Royal Mail postal strike update & Shipwire distribution carrier "failover" for UK Warehouse
Shipwire merchants in the UK should be aware that a number of Royal Mail Postal Employees are moving towards a strike, including the local mail handlers. [Royalmail.com strike updates. Get Royal Mail strike updates by e-mail].
While Shipwire hopes the strikes are averted, there is a now a critical risk that Royal Mail may not be available for local parcel post as early as next week. A final strike date has not been scheduled and the update yesterday was possibly the 22nd or October (that date has since been removed and replaced by vagueness). Some London Airport handlers were scheduled to walk out as early as today according to Royal Mail (no update as of this AM on their website) so Royal Mail international may be impacted. It is important to note that Royal Mail is the local arm of a lot of other National Carrier’s International shipping options, so if you consolidate ship or bulk rate ship from your home country to the UK and expect Royal Mail local end-mile delivery, you will be impacted by this.
During past national carrier strikes in other countries, carrier tracking, rating and delivery confirmation systems are often not reliable during the strike and for some time after. Expect normal carrier customer support options to be unavailable or have extremely long wait times
A Royal Mail strike is a particularly difficult challenge for online retailers due to the lack of a reasonably priced alternative carrier for local small parcel ground deliveries in the UK. Please comment if you would look to propose a carrier for us to offer.
Shipwire order fulfillment software systems actions and options
Alternate carriers: For Shipwire merchants, we have alternate UK shipping methods already available in your account. These include UPS, Fedex and Parcel Force for local parcel post and International parcel post. We also have multiple freight options available for B2B and wholesale shipping. Clearly, there is a price difference with these options.
Auto-Hold all Royal Mail Orders: We are not going to remove Royal Mail as a carrier in the Store-Sell-Ship® platform during the strike. All Royal Mail orders will be automatically held by the Shipwire platform (like a back-order hold). Merchants will be able to log into their Shipwire account, select the held Royal Mail order, price shop other carriers and change shipping options. This will remove the hold from the order and it will flow to the warehouse and be fulfilled via the alternate carrier automatically. To reiterate: No Royal Mail orders will be delivered to the warehouse along our normal order time-lines during the strike. We chose to hold Royal Mail orders rather removing Royal Mail and automatically failing over to the next best priced alternative do to the sometimes massive price difference between Royal Mail and alternative courier services. Rather than make assumptions for all our merchants, we elected to empower our merchants with features to reset preferences around Royal Mail and confirm shipping rates before the order is fulfilled by the London warehouse.
Royal Mail International. Merchants that ship international from the UK should consider changing their shipping preferences from Royal Mail to an alternate International parcel carrier like UPS, Fedex or Parcelforce for Europe. To do this, go to shipping preferences and use the drop downs for international shipping methods.
Post Strike behavior: After the strike is over, orders in a hold status with Royal Mail as a shipping option will be sent to the warehouse. Please note that Shipwire shipping guarantees and standard order processing time lines will likely not be available for up to a week following the strike. Expect parcel shipping delays for a number of weeks after the strike.
Shopping cart integrations and ensuring automation between your shopping cart and warehouse shipping: If you have integrated Shipwire’s shipping rate API into your shopping cart or are using one of our compatible e-commerce tools with this option please note that Royal Mail rates will continue to display in your shopping cart checkout unless you remove Royal Mail as an available shipping method in your account. We want to work with you to make sure this happens correctly so please contact Shipwire support for detailed instructions.
If you do not have the Shipwire shipping rate API integrated and are using carrier provided API’s or shipping rate tables, you will need to manually remove Royal Mail from your cart’s shipping methods and replace with an alternate carrier or flat rate pricing.