News and Blogs

Want to know the latest GFS news and blogs?

Get insight into eCommerce and consumer trends plus opinion and advice for optimising order fulfilment, despatch and delivery.

See what we’ve been up to and read about us in the press, plus also get information about fuel surcharges, carrier schedules and more.

GFS Customer Services Peak Opening Hours

DayDateDesciptionCustomer Care Hours
Friday
23.12.220830-1800
Saturday24.12.22Christmas Eve0900-1600
Sunday
25.12.22Christmas DayClosed
Monday26.12.22Boxing DayClosed
Tuesday27.12.22Bank Holiday (Boxing Day)0900-1500 - Inbound queries only
Wednesday28.12.220830-1800
Thursday29.12.220830-1800
Friday30.12.220830-1800
Saturday31.12.22New Years Eve0900-1600
Sunday01.01.23New Years DayClosed
Monday02.01.23Bank Holiday (New Years Day)Closed
Tuesday03.01.23Normal hours
2023-01-25T16:37:07+00:00December 21st, 2022|

Peak Bulletin: Issue 5

Peak Bulletin 2022

Gauging the Pulse of eCommerce Delivery

Issue #5

The Peak Bulletin puts together unique insights on carrier updates, industry happenings and parcel volumes based on GFS proprietary data.

This year, we’ve taken it up a notch to share a wider perspective on what’s happening with guest commentary from industry experts.

INSIDER INSIGHT

GFS data perspective on parcel volumes and delivery performance across the industry

VOLUMES: PUMPED UP OR TONED DOWN?

Data on parcel volumes — are numbers up to or above expectations and industry forecasts, or have they caved under the excruciating uncertainties of 2022?

Week 50 volume remained consistent with the parcel count in weeks 48 and 49, and reflected a similar trading pattern to previous years.

Royal Mail strikes on Wednesday, 14th December and Thursday, 15th December again resulted in increased parcel volume from SME’s and impact on carrier service performance. Carriers are actively restricting any new parcel volume to protect existing network capacity.

Several carriers have now brought forward the date of their last collection dates to support a Christmas delivery – the cut-offs that are now being advised by some carriers are aligned to Royal Mail’s own cut-off times.

Snow and Ice was also reported as having a major impact on delivery performance in some regions last week.

RETAIL ROUND-UP

The “mood” of digital shoppers this week and how it’s driving performance metrics across product categories.

Strong growth continues across the week in the fashion sector; and while gifting had seen a slower-than-expected start to peak, volumes have kicked in over the last one week up to the forecast trading levels.

It is expected that there will also be strong promotional activity with a final push on Christmas sales at the start of the week and retailers then quickly switching offers to start end-of-season sales early.

CARRIER WATCH

The pressure is ON for parcel deliveries — how are carriers faring in the race to the customer’s doorstep?

Overall, very strong deliveries over the last weekend have helped to further reduce volumes across the carrier networks.

There has been increase in Next Day shipping to the service delivery mix, which is consistent with previous years in that both consumers and retailers favour a next day delivery service to protect against the risk of any network delay.

The final delivery week before Christmas is once again expected to be challenging as carriers have to mitigate the risk of increased volumes due to Royal Mail.

PEAK PANORAMA

Q&A With Our Guest Expert – We spoke with Senior Supply Chain Leader Jim Higginson, (former Senior Director of Logistics and Customer Fulfilment, Huda Beauty) addresses the rising cost of returns the industry currently faces

Returns processes need to be operationally viable without disrupting current customer expectations. Make sure your returns processes are clearly articulated on your website. Work with your Customer Service teams to make the returns process as slick as possible. For instance, ensuring that prepaid returns labels or collections are centrally arranged and managed by the CS team, and the return logged so there is some form of approval process.. Also make sure you try to use the parcel carriers you are also using for your outbound to keep the volume and therefore costs down.

I would also work on the returns processing within the warehouse so that you can ensure that any credit that is given can be checked on the return arriving back and fed back to the Customer service team if there are issues. A good starting point to minimise non-faulty returns is making sure that product pictures and descriptions are accurate on the website.

