What is the best carrier for your e-commerce in the UK?

What is the best carrier for your e-commerce in the UK?

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

April 12, 2024

The UK e-commerce landscape is a thriving ecosystem, with consumers spending over £260 billion online in 2023

However, unlike some other markets dominated by a single national carrier, the UK delivery sector boasts a highly fragmented structure. UK national postal service Royal Mail holds a mere 25% market share

This variety means lots of delivery choices, but also the challenge of finding the best one for customers.

This comprehensive guide covers key factors for UK e-commerce businesses to help you pick the best delivery partner easily! 

1. 10 key factors when selecting a delivery partner in the UK 

Choosing the right courier companies in the UK requires understanding your online retail needs and your customer base's preferences:

  • Package details: Analyse shipment volume and size to match carrier capabilities.
  • Type of delivery: Rising costs and environmental concerns are boosting out-of-home (OOH) delivery options, such as pick-up/drop-off points (PUDO) and lockers, despite the dominance of home delivery.
  • Speed: A 2022 Metapack study found that 71% of customers value speed, with 39% willing to pay extra for same-day or next-day delivery.
  • Cost: Customers value free shipping above other perks and discounts. So make sure to balance affordable rates with reliable service. 
  • Coverage: Ensure domestic coverage and consider international options for future expansion.
  • Customer support: Responsive support is crucial for resolving issues and maintaining satisfaction.
  • Platform integration: Seamless integration ensures efficient order processing and shipment management.
  • Customer reviews: Read reviews to understand experiences with different courier companies.
  • Scalability: Choose a partner that grows with your e-commerce business.
  • Sustainability: Prioritise eco-friendly delivery methods.

Last-mile delivery: The final leg of a parcel's journey to the customer contributes a whopping 30% of CO₂ emissions in logistics. 

2. Navigating the options: Popular UK couriers

Once your products are ready to ship, selecting the right carrier becomes critical.  While keeping your margins healthy is important, focusing solely on the cheapest option can backfire.

The key is to find a delivery partner that offers competitive rates without sacrificing service quality. This way, you can provide affordable shipping to your customers while maintaining a positive experience.  Happy customers and a healthy profit margin? That's a recipe for success!

In a 2022 Statista survey, UK online shoppers were asked which delivery company they prefer. Over half chose Royal Mail as their top choice. DPD came in second place, picked by a fifth of shoppers. Evri (formerly Hermes) followed closely behind in third, with nearly 19% of UK shoppers selecting them.

These preferences highlight the importance of a strong domestic network, affordability, and a reputation for reliability.

Let's delve deeper into the strengths of these popular UK couriers and explore additional options to suit your specific e-commerce needs:

2.1 Standard delivery:

  • Domestic delivery: Royal Mail, Evri, and Yodel are all strong options for standard domestic deliveries, each offering a unique blend of affordability, speed, and reliability.
  • International delivery: For extensive networks and cost-effective international shipping options, consider Parcelforce, DPD, or UPS. 

2.2 Small packages:

  • Domestic delivery: Royal Mail or Evri’s letter service offers a cost-effective solution for sending smaller, lightweight items within the UK.
  • International delivery: DPD or Royal Mail International Tracked caters to small packages shipped internationally. UPS Standard is also a popular option thanks to its global reach, even though it is not the cheapest option. 

2.3 Express delivery:

  • Domestic delivery: DPD, FedEx, or UPS offers reliable and fast delivery within the UK, with flexible options for customers to choose their delivery location and time.
  • International delivery: DHL or UPS are well-known for premium express delivery globally, ideal for time-sensitive international shipments

2.4 B2B delivery: 

Regarding B2B delivery in the UK, DPD, UPS, and XPO Logistics are among the top options due to their focus on B2B services, reliability, speed, and ease of use. Carefully analyse their offerings and pricing to determine the best fit for your business needs.

2.5 Environmentally friendly options:

  • Pick standard delivery whenever possible to reduce the number of individual trips, minimising your environmental footprint.
  • Look for providers offering carbon-neutral delivery or Click & Collect options, like Royal Mail Click & Drop. 
  • Opt for carriers with carbon offset programs or those investing in electric vehicles (EV) fleets like DPD and Evri.
  • Promote pick-up points by encouraging customers to use pick-up points to consolidate deliveries, reducing the last-mile environmental impact.

A lot of UK carriers offer convenient PUDO points and locker options!

Bigblue Tips 
Bigblue's Shopify Plus Pickup Point Selector
app puts the power of choice directly in your customers' hands. They can select their preferred pick-up location before checkout, eliminating last-minute surprises and ensuring a seamless delivery experience.

3. Unlock faster deliveries, happier customers: The power of multi-carrier shipping

Imagine a delivery partner for every situation! A multi-courier strategy unlocks a wider range of options, and will help you boost your conversion rate:

  • A backup plan: If your main delivery company has issues, others can still get your products to your customers.
  • Optimal shipping costs: You can choose the cheapest option for each package based on size and weight.
  • Faster delivery: You can pick the fastest courier for specific locations.
  • Happy international customers: More options for receiving and returning products internationally.
  • More choices at checkout: Offer customers various shipping speeds and prices.
  • Reduced cart abandonment: Customers complete more purchases when having flexible options.

However, dealing with multiple parcel delivery services can be tricky. 

By partnering with a 3PL like Bigblue, you can outsource your entire shipping operations and manage easily multiple shipping services in one place:

  • Connect to 20+ couriers at a discounted rate negotiated by Bigblue. Save on shipping with our smart-carrier offer that picks the fastest, cheapest option for your delivery needs.
  • Keep customers informed with real-time delivery updates and ditch generic courier tracking links! Design branded email notifications and tracking pages to promote your brand directly.
  • Leverage Bigblue's carrier network expertise for swift resolution of inquiries, improving customer satisfaction.

Don't underestimate the power of a good delivery partner! In today's competitive online market, a smooth and eco-friendly delivery experience can make all the difference. 

By taking the time to understand your needs and compare different couriers, you can ensure happy customers, fewer headaches, and ultimately, a thriving e-commerce business. 

Remember, the perfect partner can offer you flexibility, keep costs in check, and even help you reduce your environmental impact.

By partnering with a 3PL like Bigblue, managing multiple couriers becomes easier, ensuring you always have the best option on hand.

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
What is the largest delivery company in the UK?

Royal Mail is the largest delivery company in the UK, with extensive coverage nationwide. It offers a wide range of services, including standard and express delivery options, making it a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike.

Which delivery company is best in the United Kingdom?

Determining the best delivery company in the UK depends on various factors such as speed, reliability, cost, and coverage. Some popular options include Royal Mail, DPD, Evri, and UPS.

Which courier is best for UK e-commerce businesses?

For UK e-commerce businesses, choosing the best courier depends on specific needs such as delivery speed, tracking options, and cost-effectiveness. Couriers like DPD, Evri, and UPS are often preferred for their reliable services and advanced tracking capabilities.