Introducing Priority Zero

As many of you are probably already aware, the pandemic has had a profound effect on travel around towns and city centres. From road closures to more pedestrian areas, travelling around a city centre certainly isn’t the same as it used to be. Not to mention the increased levels of online shopping, which has in turn resulted in more demand for deliveries.  

Of course, the pandemic isn’t the only reason why our cities are changing – climate change and air pollution is another major issue that needs to be tackled. The Bristol Clean Air Zone is an example of this, which is being introduced in 2022 to help improve air quality by reducing harmful levels of air pollution caused by traffic in Bristol. A daily charge will apply to older and more polluting vehicles driving in the zone to encourage cleaner vehicles, greener public transport, and walking or cycling.

As a result of this, many logistics companies will have to adapt their mode of transport – which is exactly what we have done here at Priority Express. As a professional courier company, we recognise the importance of reducing our carbon footprint to improve everyday urban life for local communities in the Southwest.

Priority Zero

Since 2010, having quick and environmentally friendly delivery available has been important to us. We have been offering zero emission delivery options to our customers through our cycling couriers and low emission delivery vehicles.

We are excited to announce that we are now expanding this service even further with Priority Zero; a fleet of eCargo Trikes and 100% Electric eSprinter vans. Our new fleet will cover city centre areas and will be charged during off peak hours so that they are available for delivery every day. We are also in the process of planning new low carbon delivery HUBS across Bristol, Bath, and Cardiff.

ECargo Bikes

When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint as a business or an individual, we have taken the lead with our cycle courier & cargo bike service. A great alternative to petrol or diesel vehicles, our eCargo bikes offer a faster and more cost-effective delivery option to get your parcel from A to B safely.  

Not only are eCargo bikes excellent for the environment, but they also take up less road space and can easily filter through traffic. They don’t require parking fees and are exempt from Clean Air Zones where applicable, which means that our cycle couriers can be even more time efficient. If you’re interested in our eCargo bikes, then get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.  

ECargo Trikes

Designed for larger deliveries, our new heavy-duty eCargo Trikes can carry up to 200kgs of parcels and an impressive load of up to 25 A4 boxes. They feature a strong, modular cargo box that’s lightweight and extra strong for carrying your parcels safely and efficiently around the city centre.  

Our new eCargo Trikes being built.

Above you can see our new eCargo Trikes being built by a local company, Iceni Cycles, that are based in Warminster. If you’re interested in our eCargo Trikes, then get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.

ESprinter 100% Electric Van

Electric vehicles are the way forward, which is why we are introducing our eSprinter 100% Electric Vans to our customers for long-haul deliveries.

Our eSprinter vans offer reduced levels of harmful exhaust and CO2 emissions to the environment. Not only that, but they can also carry up to 700kgs and can hold a load of up to 150 A4 boxes. If you’re interested in our eSprinter Vans, then get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.

  

Why Priority Zero?

If we haven’t convinced you enough that Priority Zero is the way forward, then maybe these quick facts will:

·    Air pollution from road traffic contributes to 300 fatalities per year in Bristol alone.

·    Traffic is now at pre-pandemic levels, so now is the time to make a change for the better and use zero emission delivery services.

·    If you’re a business, then not only will taking responsibility for your carbon footprint make an impact on the environment, but it will also be a major USP for customers.

What does zero emissions mean?

Zero emissions are when an engine, motor or any other energy process releases zero waste products that can pollute or disrupt the environment. We are proud to offer zero emission delivery options from our urban delivery hubs with our Cargo Bikes, eCargo Trikes, and eSprinter Electric Vans.

 

Interested in Priority Zero? Get in Touch today.

Are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint? By choosing Priority Zero, we will all be moving towards a sustainable future. If you’re interested in our services, please get in touch for more information.

Packaging tips for small businesses

No matter how well your products are made, ensuring they are delivered on time and in excellent condition throughout the entire shipping process has always been a challenge for new businesses to get to grips with. It’s important to remember that first impressions always count – if your product arrives damaged or the packaging is even dented, the likelihood of a customer returning to your business again is very low.

Although our professional couriers are specially trained in the safe handling of goods, it’s still essential that whenever you send a parcel it’s packaged well every time. The good news is that with careful planning, research, and customer feedback, you can quickly overcome these issues and your products can be delivered on time and in one piece, every time with the right packaging.

Here at Priority Express, we have come up with plenty of packaging solutions and fundamental tips that every business should know.

