How Online Shopping Is Changing The Courier Industry

With the world’s obsession for letting our fingers do the walking – aka online shopping – those of us who do courier jobs for a living are reaping the benefits. Even despite the advent of automated drone deliveries from retail giants like Amazon, the humble white van man’s job is not only safe, but booming.

So, just how has the rise of Internet shopping changed the delivery industry?

Thought Provoking Statistics

Who doesn’t love a good stat to back an argument? Just in case you’re in any doubt, here’s what we know.

In the past decade, the number of vans on the road has increased by a whopping 75%
To put it in perspective, there are now 3.9 million licenced vans on the road in the UK
Online shopping has risen to encompass 77% of the population (at least once a year)
While, of course there are other contributing factors to this exponential growth, experts are in no doubt that it is due in great part to the rise of Internet shopping and home deliveries.

The Upsides

The upside of all that home-based retail therapy is pretty cut-and-dried for the delivery industry: more courier jobs. Not just that, with the demand for same-day and next-day deliveries, there’s a lot of money to be made for those who design their business to meet the market. If you’re looking to take things even further, joining an online exchange (where goods and capacity are traded in real time) will allow you to take advantage of the lucrative return load aspect of the delivery industry. When you reduce your dead mileage, your bottom line can be hugely affected in the right direction.

The Downsides

Every bit of good news has to have a downside, and the downside of those extra courier jobs is, of course, the extra vans on the road to cope with the demand. And all those vehicles mean more congestion and pollution, and even with strict new emissions legislation in place, the environment is bound to suffer. On top of that, the knock-on effect of traffic snarls in our cities means the bus industry may also suffer, with more and more people having to seek alternative ways of getting around in a timely manner.

The Solutions

While the government is tackling the pollution problem on a national scale, with new Euro 6 standards and emission zones coming into effect, it’s up to those of us who take on courier jobs to do our part on an individual level, too – not just for the community and environment, but also for our own fiscal gains.

An investment in hi-tech software is very rarely a mistake, and installing a sophisticated GPS system (or at least the best you can afford) can make all the difference to your journey. Every driver should also look at their own time management and identify where improvements can be made (do you really need to detour three miles to visit your favourite bakery?). Taking the time to plan your route more efficiently before you set out is also a highly productive way to avoid sitting in traffic jams due to road works or closures.

Get on the Internet Super Highway

Like it or loathe it, online shopping is here to stay. For anyone who has plans to build a career doing courier jobs, it’s overwhelmingly good news. But just remember as you’re raking in all that cash, it’s also your responsibility to help balance the global books as well.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Numerous transport exchange businesses are networked together on their website, trading jobs and capacity through what is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

This article is copyright free.