Over the last ten years, businesses have seen a massive rise in online sales, creating an increasing global need for courier services to help streamline the online retail user experience. The fulfillment of last-mile delivery and courier services have enabled consumers to order products from local and international markets, regardless of their large or heavy orders.
Courier service is now a booming industry in today’s digital age. The global domestic couriers market will grow from $54.84 billion in 2022 to $61.30 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8%.
Courier services specialize in more than just delivering consignments and parcels. Individuals and businesses can use couriers to transport important documents and mail.
People use courier services to send things to one another. Similarly, businesses use it to deliver products and materials to other businesses. E-commerce companies also use courier services to deliver products to their customers.
As businesses depend on courier services to deliver products to one another and their customers, they need to learn about courier services.
Our courier services: A complete guide for 2023 will look at the different types of courier services, explore the benefits, pros, and cons of these services, and answer, “What is courier service, and why do I need it?”
What is a Courier Service?
A courier service delivers items from one place to another. Instead of just messages, a courier service delivers all sorts of objects. You can send documents, gifts, electronics, clothes, raw materials, and more.
Whatever you want to send, a courier service will deliver as long as it is legal. People and businesses use courier services to ship goods between cities, states, or countries.
For example, you are a shoe store in Sydney and send your products to a customer in Brisbane. Instead of managing deliveries in-house, you can use a third-party courier service to deliver the product to your customer’s address.
You pack, label, and hand over the product to a courier service in Melbourne. They will put it on a truck. This truck will travel to Sydney and deliver the product on your behalf.
In this example, the person or the company delivering the product is the carrier. And the action they take to complete the delivery is called a courier service.
In the same way, eCommerce businesses use courier services to send products to their customers. The eCommerce company hands the product to a courier service when you buy something online. This courier company then brings the product to your address.
E-commerce companies also use couriers to receive products returned by the customers. A courier service is the messenger between the e-commerce company and their customers. Hence, it is necessary for eCommerce to understand how the process works so that they can choose the right courier service.
Couriers are a commodity in the present world, from the United States to the United Kingdom to Australia.
A courier service lets you send or receive any parcel from one location to another, whether it is delivery of a single package from within your city, country, or to another country.
Compared to traditional post services like the Australian post service, these partnerships with courier services provide businesses, brands, and customers with an extensive range of in-house resources, shipping, and delivery options that improve good customer service and a delivery experience with fewer size restrictions and improved international shipping.
Delivery companies such as Zoom2U specialize in last-mile delivery and premium features for time-sensitive deliveries. The company offers users an easy-to-use transparent booking system platform that allows them to process their orders online without using traditional and outdated postal methods.
How Does a Courier Service Work?
The fundamental task of a courier service is quite simple. They have to take things from one place and deliver it to another. But, it is by no means a simple process. The task involves packaging, handling, organizing, transporting via delivery vehicles, and delivery.
The entire courier process splits into three parts:
The first step for any courier service is to receive the parcel that is to be delivered. People can drop off their parcels at the courier company’s location.
Most courier companies also offer pick-up services. For eCommerce businesses, the pick-up location is usually the product storage unit. It can be a warehouse or an order fulfillment center.
Items must be packed before the carrier can receive them. The sender usually carries out packing. The vast majority of courier companies will only collect sufficiently pre-packed items.
Depending on the article, packing can be in various forms, such as,
- A bag
- An envelope
- A cardboard box
- A wooden crate
If the items are delicate or likely to break during transport, it is essential to pack them with sufficient cushioning material while packing. You can also request that the courier provide fragile stickers for the parcel. This packed item is called a parcel or package.
At this stage, a parcel travels in a delivery vehicle from one place to another. Most courier services use one or more of three modes of transport:
Road transport includes scooters, bikes, cars, vans, trucks, and trains. It is considered the cheapest mode of transportation. But, it can only carry a specific cargo volume in one vehicle. Road transport is most often used for domestic couriers. Road transport and route optimization software are most commonly used for final (last-mile) delivery for eCommerce businesses.