Consider the Weight of your Products

The first place to start with is considering the weight of your products – are they on the larger scale and therefore need extra strength and durability for packaging or are they on the smaller side? The reason why this is so important is because under-filled boxes will collapse easily, and over-filled boxes are more likely to burst during shipment– resulting in your products either being damaged or broken completely.

To prevent this from happening, think carefully about the quality of your packaging boxes, as you will need rigid boxes that can securely hold the weight of your products whilst out for delivery.

Size and Shape

Now that you’ve got to grips with the weight of your products, you can now choose the ideal size and shape for your packaging. It’s important to remember that the package contents should not touch the outer wall of the box to prevent it from being damaged if it gets knocked at all. Oddly shaped or rounded items might require extra thought for sensible packaging solutions.

Consider the Package Contents

Whilst we offer tailored delivery services for items that require special delivery requirements, it’s equally as important that you ensure you have packaged these products extra carefully. If you’re shipping liquids, chemicals, or powders, then these items will require special packaging materials and packing techniques to ensure that they are safe and secure.

Find out more about our special delivery services here.

Choose A Suitable Material

When it comes to choosing the right packaging materials for your products, there are several things that you will need to consider:

• Try to use high quality corrugated cardboard boxes for parcels, as these are made up of multiple layers of materials to provide the strength needed to transport items.

• Fragile or heavier items – we would highly recommend using double-wall or tri-wall constructions for extra strength and protection

• Never re-use old boxes – although this might be better for the environment, used boxes won’t be able to hold the weight of heavier items and are likely to collapse altogether.

• Check the manufacturer stamp – this will tell you information about the construction type and strength of the packaging box

• Consider Sustainable Packaging Materials – not only will this have a positive effect on the environment, but it will also provide your products with a USP to stand out from competitors.

Extra Care for Fragile or Perishable Goods

When shipping fragile items, extra protection is required to ensure that these packages are delivered in one piece to the customer. Here at Priority Express, we offer special packaging from Cullen, which is dedicated for shipping liquids such as wine, cider, beer and much more. Manufactured using 100% recycled paper, this strong and sustainable packaging for the food & drink industry is recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.

We have tried and tested this packaging extensively, including drop test and test shipments round the various carrier’s conveyor belt systems, and both have produced excellent results. In fact, one of our customers has been using this packaging for nearly 6 months and has a damaged rate of just 0.001%.

The specialist packaging costs £3.15 + VAT per box and includes a double walled outer box with multi-layer pulp inserts. There is a minimum quantity of 25. Contact us today to find out more.

Use Good-Quality Seals

Often overlooked but still just as important, high quality seals are a must to ensure complete protection of your packages during delivery. Generally, we recommend trying to avoid using the below type of seals:

• Kraft paper tape

• Cellophane tape

• Masking tape

• String/rope

Instead, we recommend opting for stronger and more durable pressure sensitive tapes, such as:

• Polypropylene tape (brown plastic tape)

• Vinyl adhesive tape (electrical tape)

• Fiber-reinforced paper tape (duct tape)

Double-Check Item Regulations

Another important factor to consider is that perishable or fragile items are more likely to have stricter and increased regulations to follow. Before you consider packing these items, make sure that you do your research and understand the exact packaging requirements to avoid any issues during the shipment process.

Include Special Handling Label

When handling fragile or heavier items, we would highly recommend using handling instruction labels on the packaging. Although every care will be taken to deliver your delivery safely by our drivers, special handling labels will ensure that your parcels are handled and stored correctly during transit.

Packaging Techniques

At Priority Express, we will always try our best to ensure your packages are both delivered on time and in excellent condition. However, it is still the responsibility of the sender to ensure that items have been packaged well. Here are a few packaging techniques that we recommend following:

Leave No Empty Space

To prevent the contents of your packaging from moving during the delivery, we suggest using void fillers, which are designed to fill any gaps within boxes with cushioning foam. Choose materials that are strong enough to support your items, without allowing them to sink under the weight of them.

Keep A 6cm Distance

Remember to keep at least a 6cm distance between the item and the edge of your packaging. As accidents happen, doing this will prevent your products from being damaged if the box happens to be crushed or dropped by accident at all.

Seal with an H

Not only is the type of seal tape you use important, but how you use it will also make a big difference to the overall quality of your packaging. To prevent your items from bursting out of the box or the box itself undoing, we would highly recommend using the proper sealing technique, where you have a H pattern on the top and bottom of your packaging boxes.

