How 3 Seismic Shifts in Parcel Delivery Impact Your Choice of Carrier

The parcel delivery industry has weathered massive change over the past few years. Here are three significant shifts in the industry that brands should be aware of.  

1. Growth is off the charts (and shows no sign of stopping). Ecommerce took off through the pandemic, fueling unprecedented growth in parcel delivery demand. In fact, the global last mile delivery market is projected to reach $123 billion USD by 2030. That’s more than a three-fold increase from $40.5 billion USD in 2021. And North America is the fastest-growing market.

2. Shoppers have sky-high expectations. 84% of a company’s existing customers say they won’t return to the brand after one poor delivery experience. And shoppers don’t blame the parcel carriers when things go wrong: they blame the brand.

3. Sustainable shopping is top of mind. 68% of consumers expect companies to take a lead in shaping a more sustainable future, and over 53% prefer to engage with consumer products and retail (CPR) organizations that showcase strong sustainability credentials and embody a sense of purpose.

Keep reading to unpack the key questions each of these trends raises. You’ll also get tips on questions you can ask your last mile delivery partner to keep your shipments flowing and your customers happy amidst these shifts.

Shift #1: Parcel delivery growth is off the charts. 

Increased demand is putting additional pressure on last mile parcel delivery carriers, and it’s resulting in delivery delays, driver shortages, and unexpected costs. Don’t let the push for carriers to ship more parcels than ever translate into more headaches for your business.

If you’re thinking about this……ask about this.
32% of global consumers say shipping problems or delays represent a drawback to ecommerce purchases.

Delivery delays happen for many reasons—from inaccurate shipping labels to larger supply chain issues. But your shoppers don’t care why delays happen, they simply want their purchases to arrive when they were promised.
– Does your parcel carrier deliver 7 days a week to improve efficiency?

– Do they provide order management and tracking for full transparency into delivery status, timing of executions, and proof of delivery, including photos and signatures?

– Are they using advanced technology to optimize their routing? For example, GoBolt uses machine learning to identify the route combination that will achieve 100% OTIF and the shortest travel time, resulting in more quick and reliable service.
Driver shortages are at an all-time high, which is forcing many small parcel shippers to rely on the gig economy to handle increased delivery volume.
– Ask what percentage of a parcel carrier’s driver workforce is made of employees vs. gig workers. Full-time employees typically receive benefits and training that help drive retention and operational continuity.

– How do they incentivize gig drivers to stick around and what training do these drivers receive to help minimize disruption?
Hidden delivery costs can add up quickly and they come in many forms, including fuel surcharges, extra charges for residential or weekend deliveries, and penalties charged for not hitting volume minimums.– Does your parcel delivery carrier offer transparent pricing and can they guarantee cost certainty?

– Can they show you how pricing is tiered based on delivery zones?

– Do they offer custom solutions tailored to suit your needs?

Shift #2: Shoppers have sky-high expectations.

Blame the Amazon Effect, but today’s shoppers are increasingly sophisticated and have high service expectations. They don’t just want free shipping—they want it fast, frictionless, and friendly. If your brand can’t deliver on their high expectations, they’ll simply move on to a competitor that can.

If you’re thinking about this……ask about this.
Shopper expectations around same- and next-day delivery options have shifted from extra-special to expected.

Shoppers also want easy returns when they aren’t satisfied with the merchandise.
– Does your delivery partner offer a variety of options to meet the continuum of customer service needs, such as no-contact delivery?

– Are there carrier partnerships in place that will grant you access to the best transit times and delivery rates?

– Can they easily facilitate customer returns as well? 
How many markets can your carrier reach within same- and next-day windows from their fulfillment center?
Shoppers want to know when their packages will arrive and be able to track them easily on the fly.– Can your parcel delivery carrier give your shoppers choices for receiving notifications about delivery status via SMS or email?

– How often does the company notify shoppers of their parcel’s progress?

– Bonus: Order management and tracking that provides customers with updates on delivery timelines in real-time reduces the burden on your internal support resources.
Delivery drivers often represent the first (or only) face-to-face interaction a shopper has with your brand. A poor customer experience in the last mile can seriously degrade your brand reputation.
– How often is customer service training reinforced so drivers remember to do the right things on the job every day?

– Can they share positive reviews from other customers or shoppers?

– How does the carrier deal with complaints about driver behaviors?

Shift 3: Sustainable shopping is top of mind.

Today’s shoppers are increasingly expecting the brands they patronize to be environmentally responsible. Savvy shoppers aren’t going to blindly accept your claims around sustainability—they expect transparency around the steps you’re taking.

If you’re thinking about this……ask about this.
Addressing sustainability concerns is good for business. 77% of organizations say their sustainability approaches increase customer loyalty and 63% have seen a revenue uptick.– What can your parcel delivery partner do to help you demonstrate a tangible commitment to reducing emissions?

– Could a shopper have their package delivered via electric vehicle (EV)? For example, GoBolt’s small parcel delivery service launched with a fleet of 70 electric parcel vans, with a commitment to grow to 185+ within 12 months.
Urban last mile delivery emissions are on track to increase by over 30 percent by 2030 in the top 100 cities globally. That’s a trend in direct conflict with sustainability goals.– Does your carrier have a stated commitment around reducing emissions?  

– Do they offer carbon neutral delivery options or are they taking steps to offset their carbon emissions? For example, when GoBolt can’t deliver parcels by EV, it calculates the impact of carbon emissions and proportionally donates that amount to verified carbon projects via EcoCart.

Set yourself up for success.

You can’t stop parcel delivery dynamics from shifting, but you can be better prepared to weather the change. Evaluating parcel carriers requires careful consideration of many factors, including price, service, reputation, technology, and even alignment on values. It’s worth putting in the due diligence to find the best-fit last mile partner for your business because, at the end of the day, you’re not just trusting them with your products—you’re trusting them with your brand.

Want to make your brand’s last impression as impactful as your first? Check out the GoBolt difference in last mile delivery.