

eCommerce fulfilment is the process of getting the stock that you sell on your website into the hands of the customer who ordered it. That includes sorting and picking the correct stock, packing it up, and delivery. Some businesses handle this in house, but others may use a third party to take care of it in a fulfilment centre.

woman in a warehouse with high vis jacket and hard hat on

What is a fulfilment centre?

Every fulfilment centre is different, but essentially, it acts as a hub for storing, prepped and shipped. Many fulfilment centres also serve as an eCommerce warehouse to store your stock. Some fulfilment centres all work out of one hub, while others have multiple centres so they can ship to certain areas even quicker. For example, post-Brexit, many businesses in the UK are choosing to move stock to fulfilment centres in Europe. Doing so means they can easily ship to the EU, bypassing the complication of border checks and additional duties and taxes.

Find out about our fulfilment centres in Europe
scanning products for product fulfilment

What is the eCommerce order fulfilment process?

When a customer orders from your website, or any number of platforms you sell from such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Etsy and more, the order goes straight to your eCommerce fulfilment partner. Your provider then picks the correct stock for the order, and then packages them up to be sent. The fulfilment centre will work with you to make sure they’re packaged exactly how you want to protect the product when in transit as well as your brand experience. Once the package is ready to go, its shipped directly to your customer.

Will fulfilment companies help with returns?

Just as they take care of your parcels on the way to their customer, fulfilment companies also process returns for you. This means that any re-saleable stock is quickly back on the fulfilment centre shelves ready to go. They can also process any damaged items, and even take care of the customer service aspect of returns too.

warehouse worker collecting parcels for fulfilment

The difference between drop shipping and fulfilment

Drop-shipping refers to the products you sell being shipped straight from your supplier and never owning the stock you are selling. With a fulfilment centre, you ship them to your fulfilment partner who stores them ready for when you need them. You own the goods at the fulfilment centre, it just gets stored and managed for you. Although drop shipping can come with less investment at first, working with an eCommerce fulfilment partner means you have more control over how your products are picked, packed and shipped – ultimately protecting the customer and brand experience.

How much do eCommerce fulfilment services cost?

As with many of these types of services, the cost of a fulfilment centre is based on the amount of products you wish to store, the size and weight of your products and how much you sell per day on average. For a customised quote for GFS Fulfilment, contact us today. We will be happy to discuss your requirement and how we can help!

woman opening a box happy

When is the right time to find a fulfilment company and how do I choose which one?

There are many reasons you might feel like it’s the right time to work with an eCommerce fulfilment service. You may be struggling to keep up with increased demand or need more space. Maybe delivery and returns costs are spiralling, or the customer experience is suffering. Or you might just want the hassle of fulfilment out of your hands, so you can focus on the more important things like growing your business!

Choosing the right fulfilment partner can be tricky and you need to weigh up their reliability, speed, costs and the types of services they offer.

To find out more about choosing the right partner, read our blog:

When is the right time to look for 3rd party eCommerce fulfilment?

With GFS Fulfilment, you get the best level of service including:

  • Goods in: Double checked for accuracy and reporting of any quality issues

  • Storage: Regularly refurbished and tailored to suit specific product categories
  • Order management: Instant visibility of despatched orders and stock levels
  • Pick and pack: 99.97% picking accuracy and a range of packaging options, from custom bags and boxes to eco-friendly alternatives
  • Shipping: More than 1,000 delivery services from 50 carriers for more delivery options, with full track and trace facility
  • Returns: Full quality-checking on returns and only placed back in stock if re-saleable.

Interested in our eCommerce fulfilment services?

Chat to us today!

2021-08-11T13:51:49+00:00August 11th, 2021|

IOSS, DTP, DDP, DAP…SOS?

IOSS, DTP, DDP, DAP…SOS?

Still confused by EU shipping rules? Here’s what you need to know.

Get in touch

Since the removal of the EU VAT de minimis and introduction of IOSS (Import One Stop Shop), many businesses have been left feeling totally confused by which delivery services they should be using to stop them from falling foul of their new VAT obligations. And whether those services also cover them (or not) for addressing their other obligations, such as import duties, if the goods have been sold and fulfilled from outside of the EU?

Yes, one of the benefits of shipping under IOSS is that parcels are VAT exempt at the border. This means you can avoid significant clearance fees from carriers, and parcels can be sent swiftly on their way to your happy customer without them receiving an unexpected VAT bill. However, with the launch of the VAT changes and implementation of IOSS on 1st July, the reality is that some businesses were simply not quite ready to be able to benefit from these changes.