Wrap Items Individually and Use Dividers

If you’re hoping to ship multiple items in one parcel, then it’s important to wrap each item individually or use cardboard dividers. Not only will this help avoid damage caused by other items during the shipping process, but it will also keep smaller items together easily.

Choose the Right Courier

Finding a reliable courier makes things a lot easier for small businesses. Here at Priority Express, we are proud to offer competitive courier rates and never compromise on the level of service that we provide.

If you still need help and advice for finding the right packaging, then get in touch with our local customer services team that are on-hand 24-7.

5 reasons why you should expand your business with international delivery

Although expanding your products or services overseas might seem daunting at first if you’re a small UK business, it’s a well-trodden path to growing your business over time.  

With online shopping increasing drastically over the past year, millions of purchases are being made online every day and tonnes of shipments are being delivered right to the customer's doorsteps. Not only this, but more and more consumers are opting to buy products from retailers across the world – something any online business should grasp onto if they can.  

We’ve selected 5 benefits of expanding your business with international delivery:

1. Reach a Wider Audience

Offering international delivery for your products will allow your business to reach a much wider audience. If you limit your business to UK delivery, you could be missing out on thousands of potential customers that would be interested in your products. Introducing your online business to international shipping will open a wide range of possibilities to reach new global markets and potentially increase sales.

2. The ‘UK Appeal’

Something that many UK businesses have used to their advantage is the appeal of British-made products. Although sticking to one location might seem like less hassle, introducing international shipping will allow your business to reach a wider audience that are also likely to be interested in your products – especially if you’re UK based. 

3. Increase Brand Awareness

Whether you’re a small or large business, if you’re already selling your products and making a reasonable profit in one country, imagine the possibilities if you could offer this worldwide. Not only will offering international delivery reach a wider audience, but it also has the benefit of raising brand awareness for your business.

4. Less Returns

Concerned about having to handle returns for international orders may be overplayed. In fact, consumers are less likely to return their international orders simply due to the longer waiting time for shipping and potential customs charges. However, to prevent any future returns and ensure the best customer satisfaction, it’s vital to make sure your website lists products clearly and accurately to avoid this in the future.  

5. Sales All Year Round  

If you offer seasonal products or services all year long, it’s likely that you struggle to maintain a steady sales income all year round. An example of this could be if you own a swimwear brand, where your business suffers from a drastic drop in customers and slower sales in the winter months. However, the good news is that you could potentially achieve sales all year round by making sure international shipping is available to your customers across the globe.

Find out more about our international shipping services here.

International Delivery FAQs 

How long does international delivery take?

This will depend on the country your parcel is being delivered to and what service you have chosen. Economy deliveries usually take 2 to 3 days and parcels sent with express delivery will arrive within 1 to 2 days.

How does international parcel delivery work?

We will collect your parcel from your requested address and use our carefully selected service partner network to get your parcel to its destination safely and efficiently. Ready to find out the whereabouts of your parcel? Track your parcel delivery here.

Whatever you need something sent abroad, whether it is a one-off parcel or a regular shipment, our international parcel delivery service is topflight.

Find out more about our international delivery services here.

How to track international delivery?

You can accurately track your international delivery with our easy-to-use advanced parcel tracking system. Contact our customer service team and they will be able to give you a tracking number along with the latest status of your parcel:

Cardiff: 029 2067 4966

Bristol: 0117 916 5090

Bath: 01373 462 857

Is international delivery still available?

Although we are still offering our international delivery services to our customers, there are currently different rules and restrictions for international carriers. Get in touch with our friendly team today for personalised information about restrictions that may apply to you and your business.

Or keep up to date with any alerts or incidents happening in your area that may affect our delivery and collection services here.

Choose the Right International Parcel Delivery

We take pride in offering express international shipping door to door, export and import, to businesses all across the world.

Our international parcel delivery service allows you to send anything to anywhere. From the minute we collect your parcel from your desired address in the UK, we will ensure that our excellent service partner network gets your parcel to its destination safely and efficiently.

With our state-of-the-art booking and tracking system, you can also track exactly where your deliveries are at all times so you can go about your day at ease!

To find out more, please contact our friendly booking team today.

