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How much ecommerce mail has been delayed by the weather?

By Dan Wilson January 6, 2014 - 6:43 am

There may not have been a covering of snow across the nation, but it seems like the ongoing stormy weather is having a knock-on effect for ecommerce sellers. As I sit and write this I can hear the sea continuing to batter the seafront in Hove.

We’ve had one report from a seller saying that a consignment of Christmas despatches sent by courier and a premium service didn’t make it on time. The courier in question claims that the weather was to blame, according to the seller.

From my own experience, one Christmas purchase on eBay was ordered and despatched well before the big day and only arrived last week. The very efficient and polite seller said that many of her last packages despatched in good time seemed to have been delayed by the weather.

And as the ferocious stormy weather continues to come at the British Isles, I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a lot of mail and parcels are delayed. Combined with all the holidays recently, this is less than ideal.

Have you been affected?

  • Alex
    3 years ago

    Throughout the Christmas period EVERY item arrived in time and as planned except for one lost in the Liverpool/Manchester area a couple of days before Christmas (fortunately it was not a X-mas gift). Aside from that, and especially given our volume, our main courier Hermes did a fantastic job this year and they deserve credit for their effeciancy. Even our Royal Mail items all arrived very quickly and in time so no tears on Christmas day and again all credit to Royal Mail!! In delivery terms this was a great Christmas.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    we dont despatch in december though we do receive ,the clown that works for my hermes leaving packages at 5 in the morning outside in the rain did not impress,
    lets not forget that north america are having it tough with weather at this time

  • Merlo
    3 years ago

    The Uk has been good but the US, France and especially German postal services have failed to deliver items sent before the deadline. Lots of delayed German parcels only arriving now.

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Xmas postal services have been excellent.

    Only minor issue was some address label switching by a (presumably) irate temporary postal worked as a result of which some of my packages arrived at their wrong destination and some people received packages with my address labels on with contents purchased from others. Had some interesting phone calls and still carrying out the damage limitation exercise. One buyer yet to contact so I guess they had goods way in excess of the value of the purchase made from me. Now do I send their actual goods that have been returned to me by another or wait for them to make contact first? Must admit I thought I used labels with strong adhesive however clearly not strong enough.

    By this way this is a case of an INR that is not the buyers fault.

    • admiralharidnge
      3 years ago

      Can I suggest you look very closely at your process. This fault is almost always in picking, packing and labelling and I really don’t see Royal Mail doing this, irate or not.

      If you check around with other sellers I’m sure you will find many others who say they have had this problem at 1 time or another.

      I certainly have and I can always track this back to a process fault here. All it needs is a momentary distraction at just the wrong moment.

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      Please explain how goods sold by another was delivered with an address label printed by myself?

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      An internal processing issue was my first thought on the back of the first call.

      But then I had another call from somebody who had received my goods but who had not purchased from me. And then when I phoned somebody whose goods had gone elsewhere they had received goods but not the ones purchased from me. And so on….

      This has been reported to Royal Mail, packaging has been sent to RM for fluerensic examination and the audit trail of the mail bag is being traced.

    • 3 years ago

      The best I could come up with was the problem of packaging being severely damaged in the post. So bad that the Royal Mail were forced to repackage. Then they have to try to find the address to send it to. Obviously if more than one such package is damaged there must be the danger of addresses being switched.

      When I have seen damaged packaging it has either been stuck together with RM tape showing that it has been repaired or put into a heavy duty plastic postal bad which again shows that it has been damaged.

      I cannot remember any of my parcels being affected in this way but I have certainly received parcels that have been damaged in the post.

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Local post office suggested they had lower pre Xmas volumes than last year so if this trend is nationwide it could explain improved service levels. Maybe Royal Mail competitors are capturing more business?

  • admiralhardinge
    3 years ago

    I use Royal Mail almost exclusively and they were very good. Items sent first class continued to arrive next day throughout December. Record month for me.

    Only 1 complaint – a special delivery sent 23rd Dec did not arrive 24th, but 27th.

    Biggest issue is ebay. They told me they had been inundated with complaints from buyers and sellers. Why?

    They continued to show estimated receipt for international as standard even though the last posting dates for those countries had long since passed. So last posting for Australia was December 5th, buyers buying on the 14th wanted to know why items had not arrived before Christmas becaue Ebay were showing 5-8 day delivery time frame.

    The other thing that ebay need to do is adjust the dispute process times during December. It is ridiculous to allow a claim to open after 4 days or whatever. I had one (and only one)very unpleasant customer who tried to bully me into a refund after 8 days that included 2 weekends. That simply is not realistic at Christmas. Ebay did back me to an extent, but would not remove the feedback even though it was fundamentally untrue, and I had guaranteed the buyer a refund if the item did not arrive, to be made as soon as I was back after Christmas

    • 3 years ago

      Absolutely agree with this. Ebay’s estimated delivery date is the only thing causing us problems and also it does not in any way take into consideration your store being in holiday mode. Postal service has been great but we have multiple cases with people ordering on boxing day etc with an estimated delivery date of 28th December when we put our holiday settings showing we would return on the 3rd.

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      It is simple to batch process and extend despatch dates for all live listings. That is what I do over short holiday periods if I remain open. Then of course seller discount and search ranking is lost but hey! ho! this is ebay. Would be nice to have flexibility to provide own delivery times but ebay would never allow that! Whatever still accept there is an issue with overseas sales though.

      The real issue here is that buyers don’t read the holiday information because ebay do not make it obvious preferring to place distraction adverts in any large prominent white spaces (that ebay have created by the way! :-/ ) rather than important information about the holiday period and other vital info provided by the seller!

    • admiralhardinge
      3 years ago

      I agree to an extent Gary with your interpretation. It is a gamble between changing delivery estimates, or keeping with what you have to maintain search rankings. To achieve good rankings takes some time and effort and I am reluctant to do this.

      Given that ebay really do need to adapt their delivery promises at Christmas to be in line with what the postal services say, then there actually shouldn’t be a problem to use the same tool for sellers on holiday. For example a seller could enter a number of days they will be on shut down, and the ebay delivery date automatically adjusts. Ebay need to do this for their own delivery estimates at Christmas so an item for Australia which misses the last recommended posting date for Christmas by 1 day automatically has an extended delivery estimate of 27th December. At the moment what they do doesn’t help anybody, so buyers are misled, and sellers are dropped in it wrongly.

  • Al Gerrie
    3 years ago

    First Christmas using RM Tracked, and first Christmas using Metapack. Both, I have to say were excellent decisions and would thoroughly recommend the flexibility Metapack offers. I was able to carefully control the delivery time by upgrading orders as Christmas got closer.

  • 3 years ago

    We had problems with UKmail, almost all parcels sent out on or after 24th were delayed, I was quite disappointed. The impression that I got was that the holidays and the weather created backlogs at the depots that caused my parcels to be dispatched a day or two later than they should have been.

    I appreciate that you can’t control the weather but think that if I had been notified of the problems then I could have let my customers know or chosen to use a different courier to send the parcels.

  • 3 years ago

    RM have performed very well. No delivery issues so far.

    Privatisation is a wonderful thing.

    Can we do the NHS next please.

  • Fozz
    3 years ago

    We used Royal Mail for over 90% of our parcels , and they performed extremely well. Far and away the best December in the 14 years we’ve been in this game.

  • 3 years ago

    I agree Royal Mail have been superb. We use a mixture of Royal Mail and DPD and between the 2 you can’t go wrong.

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