It’s therefore understandable that many businesses are nervous about shipping to the EU. In fact, when we speak to retailers, we’ve found that some have considered halting sales to the EU for fear of unknowingly sending parcels that are non-compliant. But the EU is our single biggest trading partner making up 43% of the UK’s exports (UKandEU.ac.uk, 2021). So, it’s a market that can’t be ignored especially if you have ambitions to grow sales.

Of course, great effort is being made by all to have everything in place. But this is of little consolation to the 1000s of UK-based sellers who are still getting to grips with post-Brexit shipping requirements, disruption to service levels and higher delivery costs.

In the meantime, the world of cross-border delivery can be a minefield! There are some subtle inconsistencies between carriers in terms of terminology and services – Is it DAP, DTP or DDP? Which carriers offer IOSS services? And what about ROW?

So, what delivery services should you be looking for to overcome compliance hurdles?

The good news is there are options!

1. IOSS

Of course, IOSS is the most simple and cost-effective way to manage your EU VAT compliancy. This electronic portal will give you a single IOSS number for VAT registration in all 27 EU Member States, making it easy to collect, declare and account for VAT in the EU, and pay via a single monthly payment. You will need to provide your IOSS number to your carrier, and parcels will then be VAT exempt at the border for faster Customs clearance. The end customer will also not have to pay anything when they receive their parcel and you, the sender, will not be liable for clearance fees.

What’s the catch?

IOSS can only be used for B2C orders not exceeding €150 and it requires you to appoint an EU-based intermediary so you may need to seek professional tax advice if you don’t know where to start.

Get in Touch

2. DTP – Duties & Taxes Paid

DTP (Duties & Taxes Paid) means that any Duties & Taxes revert to the sender. Typically, they’re paid for by the carrier at Customs and then you will be invoiced by the carrier for payment. Like IOSS, parcels sent under DTP are cleared at Customs and, because the seller is responsible for paying Duties & Taxes, there will not be any further costs incurred by the customer. This is a good option if you send goods valued above the €150 IOSS threshold, or if you haven’t yet got yourself set up with IOSS and want to deliver a friction-free customer experience.

What’s the catch?

Not all carriers offer a DTP option and some only offer it to a few countries, so there is no one-size-fits-all service. You will likely need to use multiple carriers and determine the best service for each parcel on a case-by-case basis.

Get in touch

3. DDP – Delivered Duty Paid

Similar to DTP, DDP means Duties & Taxes are paid by the sender and not the receiver. However, there is a significant difference – DDP requires the sender to be the Importer of Record, which is the person officially responsible for making sure delivery is compliant with all legal regulations in the destination country. However, the Importer of Record also often needs to be tax-registered in the destination country. Some carriers have created their own services whereby the receiver can be the Importer of Record, however this is not a standardised service offered by all carriers.

What’s the catch?

If you do not have an intermediary in the destination country, your parcels may be rejected at the border. Germany, for example, is especially strict in enforcing this and will not clear any DDP parcels if the sender is not tax-registered in Germany. Often, sellers make the mistake of thinking they can send parcels DDP to pay for Duties & Taxes so customers don’t have to, but find parcels aren’t cleared at Customs because their company is not tax-registered in the country.

Get in touch

4. DAP – Delivered At Place (Formerly DDU – Delivered Duty Unpaid)

This is usually the default shipping term and means that the end receiver is responsible for any Duties & Taxes, so your customer will be expected to pay any applicable charges before they can have their parcel delivered.

What’s the catch?

Although perhaps the easiest option, it can have a negative impact on the customer experience and cause a stumbling block for customers who may be concerned about what they’ll be expected to pay. So you may find some customers choose not to buy in the first place, or if they do buy and receive a bill for unexpected costs, may not buy from you again.

Get in touch

Although eCommerce continues to grow at an extremely fast rate, it’s been a tough 18 months for online retailers who have had to navigate the complexities of Covid, Brexit and now the new EU VAT reform. And it’s not easy to keep on top of changing rules and regulations while managing carrier services and costs with variable demand and customer expectations.