Perishable shipping solutions made simple

Thanks to COVID-19 and on-demand delivery services, online shopping has quickly become a huge part of everyday life for a large number of consumers in the UK. Customers have since diversified and found new, innovative routes to market essentials; now opting to buy fresh produce and perishable foods online instead of shopping in-store. Find out more about how COVID-19 has impacted parcel deliveries on our latest blog here.

Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in a huge boom in retail website traffic worldwide, with website page visits reaching 21.96 billion by June 2020 – a drastic increase from 16.07 billion in January 2020 (Statista 2020 COVID-19 Ecommerce Statistics). From local florists and cake shops to successful cocktail bars, many businesses are smart enough to quickly move their services online. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that now is the time to seriously consider perishable shipping solutions if you haven’t already.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that, when shipping perishable food, there are a few challenges that every business will face. From extreme temperatures and staleness to humidity, there are many things to consider

In this guide, we’re taking a look at the process of shipping perishable goods and what every small or large business should be taking into consideration.

Firstly, what is considered a perishable item?

Put simply, perishable items are products that will deteriorate over time if left in the wrong environment or packaging. This is why it’s incredibly important that they are handled professionally and kept in the correct conditions– especially when shipping is concerned. Here are a few main examples of perishable items:

• Flowers

• Beverages

• Meat

• Seafood

• Dairy products

• Fruit and vegetables

• Pharmaceutical products

• Chemicals

If you’re unsure which of our delivery services will be best suited for your perishable items, then get in touch with our team to discuss your exact delivery requirements.

Logistic solutions for shipping perishable items: How it works

Whenever shipping perishables is concerned, there are many factors that could potentially go wrong. Long shipping times and bad handling will only lead to spoilt food and unnecessary waste, or even the worst-case scenario of food poisoning or illness. This is why, if you’re considering shipping perishable items, it’s so important to make sure that everything is taken into consideration to maintain and control quality of the items. Hiring professionals to do this will only give you the peace of mind that every package you dispatch is being handled the right way.

Here at Priority Express, we offer a range of delivery services that can be tailored to your exact requirements as a business. Our perishable consignments are identified and prioritised at each step of the journey using unique labels. We also ensure that bookings have the right instructions for our delivery drivers to ensure deliveries are made on time and in perfect condition.

How do you ship perishable goods?

1. Plan Ahead – it might seem obvious, but a good place to start would be to make sure that you can actually send the perishable item with your courier. If you’re unsure whether your goods are restricted or not with our services, find out our regulations and requirements here.

2. Choose the Right Packaging - When preparing your perishable items for delivery, one of the most important things to consider is how you will maintain the quality of goods throughout the shipping process.

It’s as simple as this; high quality packaging will ensure items arrive in excellent condition, and bad quality packaging will result in spoilt goods and unhappy customers.

There are a variety of creative packaging solutions to choose from to ensure temperatures are controlled and the goods are kept intact. Here are three packaging ideas for shipping your perishable goods:

• Temperature regulation – for products that need to be kept chilled, we would recommend using corrugated carboard containers with frozen gel bags to maintain to right temperature during shipping. Another option is dry ice, which will keep your packaging dry (unlike gel packs).

• Plastic bags or wrapping paper – if you’re looking for packaging on the more affordable side, then this is a great inexpensive option for transporting perishable items or food.

• Shipping containers – if your goods need to be kept at a set temperature, then we would recommend using a standard cardboard box with an insulated layer for maintaining heat.

3. Communication Is Key – Now that you have your packaging organised, it’s important that you communicate with your courier the exact description of what the perishable items are, what your specific requirements are, and how the items should be handled. This will allow your courier to take the correct precautions when handling your goods.

4. Consider the Most Suitable Shipping Option – If you’re looking to start shipping perishable goods, we highly recommend the below Priority Express services as the most practical shipping solution for this:

Overnight Delivery - Next day parcel and package delivery across the UK is an excellent choice for perishable delivery, as a quick delivery will maintain produce quality and freshness. It will also allow you to meet your deadlines within your budget, ensuring your parcel is delivered safely and in-time to your customers.

Find out more about our overnight delivery service here.

Special Delivery - Our special delivery service covers a wide variety of perishable items, from pallets to order fulfilment. We can discuss a tailored approach to delivering you the perfect solution.

Plus, you also have the advantage of mass mailing and distribution, where we offer bulk postage rates for large orders. We can arrange collection from your business address to UK or overseas addresses, as either a one-off mail drop or as a regular service.

To learn more about our special delivery services, click here.