Whether you as a brand absorb the cost of non-faulty returns or pass it on back to the consumers will depend upon your industry. My personal view is that free returns for consumers can be a very valuable selling tool as long as you have some control on the return coming back. A sensible level of returns can then be built into your cost of sales. Returns can be fiddly and therefore labour intensive to solve so finding the right experienced shipping partner for both outbound and returns is crucial.

Jim Higginson, Senior Supply Chain Leader

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

According to IMRG, November came in above expectation with sales volumes, with flat growth but still ahead of growth rates for 2022, where every month has been negative. It is slightly surprising that demand increased when it has been so low for the whole year.

Volume may have been pulled forward, with people doing their Christmas shopping earlier this year to take advantage of discounts to a greater extent than normal.

The first-ever football World Cup in the winter was expected to cannibalise Black Friday and Christmas sales, but digital shoppers kept on with their shopping — whether it was from an early out for England and Wales, or just in a bid to bag the best deals remains a question mark.

Carriers have managed to reduce delays amidst weather challenges and Royal Mail strike impact, but the uphill task continues with more volume from upcoming Royal Mail strikes on 23rd and 24th December.

What also packs up on the pile of retailers’ and carriers’ rising challenges is managing reverse logistics in the weeks ahead.

Watch this space for more information on lessons learned over Peak.

Looking to transform your Returns Management?

GFS Global Returns Pro is a fast, affordable way to:

  • Offer customers 200+ global returns options in 195 countries
  • Localise returns in 35+ languages
  • Present instant exchange options
  • Get a single view of all inbound stock and returns data
  • Get returns back in stock faster

2023-02-01T14:58:26+00:00December 19th, 2022|

2022 Christmas Carrier Schedule

GFS Christmas Carrier Schedule
AmazonDHL ParcelDPDDPD LocalDX 1 ManDX 2 ManEvriTuffnells
Sunday
18th December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service - Last shipping Day for 2 Day serviceNormal Service
Monday
19th December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service
Tuesday
20th December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service - Last shipping Day for Next Day serviceNormal Service
Wednesday
21st December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service - Last day for delivery before ChristmasNormal ServiceNormal Service
Thursday
22nd December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceLast day for Next Day delivery before ChristmasNormal ServiceNormal ServiceLast day for Next Day delivery before Christmas
Friday 23th DecemberNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service
Christmas Eve Saturday
24th December
Delivery and pre-booked collections onlyDelivery onlyNormal ServiceNormal ServiceSaturday Service Premium delivery onlyClosedNormal ServiceSaturday Service Premium delivery only
Christmas Day Sunday
25th December
ClosedClosedClosedClosedClosedClosedClosedClosed
Boxing Day Monday
26th December
ClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyClosed
Tuesday 27th DecemberDelivery and pre-booked collections onlyPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyClosed
Wednesday 28th DecemberNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceClosedNormal ServiceNormal Service
Thursday
29th December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceLast collection day for Next Day Delivery before New YearClosedNormal ServiceLast collection day for Next Day Delivery before New Year
Friday
30th December
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceClosedNormal ServiceNormal Service
New Years Eve Saturday
31st December
Delivery and pre-booked collections onlyDeliveries OnlyDelivery onlyDelivery onlySaturday Service Premium delivery onlyClosedNormal ServiceSaturday Service Premium delivery only
New Years Day Sunday 1st JanuaryClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyClosed
Monday
2nd January
Delivery and pre-booked collections onlyPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyPre planned collections onlyClosedClosedPre planned collections onlyClosed
Tuesday
3rd January
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service - No Scottish DeliveriesNormal Service - No Scottish DeliveriesNormal ServiceNormal Service - No Scottish Deliveries
Wednesday
4th January
Normal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal ServiceNormal Service
2022-11-30T10:50:42+00:00November 30th, 2022|

GFS International: Final Posting Dates for Christmas Delivery

GFS International PLUS IOSS & DDU

Date received by GFSCountry
2nd DecRest of the World
5th DecAustralia & New Zealand
8th DecCanada
8th DecCzech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland
9th DecSweden, Finland, Denmark
13th DecPortugal, Spain, Italy
15th Dec Germany, Netherlands, Ireland IOSS, Belgium, Austria & France
15th Dec USA
19th DecIreland DDU

Economy IOSS & DDU

Date received by GFSCountry
30th NovRest of the World
3rd DecAustralia, New Zealand
5th Dec USA
7th DecAfrica, South America, Asia, Far East, Middle East
8th DecCyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden
15th Dec Austria, Denmark , France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
16th Dec Belgium, Luxembourg

Economy Untracked DDU

Date received by GFSCountry
30th NovRest of the World
3rd DecAustralia, New Zealand
5th Dec USA
7th DecAfrica, South America, Asia, Far East, Middle East
8th DecCyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden
15th DecAustria, Denmark , France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland
16th Dec Belgium, Luxembourg
2022-01-05T16:42:22+00:00December 9th, 2021|

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

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

online shopping - man holding credit card whilst shopping online

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.

