Harvey Nichols was using a premium next-day delivery service to send fashion and beauty merchandise to its customers. Switching to nShift’s multicarrier shipping platform helped them instantly reduce costs and improve the customer experience.
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How does a premier luxury fashion retailer deliver products to customers? For Harvey Nichols, the simplest and most sensible solution seemed to be using a next-day delivery service that would allow them to take advantage of a fixed rate for every shipment.
But the solution had its downsides. For a start, customers had to wait in and sign for deliveries. If they didn’t, the product would need to be redelivered, causing inconvenience and delays.
The other, even bigger problem was what happened when parcel sizes dropped. James Henry, Head of Multichannel Operations at Harvey Nichols, explains: “The next-day delivery service was great as it was a flat rate no matter what size of parcel we send. But when you’re sending a mascara or a lipstick by itself… because the average selling price of those items is fairly low and a high percentage of the actual total order value is delivery costs, it was starting to eat away at our profit margins, especially when you include subsidized deliveries.”
Things came to a head when Harvey Nichols launched a popular new product (Fenty by Rihanna) with a lower price point. The flat rate was no longer viable. They had to find a delivery method that was more flexible and more cost-effective.
The next-day delivery service was great as it was a flat rate no matter what size of parcel we send. But when you’re sending a mascara or a lipstick by itself… because the average selling price of those items is fairly low and a high percentage of the actual total order value is delivery costs, it was starting to eat away at our profit margins, especially when you include subsidized deliveries.
- James Henry, Head of Multichannel Operations at Harvey Nichols
Benefits of nShift
GrowthAccess to world’s largest carrier library
ConvenienceClick and collect, parcel lockers
Harvey Nichols chose nShift for two reasons. First, because they need a shipping solution that would automate carrier allocation based on product dimensions and therefore save costs. Second, because they needed to be able to implement the solution as quickly as possible because they had launched Fenty and were already starting to ship it.
“[nShift] was able to offer implementation in a third of the time quoted compared to its competitors,” says James Henry. “The number of carrier integrations they could offer was much higher as well.”
And, as Henry explains, automatic carrier allocations does not just optimize costs – it can help to create a better experience for customers as well. “[With nShift] we can use product data including the weight, size, packaging being used and value of the item to automate the selection of the carrier that best meets the needs of our customers.
“[For example]… if the item…fits in the envelope-sized packaging, we can then send it on a next-day track-to-letterbox service. That means… there’s no need to wait in for the delivery. There’s no, ‘Oh, I’ve missed my delivery. Come back three days later.’”
Using nShift has also helped Harvey Nichols speed up their delivery process by shipping products directly from stores rather than distribution centers - something they were unable to do when using their premium next-day delivery service.
The payback from the initial project costs was less than six months. And with approximately 20-30% of our parcel volume now via the new letterbox service, we have seen substantial savings that wouldn’t have been possible [without nShift].
James Henry, Head of Multichannel Operations at Harvey Nichols