One Stop Shop Delivery that’s one of a kind…

In response to this, we’ve updated our GFS International eCommerce Services to cover every possible scenario. GFS International supports delivery worldwide to 220+ countries and territories under ALL shipping terms – IOSS, DTP, DDP and DAP. With 3 service options – Express, Plus and Economy – we can build a tailored international delivery solution that meets the exact needs of your business, whether you have registered for IOSS or not.

1

GFS International Express

GFS van illustration

2

GFS International Plus

3 GFS boxes illustrative style

3

GFS International Economy

With a global network of carrier partners and a team of international delivery experts, GFS can help you decide what to do next.

Talk to us to make sure your EU delivery is compliant and protected.

contact us

2021-08-03T11:07:49+00:00July 12th, 2021|

Selling to the EU just got easier and cheaper!

Selling to the EU just got easier and cheaper…

Whether you intend to use IOSS or not, we can help with your EU delivery and returns.

Get in touch

On 1st July 2021, the €22 VAT threshold (De Minimis) exemption on goods imported to the EU was removed.

This means that ALL commercial goods imported to the EU are now subject to VAT – regardless of value.

Find out the EU Import Customs Requirements

So, what does this mean?

• VAT has to be charged based on the customer’s location
• VAT has to be declared for customs clearance
• VAT returns have to be submitted

You might be thinking that this has made shipping to the EU even more complex, BUT there are ways you can make it easier, here’s how…

VAT EU ecommerce delivery

WEBINAR with InternetRetailing:

Selling to the EU is about to get easier (and cheaper!)

In this webinar, we were joined by SimplyVAT to discuss the new EU VAT requirements and look at how you can make it easier – and cheaper – to ship parcels to and from the EU including:

  • An overview of the new EU rules around VAT
  • What it means to eCommerce sellers
  • Clarity on the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) and its benefits
  • How to apply for a Duty Deferment Account
  • The advantages of one-stop-shop delivery and returns

Bobbie Ttooulis

Group Marketing Director, GFS

Alex Wyatt

Global Projects Manager, SimplyVAT.com

Watch the Webinar

1. Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)

The EU has introduced an electronic portal where you can register to get a single VAT IOSS ID number that applies to distance sales in all 27 EU countries. This will enable you to collect, declare and account for VAT and pay your bill directly to the EU Tax Authorities via a periodic tax return – for goods up to the value of €150*.

This will simplify the collection, declaration, and payment of VAT for distance sales to EU customers and potentially avoid additional carrier fees for VAT clearance.

What are the key benefits of the new IOSS?

• Ease and simplicity: You’ll get a single EU IOSS VAT ID number that will cover VAT registration in all of the 27 EU member states
• A positive experience for customers: Customers will have complete VAT cost transparency at the moment of purchase
• Improved cash flow: VAT payments can be made monthly directly to EU tax authorities

Whether you intend to use IOSS or not, we can help with your EU delivery and returns.

Get in Touch

2. Duty Deferment Account

A Duty Deferment Account allows you to postpone payment of customs duty, excise duty and VAT by up to 46 days so you can pay fees for all shipments once a month by Direct Debit rather than per consignment at the point of import.

This helps shipments clear customs quickly, so parcels can be delivered faster, and it also saves you time and money, and helps you better manage cash flow.

You can apply for a Duty Deferment Account here

3. One Stop Shop Delivery and Returns

As well as the Import One Stop Shop for VAT, GFS can provide everything you need for delivery and returns!

From finding the best and most cost-effective international shipping services, to technology that calculates Duties & Taxes, generates electronic Customs documents and manages paperless global returns – you can get everything you need in one place!

GFS International eCommerce Service

Access the widest network of global carriers through just one dynamic delivery service.

Using super-smart routing technology, we route each parcel to the best performing, cost-effective carrier service. So, all you need to do is choose from 1 of 3 service level options – Express, Plus and Economy – and we do the rest! GFS International eCommerce Services supports all delivery options to the EU and ROW, including Delivered Duty Paid (DDP), Delivered At Place (DAP) and Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)..

find out more

GFS Technology

A complete toolkit of technology solutions that simplifies the complexity of new EU customs processes to take away the pain of cross-border delivery.

GFS Checkout

  • Offers customers a wide range of flexible delivery options at the checkout
  • Automatically calculate Duties & Taxes and supports DDU (Deliver Duty Unpaid) and DDP (Deliver Duty Paid) delivery options

GFS Selector

  • Multi-carrier parcel labelling with automatically generated tracking
  • With Paperless Trade for electronic customs documentation

GFS Global Returns

  • Paperless returns portal with 200+ returns services, 320,000 drop points and 35 languages
  • Electronic customs declarations for inbound duty relief

Want to see our Technology in action? Watch our live demo!

international shipping webinar thumbnail
Watch the Webinar

Want to know more?

