Overview of Courier Service Companies in the UK
The United Kingdom is one of the world’s largest economies. It has noticed steady growth for more than half a millenia, and owing to its colonial past has accumulated vast amounts of wealth from around the world. This has allowed business in the country to boom and acted as a catalyst to high market competition.
An important part of the UK's economy is the logistics sector that is responsible for connecting customers with enterprises. Courier service companies form a big part of the economy and provide scope for business expansion. However, businesses are often confused about which service is ideal for them due to the high number of options available in the market. Therefore, in this article, we discuss the top courier companies in the U.K. and how to decide which courier service is ideal for a business.
Top 10 Best eCommerce Courier Services Provider Companies in the United Kingdom [Cheapest and Fastest] [2021 Updated List]
The United Kingdom is home to a number of courier service companies, including some of the world’s largest names in the industry. However, with so many options available in the market, it is easy to get confused and become indecisive. Therefore, here is a list of the top 10 courier service companies in the UK and what they bring to the table.
Hermes is an international courier service company owned by the Otto Group which is the largest mail order delivery business in the world. It allows businesses in the UK to deliver products to over 20 countries around the world. It employs a total of 15,000 people and works with over 100 top retailers from across Europe.
Hermes allows businesses to make quick deliveries, bulk deliveries, facilitates cross-border commerce, as well as track orders through it’s in-house tracking platform. It also helps businesses manage returning orders.
2. Royal Mail
Royal Mail is one of the oldest courier service companies in the world. It was established by the English government in 1516 and has been in operations for over 500 years. It employs over 150,000 people and allows businesses to send items to over 230 countries and territories around the world.
Royal Mail allows businesses to ship parcels, mails, and even manage returns through its platform. It offers marketing solutions to businesses and works with 37 out of 100 top retailers in the UK to help them reach customers in the country and abroad.
FedEx is one of the world’s shipping companies. It was established in 1971 and has been a popular choice for businesses around the world for several decades. It has significant operations in the UK and allows businesses to deliver products to customers in over 220 countries and territories around the world. It employs more than 600,000 people worldwide and manages an average of 12.5 shipments per day.
FedEx allows businesses in the UK to ship products overnight, make express deliveries, international deliveries and also facilitates customs clearance. It allows businesses to deliver bulk as well as dangerous items, while also offering last mile delivery solutions.
DHL is an international courier service company that was founded almost 50 years ago. It is one of the largest courier service providers operating in the UK with more than 380,000 employees and a presence in over 220 countries and territories around the world. It manages a total of 1.8 billion shipments every year.
DHL offers freight service via surface, air, and sea, express shipping services, bulk shipping services and shipping solutions for sensitive products. It allows businesses to make cross-border shipments and provides customs clearance services as well.
Yodel is a UK-based courier service company and is one of the largest service providers in the country. It was established in 2008 and was originally known as Home Delivery Network. It employs more than 10,000 people to help deliver products to customers in the UK through its 50 facilities.
Yodel allows businesses to deliver items, make express deliveries within 24 to 48 hours, and even deliver to international customers in over 200 countries. It allows businesses to ship sensitive items, track packages and manage returning items.
DTDC is an international shipping company that was founded in 1990. It has significant operations in the UK as well as other countries, with over 35,000 employees globally. DTDC allows businesses in the UK to deliver to over 240 countries and territories.
DTDC offers several courier and related services to businesses in the UK including last mile courier delivery, warehousing as well as eCommerce fulfillment. It also handles reverse logistics for businesses and provides a myriad of 3PL services.
UPS or United Parcel Service is the largest courier service company in the world in terms of revenue. It is one of the most popular choices in the UK for delivering products. It was established in 1907 and currently provides access to over 220 countries around the world. It employs more than 500,000 people worldwide and handles an average of 4.7 billion packages each year.
UPS offers several courier services to businesses including last-mile delivery, freight, reverse logistics and more. It also offers bulk shipping, customs clearance, and other 3PL services.
Agility is an international logistics company that was established in 1979. It currently has operations in over 40 countries and allows businesses in the UK to deliver products to over 200 countries and territories around the world. It employs over 16,000 people worldwide.
Agility offers a variety of courier-related services to businesses including freight, supply chain management and reverses logistics. It helps facilitate the cross-border movement of goods and offers customs clearance solutions to businesses.
9. TNT Express (owned by FedEx)
TNT Express is a global courier service company that is owned and operated by FedEx. It is one of the most popular courier services providers in the UK and allows businesses in the country to deliver products to customers in over 200 countries.
Similar to FedEx, it allows businesses to make express deliveries, offers international shipping options and clearing solutions, and allows businesses to ship heavy and bulk items. It also offers dedicated solutions for different industries including healthcare, government, manufacturing and more.
10. UK Mail (owned by Deutsche Post Group)
UK Mail, formerly known as Business Post is a leading courier and mailing service in the UK. It is owned and operated by DHL which is part of the Deutsche Post Group. It maintains a total 52 facilities across the UK and employs over 4,000 people to handle its operations. It allows businesses in the UK to deliver products to over 220 countries in the world.
UK Mail offers last mile delivery, cross-border shipping, direct mailing, and other courier services to businesses in the UK. It also offers a host of marketing services to businesses and helps them run advertisement campaigns.
Top 15 factors to consider when choosing an eCommerce courier service company in the United Kingdom
Coverage is an important factor to the success of any enterprise. It allows businesses to expand seamlessly as and when the business grows. When businesses in the UK are looking for a courier service company, they are often faced with several companies that are restricted to certain geographies. This creates a hindrance to current and future operations, limiting the scope of the business and distancing potential clientele. Therefore, businesses must choose courier service companies that offer wide coverage, both domestic and international to ensure maximum customer reach.