Ships are the only vehicles used for Sea transport. But they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Courier services use tankers, container ships, freights, reefers, and more. Each ship serves a different purpose and carries another type of cargo.
It is the cheapest mode of transport for sending things internationally. About 80% of international trade is carried out by ships. It is also particularly cost-effective for sending significant things or many things.
But, it is also the slowest mode of transport. A courier traveling by ship may take several days to reach its destination. Still, businesses prefer ships because a ship has the highest volume capacity among all modes of transport. That is what makes sea transport cost-effective.
Air transport vehicles can be divided into freights and feeders. Freights are large planes that can carry a lot of cargo (not as much as a ship). Feeders are small planes that carry less cargo but travel faster. For a few unique locations, courier companies use helicopters to deliver parcels.
Air transport is the fastest. But it is also the most expensive. It is usually used for express couriers.
The vehicle choice depends on the cargo size and the distance it needs to travel. Depending on the destination, cargo may change vehicles during transport.
The cargo moves to the delivery stage once the transport vehicle reaches its destination.
At this stage, the courier company unloads the cargo from the transport vehicle. The parcel is finally handed over at the destination. In the case of eCommerce couriers, the package is handed to the customer.
If a parcel travels through multiple modes of transport, it undergoes different cycles of receiving and delivery. Such scenarios depend on the distance between the origin and the destination.
Courier vs. Postal Services
Courier services and postal services serve the same purpose. The difference lies in their ownership and operations. The government owns a postal service, while a courier service is owned by a specialist delivery business.
This fundamental difference between couriers and postal services results in delivery times and prices. Courier services are generally faster but more expensive than traditional post offices (postal services).
Quality Service And Reliability
Governments operate the postal services, which are usually less responsive than the courier.
Postal services can be affordable. However, their service could be more reliable for international and essential time-sensitive deliveries.
Postal services do not offer customers important features like frequent package tracking and are known for poor customer service and delivery issues.
A courier business takes care of all the delivery stages, from pick-up, duty, and tax, and allows customers to monitor their last-mile delivery throughout the entire delivery process. Most courier businesses can use route optimization software to improve both route planning and business success. If you have any issues with your delivery, there will always be an excellent customer service representative to assist you with any customer inquiries.
A postal service (the post office) typically costs less than a private courier company, thanks to its low operational costs and customers only have to pay for shipping.
On the other hand, courier pricing structure costing includes a parcel, handling fees, duty and taxes (if any), and additional fuel if the delivery destination is in a remote location.
Types Of Courier Services
There is no shortage of courier companies worldwide, with IBISWorld reporting 59,846 Global Courier and Delivery Services companies operating worldwide in 2023.
In a report by IBIS World, experts expect the global courier industry to increase rapidly over the next five years. Here’s a brief review of the types of worldwide courier and delivery service companies:
Courier Types Based on-Destination
Based on the delivery destination, courier services are divided into two categories:
- Domestic Couriers
- International Couriers
What is Domestic Courier Service?
A domestic courier service delivers parcels within a country. International borders do not separate the city of the parcels’ origin and destination.
Based on the location of origin and destination cities, domestic couriers are further divided into three categories:
- Intracity Couriers or Local Couriers
- Intercity Couriers
- Interstate Couriers
In Intracity couriers, the origin and destination are in the same city. Intracity couriers are also known as local couriers. Such couriers have only one delivery cycle.
Once the courier company receives that parcel, it loads it onto a vehicle. This vehicle delivers the parcel to the destination. In the case of local couriers, small trucks and vans are the most common modes of transport. Owing to the short distance, a courier company can deliver local parcels within a few hours.
In intercity couriers, the origin and destination are in different cities but in the same state. An intercity courier usually undergoes 2-3 cycles of delivery.