Download Ebook

Read our FAQs for more information

FAQs
Download Ebook

Read our FAQs for more information

FAQs

We’re on a mission to make EU selling easier than ever.

For help and advice on shipping to the EU and beyond – Contact us to find out more!

contact us

2021-08-03T11:15:12+00:00July 7th, 2021|

When is the right time to look for 3rd party eCommerce fulfilment?

When is the right time to look for 3rd party eCommerce fulfilment?

Chat to us about your eCommerce Fulfilment
woman in a warehouse with high vis jacket and hard hat on


Outsourcing fulfilment is a big step, but it’s the fastest and most-cost effective way to scale up without committing to extra warehousing or staff, so you can focus on growing your business instead of picking and packing orders. By freeing yourself of this burden, you can use time more effectively, reduce operational costs and deliver an exceptional experience to your customers.

GFS eCommerce GIF

Why outsource eCommerce fulfilment?

Outsourcing fulfilment is a big step, but it’s the fastest and most-cost effective way to scale up without committing to extra warehousing or staff, so you can focus on growing your business instead of picking and packing orders. By freeing yourself of this burden, you can use time more effectively, reduce operational costs and deliver an exceptional experience to your customers.

GFS Logistics and fulfilment
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When is the right time to look for an 3rd party eCommerce fulfilment partner?

It’s time to outsource if:

  • You run out of time to despatch orders in time for your collection
  • You are struggling to find space to store stock
  • Customers complain they have received the wrong product
  • Delivery and returns costs are high
  • Sales have flatlined and you want to accelerate business growth

What should I look for in an eCommerce fulfilment house?

Choosing a fulfilment partner is a difficult but important decision. It’s imperative you trust the team you work with to not only fulfil your orders as well as you do – but even better! So how do you know which is ‘the one’?

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1. Wide range of services

Make sure your fulfilment partner can give you everything you need all under one roof, including goods-in checks, quality assurance, speciality packaging, personalisation, international delivery, multi-carrier tracking and returns. Bear in mind that even if you think you don’t need a specific service, you might do in the future as your business grows.

2. Integrated with you

To make your life as easy as possible, you should be able to integrate your IT systems with the WMS at your fulfilment house, whether this be your eCommerce platform, order management system or marketplaces. This will help you retain visibility and control of your orders, and ensure the experience is seamless for your customers as well.

3. Top facilities

An experienced, professional fulfilment house will invest in the very best equipment and technology to ensure your orders are picked as efficiently and accurately as possible. This should also include high levels of security to ensure your stock is safe, as well as the cleanliness and tidiness of the building itself. Arrange a site visit so you can see for yourself the operation in action.

4. Reliable support and expertise

Your fulfilment partner should feel like an extension of your workbench, which means they should care about your products as much as you do. Do you sell clothes that need to be kept dust and wrinkle free? Do you sell gifts that need wrapping? Do you sell food that needs to be kept cool and dry? Go with your gut; work with an experienced team who offer a personal service that you can trust.

5. Costs

Cost will always be a deciding factor. The purpose of moving to a shared user environment removes fixed overheads, so look for a fulfilment house that only charges you for the space, time and services you use so you never spend more than needed.

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2021-09-07T15:05:15+00:00June 9th, 2021|

How can eCommerce delivery technology help you achieve your business goals?

How can eCommerce delivery technology help you achieve your business goals?

Talk to us about your eCommerce Delivery Tech
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There is much more to delivery technology than just printing labels and tracking parcels. Choosing the right delivery technology can actually help you save time, cut costs and increase productivity.

So how do you know what you should be looking for? We’ve put together the 5 big questions to ask yourself when sourcing new delivery technology to see if it will support your long-term business goals.

1. Can you multi-task and manage the entire customer journey?

You probably already know that consumer expectations are impossibly demanding! But delivery doesn’t just start at despatch and end at the doorstep. You need an eCommerce delivery solution that can simplify and unify the customer experience at every touchpoint – starting at the checkout, moving to parcel despatch, all the way through the delivery journey and finally returns. Traditionally this has required multiple eCommerce delivery solutions; perhaps different eCommerce and marketplace integrations, various carrier labelling platforms and printers and then maybe a separate returns portal. But this only creates complex and disjointed view of your delivery operation. An end-to-end enterprise carrier management platform can increase visibility, accuracy and consistency throughout the customer journey resulting in greater service levels and lower operational costs.

