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Here at ParcelFlow we are always on the hunt for new services we can offer to our customers to make their lives that little bit easier. We are extremely pleased to announce the launch of our virtual address service, which we believe will be incredibly beneficial for businesses both in the UK and other countries.
What is a virtual address?
A virtual address is basically an address that businesses can use on their mailings and correspondence, however they are not actually based there. So for example, a business may be located in a small town but use a virtual address in a big city like London
Why use a virtual address?
Using a virtual business address can benefit your company in many different ways. It’s particularly beneficial to those just starting out and perhaps running their businesses from home. Instead of having to use your home address on your business mailings and website (which can feel like a breach of privacy) you can instead use our virtual UK business address.
In addition to protecting the privacy of your home, using a virtual UK business address can also make your small start-up company look bigger and better established. The world of business is all about image, so having an address in a bigger city can greatly help to build your credibility and win you customers.
Another benefit of using our new virtual UK business address service is that you will be able to have your parcels sent to the team here at ParcelFlow and forwarded onto you. This can be very beneficial; as it will mean that you don’t have to wait in to sign for parcels at inconvenient times and can instead do something more productive with your time.
Any parcels you order using your new virtual UK business address will be sent to our depot. We will then get in touch with you to organise how we are going to forward them onto you and the delivery service you require. You may find that this actually helps to save you money, especially if you are located abroad.
Benefits for international businesses
The first benefit for having a virtual UK business address for your international business is that it can help save you money on parcel shipping. Instead of having to pay international rates, you can simply use your virtual UK business address and pay a much lower rate (or even benefit from free delivery). Your parcel will then arrive at our depot and get forwarded onto you by our team.
Another benefit of our new virtual UK business address service for international companies is that it will give them a local presence. Often customers are put off working with businesses in other countries, as they assume that communications will be poor. By using a virtual UK business address, you can make it seem like you are located in the UK, which will help you to win over customers and wow them with the high-quality product or service you provide.
Sign up for a virtual UK business address
We believe our new virtual UK business address service is going to really benefit small businesses (including home-based businesses) in the UK, as well as those operating internationally. It will make your business appear larger and more established, whilst also helping you to gain a local presence in a new location.
For more information about our virtual UK business addresses or to sign up, please contact ParcelFlow using our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!
“Made in China” products have taken the German market by storm over recent years. Germans love the low cost, variety of choice and quality standards which have improved massively over the past 20 years.
We proceed in this article to discuss Germany’s love for Chinese Goods but also some practical problems German citizens and businesses have in importing Chinese goods and how Parcelflow can help overcome these issues.
In a recent survey from Deutsche Handles Agentur  a number of interesting findings were made about Germany’s love for Chinese goods:
1) 85% of Germans said they were happy to buy “Made in China” products.
2) Around 8.9% of all German imports are from China.
3) Around 60% of purchases the country of origin was not important, in these cases Germans were happy to buy from China.
Germany buys a wide range of Chinese goods but items which are particularly popular include electrical equipment, TVs, clothing, toys, radios and computer equipment.
Germans buy Chinese goods for a number of reasons, these include:
i) Low cost – this is the main unique selling point of buying Chinese goods within Germany
ii) Many German businesses rely on buying Chinese goods to sell on for a profit; this is especially the case with affiliate sellers on eCommerce sites such as EBay and Amazon
iii) Chinese manufacturers have repositioned themselves in recent years to provide higher quality products which is reassuring to the German population
There are a number of problems which German customers face unfortunately when buying Chinese goods. The main issues experienced are:
i) High transit charges are often made by Chinese Companies to distribute goods, as the customer is seen as a one-off deal by the seller
ii) Exorbitant customs charges are applied by German authorities to import Chinese goods into Germany
iii) Goods are destroyed by German customs as counterfeit
iv) Many Chinese businesses don’t offer an export service at all, especially smaller eShops
Parcelflow can be relied upon to provide a solution to the importing of Chinese goods into Germany. Parcelflow offer a parcel forwarding service for Chinese goods.
