Small ecommerce businesses are hugely reliant on the quality and timeliness of parcel delivery services to ensure customer satisfaction – and growing numbers are taking control of the process by bringing parcel labelling in house, as Jay Kim, Managing Director, BIXOLON Europe GmbH explains.
Ecommerce companies have long recognised the importance of a robust, reliable delivery experience, from offering customers delivery choice to ensuring products arrive on time. New research, however, reveals just how damaging a poor delivery experience can be: almost two thirds (63%) of frequent shoppers in the UK will abandon an online retailer over a poor delivery experience. The situation is similar in France, where 53% of shoppers will abandon a retailer, dropping to 38% of German shoppers. Improving the shipping and delivery processes, therefore, has a very significant value. Yet from extended queues at Post Offices, to damaged barcodes and labels leading to parcels being returned, rather than arriving with the customer, many smaller businesses continue to struggle to achieve the level of delivery certainty required to support essential customer promises.
With Post Offices closing and the Royal Mail offering a parcel pick up service, many companies are reviewing delivery strategies and taking responsibility for their own parcel and post labelling.
Efficient and Green
Investment in technology such as label printers has, of course, always been an option, but traditional products had some limitations – such as the need to print several labels on one sheet of A4. The latest generation of linerless label printers is completely changing the experience for small businesses. These printers, which use a roll of sticky labels that require no backing, provide a new level of flexibility.
Labels are not pre-cut, allowing companies to print labels of any size. This means that all the information required – including barcodes, addresses and product safety information – can be included in a single label. Furthermore, linerless labels are far more robust, which means barcodes are safer from the damage caused by rain water, sunlight or scratches, leading for far greater delivery certainty.
In addition, linerless labels also support companies’ sustainability goals. The lack of plastic liner ensures businesses comply with the EU directive on packing and packaging waste. In addition, because labels are cut to size there is no wastage. And with the price of linerless labels dropping significantly in recent years, there is no additional cost associated with the green approach.
Post Office Improvements
Linerless label technology is also helping postal services to improve their delivery experiences. In Europe, postal workers are using mobile linerless printers for ‘you were out’ parcel delivery information. Rather than the scrawled paper notes that customers can struggle to decipher, a postal delivery person can print the time of delivery, location of parcel for collection and opening times on the label, which is then attached to a paper card and posted through the letterbox. The linerless technology ensures there is no plastic wastage that has to be carried – or dropped – making the process much easier and safer to manage.
In addition, this technology is being used to offer self-service access to services within Post Offices. Kiosks are becoming ever more popular, allowing people to pay for shipping and print their address labels in the Post Office – and reducing the pressure on queues. Critically, printer manufacturers are leveraging the vast amounts of data collected from diverse printer products to deliver the new levels of printer reliability that are essential in any self-service experience.
Ecommerce businesses increasingly need to offer flexible delivery options to entice customers to buy – and ensuring delivery promises are met is key to achieving repeat business. Whether through self-service kiosks or in-house printing, small businesses that embrace the chance to take control of the printing process, especially the use of robust and sustainable linerless labels, can achieve another level of vital delivery certainty to reinforce the end-to-end customer experience.