The New Channels of Parcel Delivery

by | Jul 27, 2016

3 min read


Parcel Shippers Must Prepare Today for Future Carrier Innovations

Today, you can request an Uber ride and have a driver waiting outside with only a couple of taps on your smartphone. You can search for your favorite show on Netflix and binge-watch the entire series at the tap of a button. You can order your favorite sandwich from Jimmy John’s and it will arrive at a speed they call “Freaky fast.”

All of this is training people to click a button and expect they’ll get what they want in minutes, not days. Soon, next day delivery won’t hold the same magical allure it once did over customers. While this promise may have once seemed unimaginable, it has now become expected thanks to services like Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping as the standard.

If you’re a parcel shipper and you think this isn’t going to affect your business, you’re wrong. Even now, parcel carriers are experimenting with new ways of delivering packages faster or more efficiently. Here are just a few examples of how the way your customers expect to receive their packages may change in the next few years:

  • UPS® and FedEx® are experimenting with parcel lockers—lockers located at retail locations where packages can be delivered instead of a home or office location.1
  • UPS, DHL, and pretty much all the major carriers are testing drone-based delivery systems in other parts of the world, and even here in the U.S.2
  • DHL, Amazon, and Audi are experimenting with delivering packages to the trunk of your car.3
  • UPS wants to use R2-D2-like robots to deliver your packages.4

As consumer demand for increasingly immediate customer service continues to grow, new innovations like these will begin cropping up in the the parcel logistics industry—and, undoubtedly, many more! Here are some other trends to look out for:

  • Faster, cheaper delivery has been a growing competitive advantage among ecommerce players for the last several years. That trend might continue to include faster, cheaper, and more convenient as well.
  • All of these services are going to change the customer experience, but it’s not the carrier’s customers who are experiencing the shift. It’s your customers. How can you make sure the delivery experience  have is a positive and memorable one?
  • Brands like Apple® and Zappos® have been using the presentation of their packaging to enhance the experience that their customer has with their brand. These new delivery options are opportunities for forward-thinking ecommerce companies to differentiate themselves by impressing their customers via the package delivery experience.

Parcel shippers will need to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing parcel logistics environment in order to stay competitive. Shippers who effectively utilize data to more deeply understand their carrier relationships—and potential areas for improvement—will be most empowered to make these innovations work for them and their customers, no matter what the future holds.


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