To access this service customers from Germany need to register with Parcelflow. Each German customer will be given their own unique Parcelflow UK address. Goods received at this UK address will then be forwarded to the German address.
This will prevent high customs charges being imposed on receipt in Germany as the parcel will be from the UK and also reduce the chance of goods being destroyed (not that Parcelflow would knowingly ship counterfeit goods!).
So why not register with Parcelflow today and start saving money on Chinese goods? This service is available in other countries too, so feel free to register and save money in other countries too! Find out more about how parcel forwarding works with Parcelflow at this link.
One of the great things about the Internet is that you aren’t just limited to buying products from retailers in your home country; you can buy them from retailers all over the world! Unless of course, websites decide to impose restrictions, which unfortunately happens more than you think. Yes, many UK websites actually don’t let you purchase items unless you have a UK debit or credit card. This can be very problematic for those living in non-UK countries that want to shop online with UK retailers.
We can make purchases from UK retailers’ websites on your behalf.
Well, you could look for the same products on other websites; however the reason many people choose UK retailers is because they offer high quality products at cost effective prices. So if that’s not an option for you, then you need to find a way of obtaining a UK debit card.
The good news is that ParcelFlow has the perfect solution in the form of its Personal Shopper Program. With Personal Shopper, you simply let us know what you need to purchase and we’ll organise it on your behalf!
If you are non-UK resident looking to make a purchase from a UK website but don’t have a UK debit or credit card, we can make the transaction for you. All you need to do is let us know what you need to buy and from where from, provide us with the payment and then we’ll pay for your item, before having it shipped to you.
The most obvious benefit is that it allows you to buy products from UK retailers that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Another benefit is that you will be able to benefit from lower shipping costs. As a ParcelFlow customer, we will provide you with a UK address that you can have your parcels shipped to, so you will only have to pay UK delivery fees, as opposed to expensive international shipping. Some retailers even offer free delivery in the UK, allowing you to make even bigger cost savings.
Once we’ve ordered your items, they will be shipped to our depot. From there, we will correspond with you, to find out which of our trusted courier services you’d like to use. Seeing as we use delivery companies every day to ship out high volumes, we benefit from bulk discounts, which we pass onto you, our customer. We can also offer you the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for your items, should you wish to.
After selecting a courier service, we’ll forward your parcels to you and ensure they arrive safely at your door!
We are happy to purchase all sorts of items on your behalf, providing they are legal. Common items that we have purchased for customers using our Personal Shopper Program include rail tickets, bicycle parts, clothing, baby products and much, much more.
To benefit from our Personal Shopper Program, you need to sign up to ParcelFlow. Don’t worry it’s completely free! We don’t charge any membership fees and only ask customers to pay for their items, handling costs and the cost of shipping / courier.
We also have a loyalty program, so you can collect points every time you use our services to trade in for freebies in the future. Build up your loyalty points and you will be able to benefit from things like free handling and free parcel forwarding.
The parcel delivery sector has seen many innovations in recent years, with the very latest being drones. Here we’ll take a look at the emerging role for drones in parcel delivery and how they can potentially benefit the industry.
Amazon is currently testing its delivery drones at a lab in Cambridge, after getting the governments go ahead. The aim is that their Prime Air service will deliver packages within thirty minutes of order being placed, by flying drones below 500ft.
However, in order for Amazon’s idea to work, they will need regulatory support. As it currently stands, commercial drone pilots must undergo a strict testing process before getting the Civil Aviation Authority’s permission. They must also ensure their drones are always in line of sight – something that would currently limit where Amazon could deliver parcels to.
Other companies that are testing drone delivery around the world include Google and Chinese Internet giant, Alibaba.
Whilst Amazon and Google are busy testing drone delivery, German delivery firm, DHLA has already introduced a regular drone delivery service. The service uses a quadcopter to delivery small packages to Juist, a small German island found 12km into the North Sea from the German coast. Just 2,000 people live here.
The drones regularly carry over medication and other goods deemed to be urgently needed by the small community. Once the automated drones have landed on Juist, a DHL courier picks up the goods and transports them to the recipient.
