I’ve read about how Australia Post is struggling with all of the extra parcels created from the increase in online shopping. Is there a way I can get around any delays? Should I use a delivery company, or just stick to Australia Post?
The 2011 Christmas sales period will be remembered as the absolute breakout year for online sales in Australia.
The reason for all this angst against Australia Post is because of the massive swing to Christmas purchases being made online compared to brick and mortar stores.
At Milan Direct we saw this as well, with a 70% increase in sales from the same period 12 months prior. Online retail in Australia is booming.
So quite simply, Australia Post and every single other delivery company was faced with a massive increase in deliveries, which was always going to test the industry.
The challenge in Australia is that we live in a very large country, with a relatively small population, and so nobody has invested heavily into the freight network.
There is a massive gap in the market for a freight service provider who actually deliver what they promise, and provide fast deliveries with proper online tracking and timely communication to customers.
There is too much reliance on sub-contractors for more and more areas of the country, or “freight-forwarders”, who are even more removed from the requirements of the customer and retailer, and are some of the laziest I have seen in the world.
We have had trucks turn up at Milan Direct where the drivers look at us like we are crazy to ask them to deliver our boxes.
So at times we have had to physically load them ourselves while the drivers look on.
So I would not single out Australia Post here, as it appears the entire industry failed to foresee the growth in online sales, and did not plan ahead sufficiently.
From all reports I have heard, Australia Post has one of the better services in Australia, and if not for their size restrictions on parcels, we would be using them too at Milan Direct.
Since Australia does not have the extent of freight solutions that are commonplace in the UK, US and Europe, the only solution is to manage your customers’ expectations.
You simply have to provide realistic delivery times to your customers, and do not promise what you can’t deliver.
As was recently pointed out in The Age newspaper on this topic, Amazon was forced to offer refunds to customers that were promised pre-Christmas delivery.
This is irresponsible, as no retailer has control over their freight providers.
At Milan Direct, we manage expectations by providing detailed and accurate information regarding the limitations of the freight industry in Australia.