The courier company transports the cargo to the destination city in the first delivery stage. The mode of transport for the second delivery cycle depends on various factors.
A courier company may use a truck, train, or airplane based on the customer’s requirements. The choice of transport is also subject to the availability of transport infrastructures such as train stations and airports.
The second delivery cycle is complete when the cargo reaches the destination city.
The courier company loads it in a truck or a van that delivers it to the destination address. An intercity courier usually takes 2 to 3 days to reach the destination. But, with express couriers, the delivery time can be brought down to 1 day.
Interstate couriers’ origin and destination cities are in different states but in the same country. Most interstate couriers work in a similar way as intercity couriers. But, a parcel may undergo 3-4 delivery cycles before it reaches the destination.
What is International Courier Service?
An international courier service delivers parcels from one country to another. Here, a parcel needs to cross international borders to reach its destination. For example, it can be between,
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
- And many other countries.
These companies have a vehicle fleet at their disposal. International shipping companies promise delivery within 3-4 days from initial booking, making them a worthy choice for necessary shipping packages and specialized services overseas. Many of these companies, like DHL and FedEx, operate globally.
Courier services are divided into different categories based on the destination and delivery time. Each type of courier service has a different process to deliver the parcel.
The most significant difference between domestic and international couriers is the involvement of international laws. Unlike domestic couriers, an international courier must pass through customs and comply with the destination country’s import laws. International couriers are also subject to additional charges in the form of customs duties and import charges.
These conditions make international couriers more complicated, expensive, and time-consuming. A parcel traveling abroad undergoes several delivery cycles to reach the destination. It also travels through more than one mode of transport during the journey.
The receiving process for international couriers is the same as for domestic couriers. But, the courier company also prepares documents for customs clearance of the parcel. These documents show the parcel complies with the destination country’s import laws.
A courier company also needs more robust packing for international couriers. This packing depends on the mode of transport for international travel. The packing for air freight is different from the packing for sea freight.
The first delivery cycle for international couriers is from the origin city to the shipping distribution center.
This can be an airport or a seaport. International couriers can also travel by road, through trains, and road freight trucks. The choice of transport depends on the available routes between the origin and destination.
The second delivery cycle begins at the shipping distribution center of one country and culminates at the distribution center of the destination country.
Once the cargo reaches the destination country, it is unloaded from the vehicle and checked by its customs department. Customs only open or unpack the cargo if they find it suspicious. The courier company will present customs documents to allow the shipment to proceed.
The parcel is dispatched to a warehouse once the customs department clears the cargo. Here, the parcel is loaded into another vehicle. This vehicle can be a truck, train, or airplane.
In this cycle, the parcel travels to the destination city. Once the package reaches the destination city, it is again unpacked from the cargo and loaded into a smaller truck that delivers it to the destination address.
Courier Service Types Based on Delivery Time
Based on the desired delivery time, courier services are divided into three categories:
- Standard Couriers
- Overnight Couriers
- Express Couriers
Express Couriers Service
An express courier service offers customers same-day delivery within the same city limits. Express courier services are ideal for businesses that rely on speedy deliveries and private communications.
Overnight Courier Services
Overnight courier delivery services are used for urgent deliveries to other cities. Most overnight courier delivery services promise delivery to the destination address the next day in the morning.
Standard Courier Service
A shipping company’s essential courier services take longer than an express service. Standard courier services ensure your package deliveries within 2-3 days of booking the order.
Courier Services Benefits
The benefits of courier services differ from courier business to courier business. Larger companies often opt for an in-house delivery structure. While small to medium-sized courier businesses offer a comprehensive range of features and benefits.
Private companies run the most successful courier business services. While courier businesses run their operations differently, their operations are designed to serve customer needs.
Below are a few benefits of using courier services over postal services.
Speed of Delivery
Courier services are focused on creating hassle-free deliveries. These services use efficient fleet management and customer service to ensure your deliveries are delivered on time.
