If you are a business owner providing either rural or residential mail delivery, you must let your customers know which category they fall into. This way, they will know what to expect in terms of timeframes, and how to track their package. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between residential and rural mail delivery, as well as best practices for managing these on your website.
A ‘Business Delivery’ is the delivery of goods to a high-density delivery zone that includes, but is not limited to, shopping malls, business parks, and other companies located in major cities. Across town, same-day business-to-business delivery can sometimes be achieved for consignments picked up before 9.30am.
We define ‘Residential Delivery’ as a delivery to a low-density delivery zone that includes, but is not limited to, residential homes, businesses run from residential homes, and businesses located close to residences.
We began as a Business-to-Business (B2B) courier firm. However, Business-to-Customer (aka B2C), is now a significant component of what we do. Our studies found that New Zealand was the fifth cheapest country in the world for courier services, just above Greece and Thailand. The problem is that NZ never adjusted prices to reflect the effort it takes to deliver those items.
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Different challenges couriers face with residential home delivery:
- The number of homes that can be visited in an hour is lower than for business addresses, so residential couriers need to plan their day carefully to make the most efficient use of their time.
- There can be more delivery instructions, such as ‘leave at back door’ or ‘deliver to flat above garage’, which can add time to each delivery.
- Residential customers are often not home when the courier arrives. Hence, couriers must either wait an acceptable amount of time, or make a second attempt later in the day, adding significant time to the delivery journey.
Servicing residential zones comes with a higher demand of effort and cost for our couriers, which is why New Zealand Couriers, under Freightways, pioneered the residential zone charge in the form of ‘Pricing for Effort’. This allows us to better resource and service these deliveries, ensuring our network stays efficient and aligned with our KPI commitments to existing B2B customers.
Find out more about Pricing for Effort by reading our Freightways annual reports.
Pricing for Effort is an industry-standard already implemented in our Rural, Saturday, and Dangerous Goods deliveries.
New Zealand Couriers define Rural/Non-Urban areas as those that sit outside our regularly serviced regions (Business & Residential Delivery Zones) and may vary from other courier and postal companies’ definitions of ‘Rural’. Rural and remote addresses make up approximately 1% of New Zealand addresses, and as such, we use Coural as our agent for deliveries going to Rural addresses.
Like our independent contractors, Coural contractors are paid through a delivery scan activated by scanning the rural delivery ticket.
In rural areas, there may be long driveways or difficult terrain that our couriers need to navigate, which can also add time. An average rural delivery will take 2 – 3 business days to complete. A sharp increase in volumes may cause delays with rural contractors.
Our other delivery options:
- Saturday Delivery: Kiwis increasingly want the convenience of receiving their parcels on a Saturday. It is a great delivery option for urgent parcels and for customers who want to be there for when the parcel arrives.
- Dangerous Goods Delivery: Dangerous goods, such as chemicals or petroleum products, can be hazardous to human health, safety, and the natural environment. As such, they must be handled with care when being sent and require more effort to send. Read more about how to ship dangerous goods.
- Two-Day Economy Service: New Zealand Couriers offer a two-day economy service between islands.
- National Overnight Delivery: Our fastest delivery option, your item will arrive by the next business day if you book before our daily cut-off time. Arrival time will depend on the delivery zone.
Find out more about our delivery options nationwide.
Manage these Delivery types on your website
The first step is to understand your customers’ needs. If you are a business owner, it is important to let your customers know which type of delivery they are receiving. This way, they will know what to expect and how to track their package.
Knowing which tickets to use for various areas can save you time when you have a lot of shipments to complete (if you are sending via prepaid ticketing). Find out which prepaid tickets to use for different areas here.
Integrate with your shipping service provider
By connecting your ecommerce platform to a shipping integration via API, you may be able to automatically convey information such as the delivery zone and price to your consumers. The integration allows customers to get information about their address as soon as they type it in, telling them what their address is classified as, the cost and when their package is expected to arrive.
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Should you charge your customers upfront for these deliveries?
Depending on which areas you’re sending to most, you might want to consider charging based on delivery zone upfront. Our studies have found that customers want more information about their deliveries from the get-go, and are willing to pay for better service if it’s available.
Informing your customers from the beginning about any additional effort or costs that might be incurred will help keep them better informed.
Alternatively, you could also:
- Provide a fixed shipping rate and make your shipping costs account for any minimal rural or Saturday shipping costs.
- Automatically generate any delivery surcharge to your shipping rates through API integration.
- Price all orders the same and add the rural/non-urban delivery charge at checkout.
- Advise your customers to enter a business addresses instead of residential to reduce shipping costs.
Should you provide delivery options to your customers?
The short answer is yes. Our research has found that although not always utilised, customers indeed want options, and those who need them are willing to pay. Providing services like Saturday, Overnight, or two-day economy delivery can make a world of difference to those who need them.
Differentiating your service offering will give your customers the best possible experience. The flexibility you are able to provide will ensure they trust your business to meet their delivery needs.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your customers are getting the best possible service from you. Find out about more ways to improve your website’s shipping and delivery information here.