2. Dimensions and mass of packages
The shape and size of the package is often critical characteristic that defines the dynamics of a delivery. Several courier service companies place restrictions on the size and weight of packages, limiting businesses to deliver packages of a certain size. Therefore, it is important to note which courier service companies in the United Kingdom allow businesses to deliver packages of different sizes and weights and partner with a service provider which caters to the particular needs of a business.
The cost of shipping is one of the most important parts of the entire partnership agreement. It defines how much the engagement will cost and how it will impact the revenues of the business. Courier companies in the UK come with all sorts of different pricing structures. Therefore, it is important that businesses calculate their budget for the shipping operations and then partner with a courier service company that allows them to maintain healthy margins while providing good quality service.
4. Hidden Costs
Courier service companies in the United Kingdom may bury hidden cost information deep into agreements. This creates a revenue problem for the company later into the engagement, since these costs are difficult to understand and pile up to hamper the revenues of the firm. Therefore, before choosing a courier service company, businesses must carefully pursue the agreement and understand if there are any hidden costs and charges associated with the service provided.
5. Delivery Speed
The United Kingdom is a highly developed economy and a fast-paced business environment. Therefore, it is only logical that courier service companies are also in line with the practice of delivering promptly and timely. To be able to compete in a market that is so competitive, businesses in the UK must look for courier service companies that provide fast delivery services to businesses to help them reach their customers on and even before the time.
The UK has an abundance of courier service companies operating in the economy, with each provider offering something, even if slightly, different to the table. Different courier service companies specialise in different aspects of the logistics industry and in catering to different types of businesses. Therefore, before choosing a courier service company businesses in the UK must understand what the courier service provider’s specialization is and if it benefits the enterprise. If not, businesses must look for providers that specialise in the domain of the particular enterprise.
7. Safety and Insurance
The process of logistics is dangerous for items and full of risk of damage, loss and theft. It is critical that companies use the services of companies that are reliable at delivering the products on time while also ensuring that the products are delivered without sustaining any damage. Therefore, when choosing a courier service company, businesses in the United Kingdom must explore providers that have a reputation of delivering products safely. It is also recommended that businesses opt for providers that offer insurance for the value of the products that are being delivered using their services to recover potential losses.
8. Delivery Ecosystem
The delivery ecosystem of a courier service company is a key deciding factor when choosing a provider for an enterprise. When the courier service company maintains high standards at the base, the need for constant monitoring and intervention is eliminated on the end of the business availing of such services. This makes the process more efficient and cost effective.
9. Proof of Delivery
Businesses in the UK are increasingly noticing incidents of fake delivery attempts where agents do not proceed to the destination of the customer and mark the delivery as attempted. This causes immense losses to the company in terms of revenue as well as reputation. A great way to overcome this is by ensuring that the delivery agent provides proof of delivery for every delivery that is completed. Therefore, when businesses are looking for courier service companies, they must partner with providers that offer proof of delivery services.
10. RTO Percentage
RTO stands for return-to-origin and is the event when a product delivery has failed and the item is to be returned to the original location from where the seller had it shipped. In a lot of cases, RTO rates are higher due to inefficiencies in the delivery process on the end of the courier service company. Therefore, when businesses look for courier companies they must ensure that the RTO percentage of the courier service is lower to get a sense of the success rate of deliveries made by the provider.
11. Returns Management
In a highly competitive market, businesses resort to a myriad of solutions that are often a losing proposition but are important to stay ahead of the curve. Returns policy is one such service that an increasing number of businesses in the United Kingdom now offer to customers. However, the process is complicated and requires careful execution of several processes to bring the returning products back to the original location. Therefore, businesses in the UK must look for courier service companies that allow them to handle reverse logistics easily, bring products back safely to be sold to a different customer and make the process efficient and reduce the cost of returning the product.
12. Shipping Exceptions
Shipping exceptions are simply an umbrella term for a variety of events that may occur during the delivery process that may cause the package to be stuck in transit. Some of the most common reasons for stuck shipments are customs clearance issues, delayed pickups, etc. This may cause the number of WISMO (Where Is My Order?) calls to rise and hinder customer experience. Therefore, partnering with a courier service that is capable of managing and resolving such exceptions is the ideal choice.
The developed economy of the United Kingdom is naturally connected through technology on every scale. This has allowed businesses to be streamlined in the country, and naturally, logistics operations to be smoother. Therefore, when choosing a courier service company in the UK, selecting a partner that uses advanced technologies that can help manage orders, track packages and more is the ideal solution.
14. Value-added Services
Value-added services are cherries on top of the existing portfolio of solutions provided by the courier service company. Although businesses in the UK might not be looking for additional services, it is always better to have options on the table. Value additions such as co-packing services, bundling, kitting and assembly solutions allow businesses to avail multiple services through a single provider making the entire process more efficient and cost-effective. Therefore, businesses must understand their requirements and avail services of a provider that offers relevant VASs.
15. Past Performance
The previous performance of any business is a marker for its capabilities. It allows clients to understand if the provider will be able to handle the kind and volume of work that is expected of them. Therefore, before choosing a courier service company, businesses must get a holistic view of their previous clientele, work experience and performance in the domain.
The United Kingdom has been a financially prosperous country for over 500 years now. The country has been home to some of the largest names in every industry and is a competitive environment for any enterprise. Therefore, to survive such cutthroat competition, businesses need to avail the services of reliable partners, in this case, courier service companies. Although the sheer number of options available in the market can confuse any enterprise, the only way forward is to consider a variety of factors and assess individual needs before settling for a partner.