What does multi-carrier technology look like?

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!

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.

Want to make sure you have delivery contingency when you need it most?

From analytics to automation: what’s the outlook for delivery technology?

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.

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.

Want to know more?

luxury legs logo

Case Study

“GFS technology has helped us cut despatch time by 50%”

2022-05-17T09:16:57+00:00May 17th, 2021|

Life After Lockdown

Life After Lockdown: What Will Customers Want From Delivery – GFS

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.

woman opening a parcel happily

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.

Offer more delivery options at checkout

man wrapping his parcel up to be returned

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 a returns management portal could help you save and make money with returns 

parcel being scanned in a warehouse

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.

Single access to 1000+ services across 200+ destinations

Talk to us about delivery & returns

see differently and sell more illustrative meme
see differently and make your job easier illustrative meme

Sources:

* 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

2022-03-24T10:12:27+00:00April 8th, 2021|

Do You See eCommerce Delivery Differently?

Do You See eCommerce Delivery Differently?

hand holding light bulb

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.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

people working in a warehouse

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.

Access to 1000+ service options with our multi-carrier services

delivery van being filled

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…

Delivery contingency when you need it most

Talk to us about eCommerce delivery

see differently and sell more illustrative meme
see differently and make your job easier illustrative meme

2022-03-24T11:29:31+00:00February 11th, 2021|

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Sell More

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Sell More

woman on a laptop

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.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

man filling delivery van

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.

Access to 1000+ service options with our multi-carrier services

hands on a computer

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.

people working in a warehouse

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…

Delivery contingency when you need it most

Talk to us about eCommerce delivery

international markets
Your shipping and despatch

2022-03-24T12:01:25+00:00February 11th, 2021|

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Make Your Job Easier

See eCommerce Delivery Differently and Make Your Job Easier

man on a computer in a shop with parcels around him

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?

person scanning parcels in a warehouse

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.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

hands holding a globe

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.

Access to 1000+ service options with our multi-carrier services

woman on the phone looking relieved

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…

Delivery contingency when you need it most

Talk to us

e commerce delivery
international markets

2022-03-24T12:31:41+00:00February 11th, 2021|

Gearing up your eCommerce delivery for success in 2021

Gearing up your eCommerce delivery for success in 2021

woman on a computer happy

Gearing up your eCommerce delivery for success in 2021

Covid, Brexit, Peak – it’s fair to say 2020 was an eventful year with some big lessons learnt.

The first being that you never know what’s around the corner, and as we continue to live with Covid and get to grips with life after Brexit, we’re starting off 2021 looking ahead to a future that’s as unpredictable as ever.

2020 was massive for eCommerce. As consumers were forced to step away from the high street for the first time, eCommerce reigned supreme with consumers shopping online more than ever before.

In fact, in the UK 30% of all retail sales were online, compared to 20% in 2019. So it’s clear that Covid has accelerated eCommerce growth faster than anyone was prepared for. This really tested the resilience of retailer supply chains. Retailers and carriers were left with a bottleneck of delays, struggling to deliver orders to customers and fulfil demand.

And now we’ve entered Lockdown 3.0, and we’ve finally left the EU too, who knows what this year will bring.

The retailers that will not just survive, but really thrive this year, will be those that have taken heed of what they’ve learnt from 2020 and built the necessary contingency and agility into their delivery operation to adapt to ongoing change.

So, what can we learn from 2020 and how can you continue to deliver a consistent customer delivery experience no matter what?

people in a relaxed office chatting

1. Switch to a single multi-carrier partner

At the beginning of lockdown, carriers were overwhelmed, running over-capacity most days, and if this happens, it means they can stop collections and refuse parcels. At Christmas, carriers were operating at 90%+ capacity on most days, even 100% at times. This is not uncommon, and we see this often during peak sales periods. On the other hand, we’ve even seen major carriers go into administration at crucial times of the year.

