How the carrier services have been impacted this week
It’s clear that fashion retailers face a number of challenges in the next few months, with consumer focus perhaps shifting on saving money for essentials and high-street footfall plummeting as many stores close to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reduce overheads.
eCommerce has been growing steadily over recent years, but now more than ever a strong online presence and delivery network is of the utmost importance. ZigZag is constantly receiving updates from our carriers on their contingency plans, and whilst many are expecting some delays and disruption, most will continue to operate in the forthcoming weeks and months.
You can get in touch with us to find out specifics on how our network is performing, but here’s a quick update on this week’s courier service developments.
Most carrier services are now allowing customers to select a safe drop off point for their deliveries or home collections. If the customer is self-isolating through necessity, many carrier services are allowing a dedicated family member or friend with id to collect parcels.
Nearly all carriers will not be passing over hand-held devices for delivery or collection confirmations. The couriers will sign for the goods on behalf of and in “relative” presence of the customer, and is just one of a number of measures being implemented to eliminate the need for any physical contact.
Working from home
Many carriers such as DPD and DHL are testing key central departments’ ability to work from home. This will allow the operational areas of their businesses to continue with reduced risk of infection. ZigZag are also engaging in this practice to give our team the best chance of remaining healthy and able to respond to unforeseen supply chain issues.
Most carriers are operating with minimal disruption so far, with the majority reporting small delays of 24 hours in some cases, however some do stretch to 72 hours in the US, and especially in the case of international travel or in regions particularly hard hit by the coronavirus.
A chance of price changes
Due to flight cancellations and potential overtime costs, the price of getting goods back from overseas could cost a little extra. Retailers should plan around or expect price changes as the coronavirus causes travel disruptions. We recommend offering only paid or subsidised returns, or holding goods in-country as a temporary fix.
Throughout areas in Italy, Spain and France, there are areas that are nearly completely locked down. This has resulted in reduced drop off zones (such as post offices, lockers, accessible letter boxes etc.). If you’re a ZigZag retailer with customers returning from those areas, please get in contact with your Account Manager to find out how your selected carrier services are operating.
All carriers are working with preventative guidance from Public Health England
Royal Mail has stated, “Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus. From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from PHE for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.”
Check in with us early next week for carrier specific updates on how their services are running and what to expect in terms of further disruptions and price changes.