In the absence of lockdowns and following the e-commerce boom of the pandemic, Royal Mail are gearing up to support their customers through a busy Christmas.
Between doorstep returns collections, adding new capabilities to their app, and trialing Sunday deliveries, it’s the carrier’s trusted reputation and range of services that retailers continue to cite as central to their offering.
“Customers 100% trust Royal Mail,” said Hotel Chocolat’s director of ecommerce Martin Bell.
“You get familiar with your local postman or woman and having that same person deliver is added confidence.”
The pandemic catalysed a shift to online spending that many retailers, including Hotel Chocolat, predict to stay this Christmas. For that reason, flexible delivery and convenient returns options are more important than ever.
Hotter Shoes, the biggest shoe manufacturer in the UK, consider the flexibility of Royal Mail Tracked® “incredibly important” to providing a great customer experience.
With a 24- or 48-hour delivery aim, the service offers Inflight delivery options and comprehensive tracking to help shoppers receive festive items first time.
Hotel Chocolat, on the other hand, partner with Royal Mail to offer a next day guaranteed service that delivers right up until Christmas Eve.
“One of the main barriers to converting a customer is anxiety around their gift arriving safely and on time,” said Bell. “Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed® has a next day success rate of over 98%.”
But at the busiest time of year, it’s simple returns, not just trusted delivery, that turns one-off buyers into lifelong customers.
Recognising this, Royal Mail Tracked Returns® provides shoppers with complete convenience whilst helping retailers refund and resell faster with a 24- or 48-hour delivery aim.
Returns options include a doorstep collection with Parcel Collect, 24/7 drop-off at a Parcel Postbox, or return at a Royal Mail Customer Service Point or Post Office.
Arguably the most convenient returns option, Parcel Collect offers a collection from a customer’s home, workplace or nominated Safeplace if they’re going to be out.
Jewellery retailer Monica Vinader use the service to help reduce cart abandonment and encourage repeat sales into the New Year, but there’s also another benefit. With posties collecting returns at the same time they deliver, this means they’re “not creating additional vehicle journeys” either.
Sustainability will be high on customers’ wish lists this year, especially in light of increased climate awareness following COP26.
The sheer amount of Royal Mail’s on-foot deliveries has contributed to a recent report stating the carrier has the lowest carbon footprint per parcel of any major UK delivery company.*
“We are already ambitious that this year will be our greenest ever,” says Mark Dougall, Monica Vinader’s Head of Operations, “Royal Mail are helping us achieve that.”
On achieving true sustainability, Sarah Leveridge, Hotel Chocolat’s Head of Packaging Innovation and Sustainability, is forthright that “Collaboration is key to net zero carbon. There’s no other way we can do it. We’ll be collaborating with Royal Mail to achieve our goals.”
Retailers are keen to make this their best Christmas yet. Royal Mail has recruited seasonal workers early to help meet peak demand, and adapt to its challenges.
Martin Bell added that “Trust in postmen and women will have broadened since the pandemic,” adding that the carrier’s consistent quality of service throughout has “really resonated with customers.”
Royal Mail hope to continue building on their reputation as the UK’s most trusted delivery provider amongst online shoppers** to help deliver a fantastic Christmas of sales for all of their customers.
To find out more about Royal Mail’s services, and view this year’s latest recommended posting dates, at royalmail.com/delivertracked.
*Based on the lowest reported gCO2e per parcel of any major UK delivery company. Royal Mail Group Plc – Corporate Responsibility Report, 2020-21.
**Delivery Matters UK, 2020. Independently conducted by Trinity McQueen.