Deliveries by air allow pallets of items to be delivered rapidly, while freight is perfect for large-volume transportation.
Courier services usually deliver parcels faster than other delivery methods like parcel post. A courier company has a robust transport infrastructure that can speed up the delivery process. Additionally, courier services offer special speed-based delivery services like same-day and express delivery.
Courier services are the most reliable delivery services regarding logistics. They offer various options like tracking services, meticulous work ethic, and door-to-door deliveries.
These companies use GPS tracking services and smartphone applications that allow customers to monitor their items during delivery and receive instant notifications when the parcel is nearby or misplaced.
Courier companies worldwide have a delivery success rate of more than 90%. A courier company’s success results from reliable delivery times and minimal parcel loss and damage during transit, leading to better customer satisfaction and renewed business.
In-house courier services cannot compete with the safety of professional couriers. Professional courier companies have established procedures, trained staff, and have state-of-the-art logistics management.
Using courier services reduces the risk of losses in case of in-transit damage to shipped packages. Small businesses can enjoy peace of mind that their parcels are safe when using professional courier services.
Courier services allow Small to medium enterprises to continue focusing on running their business without worrying about shipping damages. They also provide insurance to ensure a feeling of security for senders.
Courier services use multiple layers of packing to ensure that parcels remain safe during transit. People can also demand special handling when they courier delicate items. A courier company offers additional safety in the form of a protection warranty. This ensures adequate compensation if your parcel gets lost or damaged during transit.
Courier services offer a more personalized experience to their customers. Instead of a set format, you can choose from various courier options based on the parcel size, delivery time, mode of transport, and so on.
Furthermore, you can also get pick-up services and door-to-door delivery.
Courier services can be more expensive than postal mail carriers. However, the benefit of using a courier service is increased business efficiency.
Private couriers provide SMEs with a platform that eliminates the need to create a fleet of trucks, the cost of managing logistics, and training staff.
Courier services are only a little more expensive than postal services. But this price difference is negligible compared to its delivery time and reliability benefits. While the price of a standard courier will be higher than standard post, the courier will reach its destination faster. On the other hand, if you send a parcel by express post, you will find the price is as high as a standard courier service.
One of the most significant advantages of courier service is that you can track your parcel’s journey. A courier company will give you a tracking number. This tracking number is unique to your parcel. It can provide various information, such as:
- The current location of your parcel.
- The current status of your parcel in the delivery process.
- The time until your parcel goes into the next phase of the process.
- The time required for the parcel to be delivered.
You get to know about the delays in advance so that you can make arrangements accordingly.
Alongside tracking, courier services have much better customer support than postal services. Unlike postal services, most courier companies offer round-the-clock customer support. This is especially helpful for eCommerce businesses.
If there is an issue with the delivery, or you want to change a standard delivery to an express courier, customer support will help you. While often neglected, this feature proves to be a boon in times of crisis.
A courier service offers far more flexibility than a postal service. You can choose the delivery method and the delivery time. Postal services do not provide such personalizations.
You can also choose from a variety of payment plans for your parcels. Courier services allow you to pay by weight, volume, mode of transportation, etc.
Pros & Cons Of Using A Courier Service
Here are some pros and cons of using a courier service.
- The perfect solution for SMEs.
- Great delivery option for individuals and businesses aiming to save company resources and delivery expenditures.
- Excellent delivery safety, speed, reliability, efficiency, and reliability.
- Expensive rates for standard deliveries.
- Stricter limitations on parcel weight and dimensions.
- Delivery consignments can change hands during multiple delivery stops, leading to lower reliability and increased package damage.
How Does Courier Service Charge Customers?
A courier company will charge for their services based on the efforts required to deliver the parcel. Here are six factors that influence the price of courier services.
The delivery destination is the most critical factor in calculating courier charges. It decides whether the courier is domestic or international. The delivery destination also determines the distance a parcel will need to travel. It also determines the process for receiving, transporting, and delivery.