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1. Can you multi-task and manage the entire customer journey?

You probably already know that consumer expectations are impossibly demanding! But delivery doesn’t just start at despatch and end at the doorstep. You need an eCommerce delivery solution that can simplify and unify the customer experience at every touchpoint – starting at the checkout, moving to parcel despatch, all the way through the delivery journey and finally returns. Traditionally this has required multiple eCommerce delivery solutions; perhaps different eCommerce and marketplace integrations, various carrier labelling platforms and printers and then maybe a separate returns portal. But this only creates complex and disjointed view of your delivery operation. An end-to-end enterprise carrier management platform can increase visibility, accuracy and consistency throughout the customer journey resulting in greater service levels and lower operational costs.

Download the Infographic

2. Will it save time and free up resource?

Automation is essential for increasing efficiency and decreasing complexity especially as more channels, countries and carriers are added to the shipping mix. The level of automation you need will depend on your parcel volumes, but there are some key workflows and processes that can be simplified for retailers big and small. For example, by automating address validation, you can ensure that data entered by a customer is correct, which prevents parcels from getting lost or delayed. Automated labelling will speed up despatch and free staff from manually processing shipments. You can even automatically calculate Duties & Taxes and electronic customs documentation to help international parcels whizz through customs. At the end of the day, your eCommerce shipping solutions should make your life easy, so you can put more time and effort into selling and growing your business!

woman holding parcels at Christmas looking at her phone

3. Can your delivery technology adapt to change?

If we’ve learnt anything it’s that you never know what’s round the corner, so your eCommerce delivery needs to be able to keep up with the rapid pace of eCommerce and potential market changes. And that means it needs to be scalable and flexible. Can new carriers be added quickly and easily? Can new channels and marketplaces be supported? Can you ship abroad with ease? Don’t just think about today’s challenges but tomorrow’s opportunities. By future-proofing your choice of delivery technology, you’ll be able to maximise your return of investment and your ability to adapt.

scanning products for product fulfilment

4. Are you able to unlock customer and delivery data insights?

To keep improving and evolving, you need to be able to monitor and analyse what’s happening at every stage of the delivery operation. From pinpointing the bottlenecks to understanding peaks in demand, where you could improve the customer experience and where you could reduce costs, analytics are essential to driving greater efficiency and accuracy. When selecting a new eCommerce delivery solution, make sure it can aggregate data from multiple carriers and sources to provide that all-important 360-degree view.

Woman on her laptop looking at her phone

5. Can you integrate other eCommerce platforms?

eCommerce platforms. Warehouse management systems. Barcode scanners. For seamless omni-channel order fulfilment, delivery solutions need to integrate with all your other processes and tools. And these integrations need to be established and updated easily to avoid expensive development effort. But that’s just the start of the integration challenge. Your delivery platform also needs to be able to connect with carriers’ systems and online marketplaces to enable real-time order updates. By investing in a solution that enables data sharing across internal and external systems, you will be able to provide a richer customer experience.

Selecting a new solution can be an overwhelming and time-consuming at the best of times – it’s a big responsibility!

But it gets even harder when the technology landscape is constantly evolving. By focusing on the business enablers rather than the system features, you’ll be able to stay focused on the needs of your users and your customers.

GFS Enterprise Carrier Management offers a complete technology toolkit that enhances every stage of the delivery journey, from delivery options at the checkout, to labelling, tracking and reporting – across all carriers, countries and sales channels – through one single integration. This gives you everything you need to streamline operational processes, boost productivity and scale as you grow. Click here to find out more.

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Case Study

“We’ve seen cart abandonment rates dramatically reduce and customer satisfaction scores go up”

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Download Ebook
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Case Study

“We’ve seen cart abandonment rates dramatically reduce and customer satisfaction scores go up”

Read case study

2021-09-13T11:58:20+00:00May 17th, 2021|

Life After Lockdown

What do your customers want from online delivery & returns?

It’s time to close the gap…

eCommerce growth is on the rise – in fact, it’s estimated that online shopping will account for 30% of all retail purchases by 2024*, and the recent Covid19 pandemic has only accelerated this growth.

