Paazl Blog

Best practices for delivery during the summer season

Not only does the summer season bring sunny weather and long holidays, but it can also bring a few challenges to retailers.

Keep reading to learn how to minimize delays and ensure smooth operations during the summer in Europe.

Portrait of a delivery man carrying packages while making home delivery to his customer. Delivery and shipping concept.

The challenges of the summer season for e-commerce delivery

Everyone looks forward to the summer holidays, right? 

School is on a break, the days are long, and the sun’s out (hopefully). But this period also comes with unique challenges for retailers and logistics firms. Staff often decide to take annual leave at this time of year, which can make fulfilling orders more difficult, whether you find yourself with fewer employees in your warehouse or behind the wheels of your delivery vehicles. 

At the same time, the summer holidays are also chosen by many customers as the time of the year to go on a vacation, leading to an increase in failed deliveries – especially at the first attempt. For instance, the NU, a Dutch online newspaper, reports that employees in the country take an average of three weeks off every summer to go on holiday. That’s a lot of time when individuals won’t be at home to accept deliveries. 

But summer needn’t represent a headache for delivery firms. There are several steps you can take to minimize delays so your business can bask in that summer sun without worrying about the disruption it might cause to your usual practices.

In recent years, 12% of packages typically experience delays, which increase to more than 30% during busy periods and holidays. Using multiple carriers can significantly reduce this figure.

Preventing summer holiday delivery delays

1. Use multiple carriers

Delivery staff are entitled to a holiday and the summer period is understandably a popular time for people to enjoy a well-earned break. However, this can lead to staff shortages across the logistics sector, from the warehouse to the delivery van. 

Using more than one carrier can help reduce the likelihood that staff holidays will result in carrier underperformance. If a carrier cannot fulfill a delivery, for instance, due to employees being away, another can step in. It means customer expectations will continue to be met. 

The increasing number of shoppers relying on deliveries means the pressure created by staff summer holidays is rising. Although in recent years, 12% of packages typically experience delays, this increases to more than 30% during busy periods and holidays. Using multiple carriers can bring this figure down significantly.

2. Extend your delivery period

Research has shown that some customers care more about deliveries meeting expectations than being extremely fast. Although there is much talk about the importance of next-day (or even same-day) delivery, research from the UK has found that the average shopper is willing to wait as long as 6.7 days to receive their order. Rather than speed, reliability, and trustworthiness are the values that consumers prioritize. 

Given that speed may not be of the utmost importance to your shoppers, consider adding more days to your delivery process – especially during the busy summer period. However, be sure to communicate this clearly to your customers. Uncertainty or miscommunication will lead to a poor customer experience.

Portrait of a delivery man carrying packages while making home delivery to his customer.

Read more: E-commerce market in Belgium in 2024

3. Delivery abroad

Operating internationally can present further difficulties during the summer months. If you are delivering abroad, be aware of the different opening hours in other countries across the summer. For example, in Italy, many consignees, including shops, could be closed for a few weeks in August.

The high demand for some items during the summer may also affect the time and price of delivery – depending on the country you are shipping to and the carrier being used. Be sure to check for the possibility of country-specific delays before you communicate with customers. 

4. Maximize customer visibility

Communication is key to providing a great customer experience. The vast majority (79%) of e-commerce customers feel that it’s important to receive information regarding the progress of their deliveries while 23% wish to receive push notifications. During the summer months, when holidays among staff and shoppers are especially likely, keeping up a two-way dialogue is essential.

Many retailers and delivery firms now send customers regular updates as to when their parcel has departed the warehouse and when it is on route to its destination – either through email or a bespoke application. Some even allow shoppers to track their packages in real time. Either way, don’t leave customers in the dark.

5. Be flexible

Communication is one thing but is your delivery process flexible enough to act quickly when a possible disruption arises? In the summer, many customers are away from home, meaning the chances of deliveries failing and needing to be re-shipped increases – a significant cost to the retailer. In fact, 90% of unsuccessful deliveries are down to the absence of the customer or another individual who can receive the package.

First of all, make sure your customers are able to inform you that they won’t be available to collect their delivery. Then, ensure your delivery provider is able to receive this information and can leave the shipment in a designated safe space or re-schedule the shipment.

Delivering a summer to remember

Shipping software comes in many varieties, but only one provides the scale and simplicity you need to meet customer expectations all year round.

Paazl can save your company time and money by offering a single Rest API integration, which provides access to over 40 carriers and hundreds of delivery options. Plus, you can personalize your checkout experience to offer greater flexibility to your customers.

Don’t let the sunshine derail your delivery operations. Prevent summer holiday disruption with Paazl.