Parcel delivery considerations for the digital shopper

British people may not be great at football, organising public transport systems or refraining from saying 'sorry' when someone bumps into them on the street, but shopping is another story. Bargain-hunting is one of the population's most popular pastimes, and it goes some way to explaining why the average Brit now has a rather worrying £4,500 of credit card debt. From toasters, teapots and tumble dryers to televisions, toys and tablets - it seems we just can't get enough.

The changing face of UK retail

We've been a retail-obsessed nation for many years now, but that's not to say the industry doesn't evolve. In the last few years especially, we've seen plenty of change, namely in the form of e-commerce or - as most people know it - online shopping.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than one pound in every ten is now spent online, and this will increase to one pound in seven within the next three years. Adding to this, retail consultancy Verdict says it expects the e-commerce sector to be worth a staggering £50 billion by the same time. It's clear that the future of shopping is digital and extremely bright, but with products being sent across the country and not personally passed over a counter, there are a few things for consumers to consider.

1. Added costs

When you pick something up in a bricks-and-mortar shop on the high street, you can be pretty sure that the price on the tag is the price you'll pay at the checkout. Online, this isn't always the case. Not only might you be given some extra add-on options, you may have to pay for the item to be brought to you. Some retailers will charge for delivery, while others offer it for free. Some will even give you the choice, depending on how quickly you'd like the order to show up, or how much you're spending in total.

2. Returns

The nature of buying something online means you don't get to see and feel it before you've paid your money. While this isn't something that'll bother every shopper, it can be a problem when it comes to clothing and homeware. So, when the time comes to return an ill-fitting jumper or some uncomfortable shoes, you'll be required to send it back yourself and wait for a replacement. Be sure to package it properly and check the retailer's official refund/exchange policies before sending.

3. Waiting time

The results of a study carried out in 2011 by Co-operative Electrical show that shoppers in the UK spend, on average, five days every year waiting at home for deliveries. Of the 3,000 people questioned, 90 per cent said that sitting at home not knowing when a parcel will arrive is their biggest gripe with online shopping. Thankfully, things have changed a little since then, with many retailers offering designated time slots and collection services to combat the issue. That said, you'll still need to settle a solution that works for you.

For all these concerns, online shopping is still growing in popularity. Furthermore, as retailers strive to make their delivery process faster and easier, this trend looks set to continue for a long time yet.

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Please note if you do not select the “signature required” delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 11.7 of the Terms & Conditions). *We define a “Parcel” as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm and a weight of up to 25kg.

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