But now is not the time to rest on your laurels. Yes, eCommerce is booming but as we continue to get back to some normality post-Freedom Day, competition will be fierce, and consumers will expect more flexibility and convenience as workers return to offices, children return to schools and busy lives return to normal.

Research shows time and again that, last-mile delivery and returns options directly influence consumers’ decisions to purchase – and purchase again.

According to our Consumer Home Delivery Review with IMRG, almost HALF of all consumers have abandoned a cart because the delivery options on offer weren’t convenient. When it comes to returns, the stakes are even higher with 73% of consumers stating in the recent survey by ZigZag that they would not buy again from a retailer after a bad returns experience.

Retailers who think a ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivery and returns is good enough, do so at their own peril as not only can it end the purchase before the customer has even clicked ‘add to basket’, but it will almost certainly diminish the likelihood of them buying again.

Furthermore, the consumer is not discerning whether they are buying online via your website or from a marketplace – they expect to have the same seamless delivery and returns experience every time, regardless of where they buy from.

It’s clear there is still a very big gap between what consumers expect and want from their online delivery and returns experience – and, what they actually experience.

A Good Delivery Experience = Sales Success!

The convenience of online shopping has piled pressure on retailers to meet (and exceed) ever-more-demanding consumer expectations. Delivery and returns have become key to helping brands stand out and differentiate themselves against competitors – especially on online marketplaces where consumers will directly compare retailers on the same site.

It can feel like there’s a race to the finish line with delivery – it’s either got to be lightning fast or completely free. But you can offer customers something more and something better. What customers really want is convenience and choice. They are looking to have the flexibility to choose the delivery service that causes the least disruption in their day to day lives, whether this be next day, a specific time or day or click and collect at a range of price options – especially as post-Lockdown life will be much busier for consumers!

Offering a choice of delivery options at the checkout can be the difference between a customer completing a sale or abandoning it altogether as 45% of customers say they will abandon a purchase if there is a lack of convenient delivery options**.

It’s also important to give customers transparency as 70% of consumers said the ability to track orders was one of their top three considerations when buying a product online***.

Shine a light on any delivery blind spots by providing consistent notifications and live updates on the progress of their delivery, including if there are any anticipated delays. Letting your customer know in advance prevents the inconvenience of them having to contact you, which also cuts down on the number of inbound customer queries.

The delivery experience doesn’t just affect the first sale, but also repeat sales. 60% of customers would buy again from a retailer if they had a good delivery experience**, proving that getting delivery right can increase customer loyalty and help you grow your business.

Don’t Leave Returns Behind….

As many retailers focus on the importance of delivery, returns continue to be a bit of an afterthought. Yes, they are frustrating and costly but there is a common misconception that making returns too easy can lead to ‘serial returns’ behaviour. However, some 42% of shoppers have returned something in the last 6 months,* so there really is no getting away from returns.

If we think about this differently, a poor returns experience not only prevents future returns but future sales too. And with so many returns taking place on a daily basis, just think how many potential sales that could be if you make the returns process a great one.

78% of consumers consider the quality of a returns service when choosing where to shop and 85% of consumers have a preference of how they would like to make a return^.

Your returns policy can give customers confidence to buy for the first time, while a good returns experience gains trust, repeat purchases and long-term customer loyalty.

In fact, 92% of shoppers who have received a good returns experience make repeat purchases^.

But what are customers looking for when it comes to returns?

With more technology at their fingertips and less time to spare – consumers need returns to be speedy, convenient and simple. Prioritising returns in your day-to-day operations will help save time, money and effort in the long run. The more coherent, time efficient and flexible you can be for your consumers, the more confident they will be to make that repeat purchase.

80% of customers also want confirmation that their parcel has been received for transparency over when they will get their refund or new item^. Companies must adapt to this level of communication and upgrade their technology for consistent and reliable tracking.

How Can Retailers Provide A Seamless Delivery & Returns Experience?

Perfecting the delivery experience isn’t easy, especially during and after a pandemic when customer expectations can shift dramatically from one day to the next. That’s why it’s going to be important to provide the flexibility of a wide range of delivery options with accurate and consistent delivery updates and simple returns – all without additional cost.

Multi-carrier delivery really is at the heart of the solution. Having multiple carriers and delivery services at your fingertips gives you the breadth of service and flexibility to offer customers the choice and convenience they’ve come to expect – as well the contingency to switch services if you need to.

