The pandemic year of 2020 has brought many changes which had a big impact on the society shopping behaviours, among other things. Queuing in front of the stores, the never-ending search for the coin to unlock your shopping trolley and the constant hand sanitizing was replaced by a more convenient, and most importantly, safer solution - online shopping. The question remains: will delivery services manage to deliver all packages on time? We were investigating how the delivery services were dealing with their storage solutions, what were the newest trends with these companies, what should we not underestimate when shopping online, when it pays off to insure your parcel, and what were the changes that the couriers had to go through in their day jobs.
The risk of getting infected is higher in physical stores
According to the statistics, shopping online has doubled during the first wave of the pandemic. Many companies were not prepared for such an unprecedented situation at all and failed to deliver their products on time. They managed to somewhat return to their normal routine during the summer, but then the second wave of the pandemic hit in the autumn. This time, companies were already better prepared, perhaps due to the fact that they are very much used to the Christmas shopping fever around this time of the year. Most shopping centers saw a drop in the traffic before Christmas due to the pandemic – their customers moved to the online world.
"Now, like all delivery services, we are experiencing a significant increase in the amount of shipments of up to 50%. There is no problem with timely delivery with our company and the majority of our shipments will be delivered on time, even if ordered a few days before Christmas. It depends on the delivery method you choose,”
Artem Salichov , the founder of the ShipEx company, said for LP-Life. The government and experts advised us to avoid shopping centers many times, as you can meet dozens of infected people in those places. It is up to each individual whether they obey these rules and recommendations for staying safe.
Contactless delivery has become the new trend
Fast delivery is becoming more and more popular in the Czech Republic, where the customer can check the exact time of the delivery. Another trend is to deliver the package to the delivery point near a customer's home. All you have to do is enter a code sent to your mobile phone which opens the safety box shortly after.
"Contactless delivery is a must for customers in quarantine. If a customer wishes for the courier to deliver the package to their door and step away – which was a regular practice in the spring pandemic - couriers are well prepared to deliver the shopping this way,"
states Petr Pavlík, CEO of Rohlík.cz. The company came up with an idea of delivery points - Rohlík points, where the customer can pick up their shopping on their own, without having to wait for the courier. Every shopping bag is locked inside a box, equipped with refrigerated areas as well, to keep the groceries inside in the best condition possible.
The online supermarket Košík.cz introduced remote delivery as well. The company tries to avoid contact between the customer and the courier. When the shopping is delivered, the bags are placed next to the house door, and the courier along with the customer must keep a distance of several metres between each other.
"We still have a number of customers who prefer a contactless delivery and that is absolutely fine. About one fifth of the households we deliver to are inhabited by elderly people. Therefore, maximum caution makes perfect sense,"
says Tomáš Jeřábek, CEO of Košík.cz
Couriers: The Heroes of 2020
With the beginning of the corona virus pandemic, there has been an increased interest in the courier work. It was them who had to adapt to the situation and obey the rules or recommendations most strictly. They must disinfect their hands after each delivery, and their cars are fully disinfected after each shift. Their body temperature is checked on regular basis, too. People have started to appreciate their work much more, according to the spokesperson of Košík.cz, which in return has reflected in the higher tips from the customers.
"This year, many customers realized how convenient it is to shop for their groceries online. They suddenly felt grateful for the things that they'd often been taking for granted,"
says Tomáš Jeřábek, CEO of Košík.cz.
"I can definitely feel the increase of online shopping due to closed or limited shopping options elsewhere. I deliver approx. 40 to 70 deliveries around Prague and nearby villages in one day. However, many people still take our work for granted, as a part of the service they pay for. But there are also people who can truly appreciate it. They do appreciate the fact that there can be someone that saves them lot of time and effort,"
mentions Pavel Novák, a courier from Rohlík.cz
What is the trend for the Christmas table?
We absolutely love to spoil ourselves during the Christmas holiday. We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and simply indulge in the things (and ingredients) we love. Therefore, we found out what the trends are for Christmas this year.
"We expect there will be interest in Christmas cookies, as usual. The demand could be double of what we saw last year, and we can already say for sure that we must increase the reservations with our bakers. The company Rohlík.cz offers gluten free cookies from Doktor Pekař, as well as gluten free Christmas stollen. At the same time, like last year, we prepare a variety of fish and meat - for the carp offer, we can see the shift from selling live fish, or the whole carp, for the already prepared fillets,"
explains Petr Pavlík, CEO of Rohlík.cz
"Apart from the regular items, we can see shopping baskets at Košík.cz being filled with various delicacies, special products, sophisticated confectionery or premium alcohol. It became obvious that customers don't want to save money per se, they want to enjoy the quality time with their families to the fullest. Which is, given the challenging year, quite understandable,"
says Tomáš Jeřábek, CEO of Košík.cz
Christmas shopping online
This Christmas, the holiday season shopping was also done online by the majority of Czechs. Companies are prepared for the big numbers of customers; however they recommend not to leave anything for the last minute and order one's Christmas presents at least 7 days before Christmas (17.12). If ordered later than this, in most cases, timely delivery cannot be guaranteed. And what will be ordered the most this year?
Sending presents abroad
If you don't have your family nearby, do not despair. You can make your relatives happy even if you live abroad. The price comparison - ShipEx, for example, can help you select how fast can your presents be delivered with various delivery companies that ship to many corners of the world and you can decide how much you're willing to pay for it. Should you need help anyway, there is an option to contact a specific company straight away, that can help you select the best solution for your parcel.
Should I pay insurance for my parcel?
The question whether to have your parcels insured arises very often. Of course, it is important to consider what the parcel contains as well as it's value. In the Czech Republic, it's common to pay a shipping insurance up to 10,000 CZK, postage included.
"If the parcel is more expensive, we recommend insuring it for its real value, as in a case of an accident, the issue will be solved quickly and with no problems whatsoever,"
sums up Artem Salichov, the founder of ShipEx. According to him, the customers do not have to worry about losing their parcels. The chance of it happening is quite rare, approximately in 0,1% of cases.
And what about you? Have you done your Christmas shopping already or are you still waiting around? Remember - don't leave everything for the last minute!