If your carriers come up against any problems, your parcels can’t go anywhere, which just creates a traffic jam of customer orders and a cycle of delays. A single multi-carrier partner can help you easily switch carrier services if you need to, without any new contracts or integration work, so you know you always have a plan B.

It’s also the easiest way to give customers the choice and convenience they seek. 45% of customers will abandon their cart if there is a lack of delivery options. Using a multi-carrier partner gives you instant access to a wide range of options, such as same day, next day, nominated day or click and collect, all in one place so customers can choose convenience every time.

Access to 1000+ service options with our multi-carrier services

2. Streamline processes with a single multi-carrier technology platform

It’s important to protect your business from the inside out by streamlining internal systems and processes to maximise efficiencies and productivity. Just as you can consolidate your carrier services with a single multi-carrier partner, you can do the same with your despatch software.

Multi-carrier software gives you control and visibility of all parcels across all carriers to all destinations, so you can label, ship, track and trace orders all with a single integration and process.

Not only can give yourself in-the-moment flexibility and switch carrier services quickly and easily, but you can future-proof delivery and add new carrier services without any heavy integration work or additional costs. So, no matter what happens, you can adapt delivery at any time to meet the needs of your customers, operational capacity, delivery performance, budget – and avert a potential crisis too.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

brexit puzzle

3. Prepare for the Brexit effect

While the UK has now left the EU and the beginnings of a trade agreement have been announced, we still have a long way to go. eCommerce businesses have to be prepared for continued change and disruption to cross-border trade, and in particular, shipments to/from the EU.

We’ve seen this already this year, with some carriers temporarily suspending some services to the EU due to delays at our ports and borders.

If you have a large customer-base in the EU, or have plans to expand to Europe, check you have all the required information and documentation. Shipping to the EU now requires a Customs Declaration plus evidence of the country of origin, as well as an EORI number. You may also wish to open a Duty Deferment account so you parcels can pass through customs quickly and smoothly.

Additionally, moving part of your fulfilment operation to the EU could help you avoid the cost and complexity of border controls and customs documentation altogether. This means your suppliers can deliver to your EU warehouse or fulfilment centre, and you can deliver from this location directly to your EU customers for faster shipping and a more seamless delivery experience. This will reduce the risk of delays and costs, as well as provide a base to continue growing your business in EU countries.

An expert global delivery partner will keep you updated with Brexit developments as they happen and proactively support you in implementing process changes in advance, so you’re always prepared to continue servicing your EU customers with minimal disruption.

Confused by EU shipping rules?

4. Improve Returns Efficiency

As lockdown boosted home delivery, this inevitably also led to an increase in returns.

But returns have a direct impact on the bottom line – in fact they cost UK retailers a whopping £60bn a year! (ZigZag, 2020)

With 89% of consumers checking the returns policy before making a purchase (UPS – “Pulse of the Online Shopper), retailers can’t afford to leave returns to chance. But retailers will need to manage the customer experience with operational cost – and this all comes down to efficiency.

A paperless returns portal (like GFS Global Returns Pro) can help you give customers the choice of returns options they’re looking for to clinch the sale. Electronic returns also offer better visibility of what’s being returned and why, so returns can be processed faster and goods can be returned to stock faster to help recover costs more quickly.

Returns management made simple

man scanning parcels

Make 2021 your year!

eCommerce is booming and as we enter another national lockdown, we’re expecting to see volumes soar again.

So while there’s plenty of demand, the challenge will be in ensuring your delivery operation is robust enough to fulfil this demand, from checkout to doorstep and back again, so you can secure every sale and give customers the confidence you’ll deliver every time they order again.

While customers were understanding of the longer transit times in lockdown 1.0, almost a year on consumer patience is wearing thin and the retailers that come out on top will be those that have taken the opportunity to build contingency into their supply chains.

GFS is here to offer you support and contingency whenever you need it. As one of the biggest buyers of carriage in the UK, we can offer instant access to 1000+ different global carrier services, plus our scale and influence means we find solutions fast. Whether this be escalating parcel exceptions, finding extra vehicle capacity or switching carrier services entirely – we can help you run business as usual, day after day, no matter what.