But managing multiple suppliers, and having multiple technologies, can create operational complexity.

At GFS, we take away this pressure by offering access to 1000+ carrier services, all in one place, which means one invoice, one technology platform and one single relationship. With access to the expertise and the technology you need to give your customers choice and transparency, you can perfect the final mile and give your customers the positive experience they’re searching for – now and in the future.

* https://www.retail-insight-network.com/features/uk-online-shopping-growth/

** – GFS/IMRG Consumer Home Delivery Report 2019/20

*** – Global eCommerce Consumer Research Report, 2020

^ – ZigZag Global Returns Study, 2020

see differently and sell more illustrative meme
see differently and make your job easier illustrative meme
2021-08-02T12:24:31+00:00April 8th, 2021|

Do You See eCommerce Delivery Differently?

Customer expectations and buying behaviours are always evolving, with more sales channels available, shorter delivery timeframes expected and new technologies, eCommerce never stands still. This has only been accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, with more people buying more online than ever. This is a good thing as it means never-ending opportunities for your business to grow. However, this also brings fierce competition and operational pressures and challenges. How are customers currently rating your delivery and returns capabilities? How can you de-risk and protect delivery? Are you using multiple carriers? The likelihood is that you are, which is great! But this usually also means multiple printers, numerous label formats and countless hours of administration. And that’s not all. There are also various technology integrations to manage, which often results in a disjointed and fragmented view of your overall operation. There is an easier way – it’s time to see delivery differently.

Increase sales everywhere

Growing your business financially and geographically is no easy feat. First you need to meet and exceed the expectations of your customers domestically, then you have to identify and fulfil the requirements of customers abroad too. The businesses that will see significant growth and success, will be those that truly understand what their customers want, and have the operational flexibility and agility to scale and adapt along the way.

When it comes to delivery, giving customers what they want really comes down to choice. It’s almost impossible to satisfy the needs of every single customer, and what one person might expect from delivery will be different to another. With the right multi-carrier approach, you can offer the breadth and range of delivery options needed to give customers the power to choose for themselves. This is what will help you meet and exceed customer expectations, no matter what they may be, to make you the first-choice retailer every time.

Make warehouse operations easier

eCommerce businesses are under increasing pressure to make online shopping, and delivery, as easy and convenient as possible, almost to the point where it’s not possible at all. This, along with the hike in demand, only adds to the strain on operational staff and the ‘do-ers’ within the business to maintain service levels. But, there is a way to work smarter and more efficiently.

By unifying multiple carriers into a single multi-carrier platform and automating previously manual tasks, your warehouse staff can immediately free-up time and maximise their capabilities – enabling them to consistently protect service levels. What was once a frightfully complex process is now a simple and effective procedure – enabling the scalability to grow in line with your business’ and customers’ requirements. By combining the best in services, technology, and industry expertise, you can maximise your staff and operations to handle any growth or peak period.

Joined-up multi-carrier management

At GFS, we combine our expertise and services with innovative technology to help you turn your multi-carrier processes into your competitive advantage. Our innovative solutions enable you to provide customers with delivery and returns options that make their buying decisions easier and more frequent, and we help streamline and simplify your delivery operations across the globe.

So, if you want to see delivery differently and thrive in this ever-changing world, pick one of the topics below to find out more…

see differently and sell more illustrative meme
see differently and make your job easier illustrative meme
2021-08-02T10:05:25+00:00February 11th, 2021|

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Sell More

Did you know that according to IMRG, lack of choice of delivery is the 2nd highest reason for cart abandonment, after cost of purchase?

This just shows how many sales are lost because of delivery – but it’s an easy thing to put right!

There’s a common misconception in online retail that consumers want delivery that’s fast or free.

But in our experience, retailers that offer a wide choice of delivery see around 16% more basket conversions! It all comes down to convenience…

How can your delivery help your customers buy more easily and more frequently?

Put your customer in the driver’s seat

It’s simple, give your customers the power to choose!

Remember one size doesn’t fit all, some customers like to choose a specific day, or a time, or Click & Collect, and customer preferences can change order to order.

The trick is to make sure that delivery doesn’t cause customers to think twice, and to remove any reasons why a customer might abandon their cart. Offering a range of delivery options means the customer can personally select the one that’s most convenient for them, so they can buy confidently, easily and more frequently.

How can you simplify cross-border shipping and expand global sales?

