Editor's Comment

Yodel’s 1% peak cap fits, Amazon takes the low road, and FedEx gets touchy

Back in July Yodel caused an industry-wide intake of breath when it announced it would be capping the amount of next-day delivery Black Friday business it would accept from retailers.

Now those capped chickens are, of course (in the wake of cyber week), coming home to roost.

Yodel says it delivered a record-breaking number of parcels from cyber week this year – 5,098,559 to be precise. When compared with the 5,048,305 parcels it took in during the same week last year the first thing that struck me was that’s an increase of about 50,000, or 1%.

Add to the mix the £30m invested this year by Yodel in getting itself ready for whatever peak 2015 had to throw at it, and that 1% starts to look a little concerning.

Those headline numbers don’t tell the whole story though. Back in 2014, as we and many other media outlets covered, Yodel was left with 600,000 unexpected parcels that it simply didn’t have capacity for.

It’s dodged that bullet this year, and had a lot of positive feedback from shoppers too.

Worth £30m..? Hard to say – but how much do reputations cost? They take a long time to build and can be badly damaged by setbacks such as systematic delivery failures – and it wasn’t just Yodel that had trouble last year. But being as big as it is, makes Yodel a hard-to-miss target for criticism.

Long term success can only be judged in the longer term; avoiding trouble this year is great news for Yodel and according to other voices in the sector, a healthy Yodel is important for the rest of the delivery industry.

As I was putting the finishing touches to this newsletter, my colleagues at Tamebay shared a story with me about Amazon gearing up to force retailers to use Amazon Logistics. It’s too soon to assess all the implications of that but clearly some carriers could be very badly hit by such a move. One to watch? You bet.

Elsewhere on eDelivery, but sticking with Amazon, the retail giant’s biggest DC is currently caught up in a high profile bridge closure – one of those occasions when you’re glad you have 10 other DCs dotted around the country.

We have a round up of news from Deutsche Post, Royal Mail, Christmas delivery sickness, and more, and an opinion piece on the importance of balancing fraud risk and customer service requirements.

And we have a case study on a UK high-tech success story, visualplanet, exporting its touchscreens to retailers worldwide thanks to FedEx.

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