Whilst this new way of delivering parcels seems to be working well in Germany, the service is not currently available in the UK. This is due to the fact that the Civil Aviation Authority limits unmanned vehicles to operating at least 50m from a building or person and must always be within sight of the operator.
Here in the UK, we’re still a way off having drones deliver our parcels (until adequate safety testing and proper rules have been implemented) however, let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits that drone delivery could offer.
Drones could potentially lead to shorter delivery times; helping more and more brands to meet their customers’ demands for next day deliveries. Amazon is allegedly aiming to get parcels delivered via drones within just 30 minutes, which would mean customers having access to their online purchases quicker than ever before.
There is also the potential for drone delivery to increase road safety. If more people are ordering online, as opposed to going to the shops and companies are delivering via drones, instead of delivery vans, there will be fewer vehicles on the road, which inevitably means fewer accidents.
Another benefit of using drones for parcel delivery is that they will significantly reduce companies’ carbon footprints. More drones in the sky are likely to mean fewer gas-guzzling delivery vans on the road, leading to reduced emissions and a healthier planet!
Drone delivery could potentially result in new employment in the parcel delivery sector; however there is also a chance that people could lose their jobs too, as a result of less demand for road-based deliveries. Only time will tell how this pans out.
Whilst drones could certainly contribute a number of benefits to the parcel delivery sector, at the moment it’s all a bit conceptual. Until the CAA and government come up with dedicated procedures for regulating drone usage and companies build drones that can meet adequate safety testing, it’s safe to assume that for now, the technology will remain a thing of the future.
The importance of offering a wide range of parcel delivery options is growing every year. According to a study by Royal Mail, almost 40% of consumers say they would buy from eCommerce stores more if they offered a great range of delivery options.
Whereas in the past, offering next day delivery would give you a huge advantage over competitors, today it’s almost expected from consumers. What’s even more apparent is that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in weekend deliveries. So is this the next big move for businesses in the industry?
Thanks to the dedication and flexibility of couriers, eCommerce retailers can offer their customers more parcel delivery options than ever before. Whilst most companies offer standard delivery, which can range from 2 – 3 to 3 – 4 working days, many now also next day delivery at a premium rate. Providing customers place their order before a cut off period (say 2pm), many companies are able to get their items to them within 24 hours.
Amazon has gone one better by introducing same day deliveries. As it currently stands, this service is only available for areas within the M25 around London and certain postcodes in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and Cardiff. The company plans to roll out the service to more customers in the future and there is even talk of a 30 minute delivery service, with the use of Amazon Prime Air drones.
Royal Mail also provides a same day courier service, which guarantees delivery of urgent items on the same day to almost anywhere in the UK. The service is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with 98% of collections taking place within the hour.
In addition to offering next day and same day parcel delivery services, many companies have also been introducing weekend deliveries. The great thing about weekend deliveries is that they are much more convenient for the majority of customers, many of whom go out to work in the week and are therefore not in the house when their deliveries arrive.
Introducing weekend deliveries could definitely save on time wasted on failed deliveries, whilst also improving customer satisfaction.
A number of companies are currently offering Sunday deliveries, including Amazon (using its own logistics business), Royal Mail and DPD. These companies have a significant advantage over other businesses in the parcel industry by meeting the demand for more convenient weekend delivery slots.
With more and more companies introducing 7 days a week parcel delivery, it seems as though we are heading towards this being the norm. Soon enough, 7 day parcel delivery will be expected by customers, just as most now expect next day delivery as standard. This could potentially mean that those unable to offer 7 day deliveries could really lose out.
A 7 day parcel service obviously benefits the consumer in terms of convenience and companies in terms of improving first time delivery success rates but it also benefits the economy as a whole. With increased demand for weekend deliveries, we are likely to see an increased need for delivery drivers and distribution centre staff, leading to job creation up and down the country.
With demand for quicker and more convenient services, it seems inevitable that 7 day a week delivery is on the cards for the UK parcel economy. We look forward to seeing how things progress over the next year or so.