New shipping information and options!
This week, we've added and made changes to some of our shipping information and options!
Firstly, for the majority of international customers, a typical delivery time is now shown during checkout. We've refrained from doing this for a long time, despite knowing that people wanted this information, because international posting speed has been very unreliable for the past 3 years. With the pandemic, Brexit, the introduction of IOSS and VOEC (and the inconsistent adoption/implementation of these schemes), amongst other things, we could send two packages to the same country and one would arrive in 6 days and the other after 3 weeks. However, things seem to have largely settled down. Aside from the odd customs-detain-package-for-3-weeks-for-no-reason, most packages to the same country would arrive with roughly the same speed now, so we've finally added this information.
(Whilst gathering the statistics for this, we're pleasantly surprised to see that not just German and French, but our American and Canadian customers are receiving their packages very quickly, sometimes quicker than Royal Mail would deliver within the UK!)
We are looking at how we can show courier options directly at checkout rather than having the customer email us for quotes. The main obstacle is that courier prices are often based on volumetric weight - the size and the weight both matter. And a lot of what we sell is squishy and bendy, which makes it hard to get a system to automatically do a size estimate. Courier prices also fluctuate a lot without warning. There are a few ways to get this to work but each have different downsides and limitations, so we're still working on it.
For the UK, we've added Royal Mail's Special Delivery 9am service. We are posting 3 days a week and have a cut off time of noon, so it's not like an order can be made on Tuesday 9pm and be expected to arrive by Wednesday 9am. But customers will be able to see the calculated delivery date based on our despatch days and cut off time so they can make an informed choice.
Royal Mail 24 and 48 have been replaced by their Tracked versions. Fast, cheap and reliable postage is what we all want, of course, but in the world of deliveries, out of "fast", "cheap" and "reliable", it just isn't possible to have all three - even getting two out of three is nearly a miracle. Having weighed the pros and cons such as speed, cost, service level, weight bands, tracking details, redelivery options etc with all the major delivery companies, we've decided to implement Royal Mail Tracked 24 and Tracked 48.
The Untracked versions are no longer available - we've looked at the statistics and although Tracked and Untracked claim to have the same delivery speed, in reality this isn't the case - Tracked is faster. Tracked also offers in-flight options, a good loss compensation, and photo delivery proof which everyone is starting to expect as standard.
Shipping - getting stock from suppliers to us, and getting orders from us to our customers - is without a doubt the hardest part of the business, even compared with accounting, taxes, the ever-changing schemes and regulations and everything else. There is no point in anything else if we cannot receive the goods or cannot get the goods to our customers in a satisfactory manner! Although there are still a lot of factors that are out of our hands, our ultimate goal is to minimise the frustrating elements to shipping and make receiving a package a pleasant and exciting experience every time.