Click here to see how we could help you build your contingency plan in 2021.

Join us for our latest webinar with Tamebay: Gearing up your eCommerce Delivery for success in 2021

We’re coming out of our bunkers to see how eCommerce delivery survived the tsunami of Peak, Brexit and COVID – and to ask ourselves, what on earth happened and, most importantly, how do you gear up your eCommerce delivery for success in 2021?

Find out by registering for our webinar at 11am on Wednesday 27th January 2021!

Registering for our webinar

Talk to us

2022-03-24T14:07:02+00:00January 8th, 2021|

What does multi-carrier technology look like?

What does multi-carrier technology look like?

man holding a parcel and checking his phone

What are the key pieces of eCommerce technology needed for a multi-carrier delivery operation?

Make your shipping easy with multi-carrier technology

Thanks to customers’ continuous demand for choice and convenience (in both delivery and returns) you need to be operating at an optimum level. Add to this, the growing numbers of online marketplaces, omnichannel retail, and the need to provide in-flight delivery options, and it’s clear you need to be going above and beyond like never before. You’re no doubt already using multiple carriers to meet your customers’ needs, but this in itself presents challenges and complexity. Not even mentioning the technical integrations and multiple technologies, you’re probably finding that you have a disjointed and fragmented view of your operations. So, what is the solution? Well, given that a failure to provide customer satisfaction in today’s world can quickly result in bad reviews on sites like Trustpilot, you need to act fast.

With this in mind, what are the key pieces of technology you should look for to make multiple carrier and multi-channel shipping easy?

digitally signing for a parcel

A complete solution

There is a variety of shipping and dispatch technologies that will ultimately meet most of your needs, but they lead to a disconnection in your process, and let’s be honest… headaches. So, what you need to do is choose a comprehensive solution that requires just one easy integration that can then be added to with simple bolt-ons. This approach allows you to ‘join the dots’ in your shipping and dispatch processes and make your entire operation faster and smarter. Look for a complete solution that provides the following capabilities…

online shopping cart

1.   Point of sale

Give your customers better delivery choice and reduce cart abandonment with a delivery options plugin. Using intelligent shipping rules, the tech presents personalised delivery options at the checkout – maximising the customer experience and winning you sales. An innovative Duties and Taxes calculator will also help you decide if you want to combine duties and taxes in the cost, or let the customer choose to pay now or on delivery.

tracking a delivery on your phone

2.  Consolidate order data

Channel connector technology pulls orders from your various sales channels and extracts tracking data. You can then automatically return tracking information to your customers, no matter which sales channel they buy from. This untangles the complex flow of orders from multiple sales channels, connecting them together to unify the despatch and delivery experience.

warehouse label printer printing labels

3.  Label Production

An agile despatch platform optimises and streamlines your despatch operation, offering carrier-compliant label printing at a rate of up to 50,000 labels an hour, with automated parcel routing. This helps you get your orders out the door fast with full traceability, and ensures you send every parcel with the most suitable and economical carrier service.

man in warehouse scanning parcels on a conveyor

4.  Track and trace

A multi-carrier tracking portal provides maximum transparency and control of your shipments. Track every parcel you send in one place and raise queries to action with a built-in actions manager feature.

woman checking her laptop

5.  Analytics

With your very own delivery dashboard, you can gain a holistic view of all your shipping data, including parcel volumes, distribution across carriers, geographical locations, carrier performance and queries resolved. This enables you to make better-informed and smarter decisions in future.

customer services

6.  Customer service

Designed specifically for companies with customer service teams handling parcel issues, the latest technology empowers the team to proactively manage parcel exceptions quickly and effectively through direct contact with carriers and consignees, to reduce inbound customer queries and exceed consumer expectations.

woman annoyed about having to make a return

7.  Returns

Returns can be a horrendous drain on resource, which is why a self-serve customer portal is the next step in delivery automation. Customers can not only choose the returns service that’s most convenient, but it also takes away back-end processing that can be costly and cumbersome.

8.  Invoice reconciliation

With the right plug-ins, you can receive automated invoice analysis that evaluates charges in comparison to expected costs. The software highlights any incorrect charges, anomalies and unexpected surcharges against your agreed tariffs to ensure you never spend more than you should.

