Drivers of success: Ecommerce SMEs take delivery in-house

UK ecommerce businesses are taking delivery into their own hands, according to new research released by Vimcar.

In a survey of 100 small and medium-sized UK ecommerce retailers, almost all have experienced an increase in online orders since March 2020, and two thirds (64%) of online retailers have had to invest in their own delivery fleet to meet customer demand.

Undertaken by Vimcar, the fleet management software for SMEs, the survey comes at a time when ecommerce retailers are grappling with the impact of delivery driver shortages, Brexit uncertainty, supply chain issues and Covid restrictions.

Increased customer demand over the past 18 months has led the majority of respondents to hire their own staff to fulfil orders rather than outsourcing delivery, with over a fifth of the ecommerce businesses surveyed hiring between 5 and 10 new fleet drivers. Having taken delivery into their own hands, 80% of ecommerce SMEs are positive about the next 12 months, despite ongoing economic issues.

Taking delivery in-house has been a successful move for many but the research also exposes the additional strain this has placed upon SME ecommerce businesses. Three quarters of respondents said that expanding their delivery fleet had made admin more difficult to manage, highlighting a need for ecommerce businesses to simplify the management of rapidly growing fleets.

Ronald Clancy, UK Country Manager at Vimcar said: “It is promising to see that business is thriving for ecommerce retailers despite an extremely turbulent 18 months. There remain many wider economic challenges for small businesses to overcome and what this research shows is that many ecommerce SMEs are having to rapidly adapt their business models in order to remain agile and continue to meet customer demand.”

Over a third of survey respondents expect demand in delivery to increase further, reflecting wider industry reports on increasing delivery volumes in the lead up to the peak Christmas season.

Clancy added: “Efficient fleet management will be crucial to the ongoing success of small and medium sized retailers as poorly managed fleets and drivers can quickly drain a business’ costs and resources. Simplifying fleet management is therefore vital to any ecommerce retailer wanting to maximise the investment they’ve made into delivery services.”

Vimcar surveyed more than 100 UK ecommerce retailers in September 2021.

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