Let Priority Express Handle the Shipping

Although it might seem like the most cost-effective option to cut out a courier for your business’ shipping solutions, having a trusted courier will reduce both stress and time in the long run – resulting in more time for you to focus on other important areas of your business.

Priority Express has been a cornerstone for many SME’s that want to move their perishable businesses online, providing advice on:

• Packaging

• Delivery service and solutions  

• E-commerce

• I.T integrations

With our state-of-the-art booking and tracking system, you will also have the peace of mind that you can track exactly where your deliveries are at all times.

If you, like many other businesses, are thinking about expanding and moving your perishable business online, then contact us today to discuss the best perishable shipping solutions for your business.

Delivering parcels during a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed ecommerce forever this year. Jack Sims, Doddle‘s Commercial Manager shares his three predictions for ‘Peak 2020’ and explains why PUDO is key to a successful peak.

Parcel volumes are up across the globe, ranging from ‘small’ increases of 20% in New Zealand, to volume doubling in Ireland and Poland. eCommerce has boomed as the high street in every developed country shut down for an extended period throughout the year. Despite the closure of physical stores, people still wanted to purchase items (with older demographics also beginning to adopt ecommerce), meaning a huge upsurge in parcel volume everywhere. We were experiencing 2019 ‘peak’ volumes in April, with the figures continuing to rise as the pandemic spread. Coupled with the fact more people were at home than ever before, it seemed like the perfect scenario for consumers, retailers, and carriers – who saw failed delivery rates plummet.

However, the ecommerce boom was and is a double-edged sword. Carriers have struggled with capacity and profitability throughout the year, and the upcoming peak season could prove to be Olympus Mons – the Martian mountain twice as big as Everest, and literally out-of-this-world. It’s something that carriers are truly going to struggle with and will be a serious concern for everyone involved in the ecommerce ecosystem.

So here are my three predictions:

1 – There will be no return to ‘normal’  

Volumes will continue to rise over the next two months, culminating in peak volumes significantly higher than we’ve ever seen – some markets will experience volumes that weren’t projected to arrive for almost a decade. This demand will not disappear in 2021 either – even with a return of the high street in the latter half of 2020, ecommerce volumes have continued to rise. The combination of more people working from home than ever before and new consumers coming online, especially older shoppers, has caused a lasting change in the overall channel makeup of shopping habits.  

2 – Technology will continue to be the difference-maker in the final mile

Carriers have long had less than picture-perfect reputations with the public (picture social media complaints of parcels thrown over hedges, hidden under doormats or the dreaded ‘sorry we missed you’ slip.) Technological advances over the past few years will prove fundamental in both alleviating customer complaints (plus the associated costs) and bad experiences (plus the associated reputational damage). Improvements like specified delivery slots, detailed tracking and images of confirmed delivery have all been adopted by a wide selection of carriers in the UK and elsewhere during the pandemic, and will prove key to winning the upcoming reputational battle of peak delivery and beyond. Whichever carrier can provide their retail customers with the best solution and keep consumers happy will profit in the long-term and avoid revenue attrition.

3 – PUDO and locker usage is the key to combatting capacity and profitability concerns

Historic driver shortages will strike again. Yes, in the short-term there will be an abundance of people wanting to be drivers, but in the long-term we are still not likely to be able to recruit the required number of drivers (particularly in future as those left furloughed or unemployed thanks to the pandemic begin to return to their old roles). Carriers simply cannot continue to deliver their current product set at their current price structure. But with consumers increasingly refusing to pay for delivery, yet expecting premium services, what is the solution? Consolidation via PUDO will drive bottom line results for the carriers already implementing it and become a must-have for those who haven’t yet. Parcel locker usage is up 300% and parcel shop volumes have dramatically increased since the international lockdowns have ended. Carriers can deliver and collect parcels to/from one location instead of hundreds of homes, cutting their costs and issues with driver capacity.  

We need to learn from China: their volumes are 3x higher than the next highest nation (USA) and are by now used to experiencing the kind of overwhelming parcel volumes that many markets have recently encountered. Their solution? Consolidation via PUDO – in particular, investing in lockers. Mainland China has 330,000 locker banks for consumer usage. They saw PUDO as the only way to deliver mass ecommerce parcels at both scalable and profitable volumes – and it’s a trend that will become more and more important over the next few months. Carriers are either going to benefit from their existing network infrastructure or be clamouring to build one in early 2021.

Credit: Post & Parcel and Doddle.