parcel hub

Over the last decade the parcel delivery sector has had to evolve to meet the needs of a changing B2C sector, bought on by sharper Christmas peaks, promises of “free” delivery by retailers and, most recently, Black Friday sales.

But what do those in the sector think will be the biggest challenge in 2015? The Hub asked a few of the major industry players about what this year is set to bring.

Stuart Hill, chief executive of parcel carrier software firm wnDirect, said the industry has seen a shift towards loyalty schemes, whereby retailers offer their customers an annual or monthly fee for unlimited deliveries- such as Amazon's Prime initiative. He believes more retailers will adopt loyalty schemes like this  in 2015.

“This enables the retailer to understand their revenue as well as their cost base whilst keeping their customers happy,” explained Hill.

Offering consumers flexibility and convenience will also remain another key part of parcel carriers’ service this year, said CitySprint chief executive Patrick Gallagher, particularly in terms of technology.

DPD has so far this year revealed plans to open its own network of parcel shops and increase the scope of its Predict service, while Hermes plans on introducing two-hour delivery windows and  expanding its international service into more locations.

“We believe that flexibility and convenience will be the cornerstones of parcel delivery in 2015, and we’re committed to investing in the platforms and services that will allow us to improve standards internally and across the industry,” said CitySprint’s Gallagher.

Dionne Redpath, sales and branch network director at Europa Worldwide Logistics, has said the sector has enjoyed buoyant volumes this year so far and suggested that this is set to continue.

“2015 is off to a fantastic start for the parcel delivery sector. Expanding e-commerce, online shopping over Christmas and the January sales have jump-started the sector in what looks set to be a buoyant year for the market,” she said.

“New players are coming to market with new services and as the retail market grows for our customers, so does the line haul service we offer,” she added.

With 2015’s peak season predicted to look similar to that of 2014, with flash sales like the Black Friday weekend creating a shorter and sharper peak, it looks like carriers have quite a job on their hands if they are to meet the needs of today’s growing consumer base.