We bet you never thought that this level of capability was possible in one solution – but it is. Now, think about how much easier and streamlined your operations would be if you could do all these things via one technology at your business.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

Simplify your shipping with GFS

At GFS, we combine our expertise and vast range of services with the latest in innovative technology to provide you all the tools you need for a complete, enterprise-level multi-carrier approach. From checkout to labelling and from dispatch through to tracking and reporting, we deliver an ‘all in one’ delivery solution. The technology is easy to integrate, simplifies dispatch and boosts warehouse efficiency, making your job easier without the need for additional resource.

You can get all of this and more with GFS Enterprise Carrier Management technology.

Talk to us

2022-03-24T14:59:47+00:00December 4th, 2020|

Outlook for eCommerce delivery technology

Outlook for eCommerce delivery technology

man leaning over computer and parcels working

From analytics to automation: what’s the outlook for delivery technology?

Technology moves so fast and much of it we now take for granted, for example mobile phones, Bluetooth earpieces and universal translators.

It might be some time before packages can be beamed straight into our homes by a transporter, but the way we ship and receive goods is going to be unrecognisable in a couple of years. And resistance is futile!

From drones leaving packages in customers’ gardens to autonomous vans making deliveries, technology is going to transform the despatch world. Although these ideas are still some way from becoming reality, other technologies are already having a big impact on how deliveries are logged, assigned, labelled and tracked. And it’s having an even bigger impact on the efficiency, accuracy and agility of shipping services.

woman in a warehouse checking her systems on a computer

Harnessing the power of automation and analytics

So what are the top trends and technologies that can make a difference to your business? First up, automation. A lot of despatch processes and workflows are already subject to a degree of automation. For example, Luxury Legs uses GFS Selector to automate the printing of parcel labels across all its sales channels and carriers. This has helped to cut despatch time by 50% and free up valuable resource.

But this is just the first chapter in the automation story – things are about to get even smarter. Worldwide spending on AI and process automation is expected to top $15.4 billion by 2021, with robots playing an increasingly important role in warehouse and logistics operations.

As more processes become automated, the easier it becomes to capture data at every stage of the customer experience. And that’s where the next trend comes in: analytics. Industry experts predict that worldwide revenue for big data and business analytics solutions will top $274.3 billion by 2022.

Analytics equal insights, and insights drive innovation and improvement, which will be increasingly important as merchants ship to more customers across more borders.

Mamas & Papas has already witnessed first-hand the power of analytics. By using GFS Reportor, it has been able to tap into key analytics, such as parcel volumes, geographical split and carrier performance, to help ensure performance levels are met. As a result, it’s seen a 10% increase in customer satisfaction and a 15% increase in the speed of despatch.

Multi-carrier eCommerce technology with a one-time integration

woman online shopping at home surrounded by parcels

Giving delivery a personal touch

Richer analytics can not only help optimise internal processes but also personalise customer experiences. Consumers increasingly want to be treated as an individual at every stage of the buying cycle – and that includes delivery. More than 70% of customers expect you to understand their needs and expectations and more than 60% expect you to adapt based on their actions and behaviour.

Personalisation has already started to influence the shipping process. Let’s look at Mamas & Papas again: it uses GFS Checkout’s intelligent rules engine to personalise the delivery options presented to its customers based on the size of their order and their location.

For a retailer to remain competitive, this type of personalisation needs to be delivered at scale and at speed. Around 70% of customers use multiple channels to start and complete a single transaction. To ensure they receive a unified eCommerce experience, personalisation needs to be an omni-channel affair.

Access to 1000+ service options with our multi-carrier services

scanning parcels

Maximum innovation for minimum investment

Delivery technologies and trends are evolving all the time, which means today’s brainchild could be tomorrow’s white elephant. As a result, developing and maintaining IT solutions and skills in-house can prove costly and risky.

By partnering with a specialist solutions provider, retailers can tap into the latest despatch innovations without having to make any capital investment.

Delivery contingency when you need it most

Talk to us

Why not find out more about how GFS can help you leverage the latest delivery technologies?

2022-03-24T15:38:16+00:00December 4th, 2020|
Go to Top