There is plenty of opportunity for global growth, but one thing is for sure, shipping cross-border isn’t straightforward, especially now that we’ve left the EU. Complex customs processes, high shipping costs and lack of local knowledge can all put businesses off from actively targeting to customers overseas. If this is you, there is an easier way.

Using one multi-carrier delivery provider puts you in the unique position of having access to knowledge and expertise of the entire carrier market worldwide, so they can recommend the best carrier services for you and support you in understanding cross-border regulations. This will take the hard work out of cross-border delivery, helping you to ship to new countries easily and cost-effectively.

Equally, many consumers hesitate to buy from sellers abroad due to concerns around shipping times, costs and customs charges. You might want to consider a DDP (Deliver Duty Paid) option or a Duties & Taxes calculator to show customers the full cost of any additional customs charges. This will give customers peace of mind from the outset so they have confidence to buy, no matter where they are in the world.

Go paperless with returns

78% of consumers look at the returns policy when choosing where to shop, so it’s clear that returns can have as much of an impact on sales as delivery. If consumers are unsure about a returns policy they’re unlikely to take a risk and will shop elsewhere.

Paperless returns are quickly becoming the industry standard and it’s easy to see why. It’s the easiest way to offer customers a wider range of returns services, including exchange options, to for greater flexibility and convenience. It also allows for faster refunds, because you can see what items are being returned and why, before they arrive back at goods in. All of this creates a smooth and seamless customer experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

Helping eCommerce businesses see success

At GFS, we combine our expertise and services with innovative technology to help you turn your multi-carrier approach into your competitive advantage. We can help you streamline and simplify your delivery operations to meet the needs of customers across the globe – and empower you to sell more.

To test your current readiness and capabilities, take one of our quizzes now…

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Your shipping and despatch
2021-08-02T10:05:27+00:00February 11th, 2021|

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Make Your Job Easier

We all want to work for a successful, growing business. But with growth comes pressure to fulfil demand, with ever-changing customer expectations, sales channels and international regulations, which only adds to operational complexity. There’s also the added challenge of ensuring you have effective contingency plans to deal with peak periods or times of unexpected change. Efficiency is critical to ensure you can scale to sustain this growth long-term. But how can you keep delivery simple, when it only seems to be getting more complicated?

Multiple carriers shouldn’t mean multiple technologies

To get the range of delivery options you need to meet the needs of your customers, you’ve likely opted to use multiple carriers for shipping. But this means you may be dealing with multiple printers, labels and processes. You might also have various technology integrations to deal with, which crucially results in a disjointed and fragmented view of your overall operation.

So, what’s the best plan? The answer is simple – embrace multi-carrier technology. By consolidating all your carriers into a single multi-carrier platform, you still get all the advantages of multi-carrier shipping, but you can despatch all your parcels through one system. This offers one centralised system which will streamline your processes so you can do things faster, increase the productivity of your warehouse staff and free up precious man-hours to focus on more business-critical tasks.

Support global growth with expert support

Shipping internationally presents many operational challenges – what are the best carriers and most cost-effective services for each market? What customs duties need to be paid? Are there specific trade regulations to consider? It’s fair to say cross-border delivery isn’t easy!

Especially now that we’ve left the EU, eCommerce businesses should be prepared for continued disruption and changes to cross-border trade. Carriers have reported delays at the borders and have been known to switch services on/off at the drop of a hat. A global multi-carrier delivery partner can help you stay abreast of regulatory developments as they happen, and offer industry insight, breadth of service and technology automation to take the hard work out of cross-border delivery.

Have a ‘Plan B’ when you need it most

Peak is the busiest, and most lucrative, event in the eCommerce calendar. But it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make it happen. Lots of customers depend on you, and your carriers, to get their orders to them on time.

While you can do everything possible to plan and prepare, if we’ve learnt anything in recent times, it’s that we never know what’s round the corner. What’s your plan when things go wrong? Can you switch carriers quickly and easily? Can you get extra vehicle capacity if orders overtake your forecasts? Do you know what other options are available to you?

At GFS, we combine our expertise with innovative technology to help you streamline your multi-carrier approach, maximise your resources and give you contingency, both at peak times and throughout the rest of the year. From the latest tech to global capabilities, we’ve got your back.

To test your current readiness and capabilities, take one of our quizzes now…

e commerce delivery
international markets
2021-08-02T10:05:30+00:00February 11th, 2021|
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