Based on the distance between the origin and destination, a courier company finds the available modes of transportation. These, in turn, dictate the cost and delivery time.
The second most crucial factor in calculating courier price is the parcel’s weight. The weight directly impacts the available modes of transportation and handling. A heavy parcel requires more robust vehicles for transport. They also require special handling. Hence, courier companies charge more to deliver heavier packages.
Volumetric weight decides how much space a parcel takes in the cargo. It also determines the mode of transportation and handling. A larger package needs a larger transport vehicle. If the volumetric weight is higher, the courier cost will also be higher.
Delivery time decides several aspects of the courier process. Express couriers are usually sent on priority. Hence, flights are used to deliver them. That is why they are more expensive.
Even for road deliveries, express couriers travel in different trucks that operate independently from the courier companies’ schedule. Owing to these changes in the standard courier process, express couriers are more expensive.
Value of the Parcel
The value of the parcel or its contents decides the terms and charges of the protection warranty. You must pay extra for a protection warranty if your parcel contains valuable items such as jewelry or electronics, resulting in an increased courier price.
If your parcel requires special packing or handling, you must pay extra. Parcels marked as fragile are handled differently than other parcels. They are also treated with an extra layer of packing to protect them from damage. Special packing also increases the weight of the courier. Hence, courier companies charge extra for that.
Courier Services Are More Reliable
Most e-commerce businesses depend on some of the largest courier services that give them value for their money. These courier businesses give e-commerce companies access to state-of-the-art shipping techniques, unique operations, and unique solutions like route planning and route optimization software that have helped many businesses successfully run their shipping operations and fulfill their delivery needs.
Courier services have taken a leading role in managing customs, taxes, and duty fares in international shipments. Implementing measures to ensure neither the buyer nor the sender has to worry about losing their parcel in transit.
Couriers integrate GPS technology to give customers a seamless real-time tracking experience. There are fees associated with these features that are higher than traditional posts. Yet most individuals agree that the quality of customer service and lack of stress in solving these problems outweigh the costs.
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What does a Courier Service mean?
Courier Services refers to a company that provides consumers with a service that delivers goods, packages, letters, and documents to your door. Courier Services should provide both a fast and practical service, even if it is a standard delivery service or shipping.
What are the Types of Courier Service?
The main difference is that one courier service is public, and the other is private. The Courier company is a delivery service, generally a for-profit venture aiming to be competitive in speed, efficiency, and service. They tend to be more costly. Mail services (like the US Post and Australia Post) are shipping services that generally run slower, less efficiently, and cost less.
What is Same Day Courier Service?
Same-day courier service delivers a parcel to its destination within 24 hours. Such courier services offered by companies like Zoom2U are only possible if the city of origin and destination are within a reasonable distance. It is also possible if both city origin and destination have the infrastructure for fast modes of transport like trains and flights.
What is the Cost of Courier Service?
The cost of courier service depends on several factors. The most critical factors in calculating the cost of courier service are distance, weight, volumetric weight, and delivery time. Each courier company has different per-unit charges for each of these factors.
What is the Difference Between Courier and Local Postal Services?
One key difference is that the public domain owns one courier service, and the other is a private firm. The Courier company is a delivery service, generally a for-profit venture aiming to be competitive in speed, efficiency, and service. They tend to be more costly. Mail services (like the US Post and Australia Post) are shipping services that generally run slower, less efficiently, and cost less.
What is a Courier Service Business?
A courier service business provides delivery services for objects. The company delivers items between two destinations. Courier service businesses use an extensive infrastructure, including human resources, warehouses, and transport vehicles.
What is International Courier Service?
An international courier service delivers parcels from one country to another. International couriers’ city of origin and destination are in different countries. The package must cross international borders to reach the final delivery address. International courier service must also deal with the destination country’s customs regulations and import laws. International courier service is more expensive than domestic.