How Retailers Can Move Online With Amazon

In recent years, lots of retailers have chosen to make the move from traditional retail models to e-commerce. This is largely as a result of the boom in e-commerce and online shopping.

This move to the digital world was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with lots of businesses having to close their brick and mortar stores, therefore relying on making sales via the internet. In fact, the e-commerce industry grew by a staggering 46% in 2020.

However, if you’re yet to make the move online, but you’re hoping to do so in the near future, you might be unsure of your best options.

And one giant retailer that isn’t going anywhere is Amazon. As such, you might be considering opening an Amazon e-commerce store.

But how do you go about doing this?

Well, that’s exactly what this guide is here to teach you. Below, we’ll take a look at how retailers can move their business online with Amazon.

What are the benefits of moving your business online with Amazon?

Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at some of the key benefits of using Amazon to move your retail business online. If you’re still not sure why this is the best option for you, you should consider choosing Amazon because:

• Your products are much easier to find and will be visible to literally millions of online shoppers
• You know you’re listing your products with a trusted and established brand
• Your products will be protected by Amazon’s security and fraud protection policies
• You can sell to people nationwide and across Europe in five marketplaces
• There are no listing fees; you only pay when you make a sale
• You have the option to let Amazon fulfil your orders, so you don’t have to deal with the packaging or shipping of your goods if you don’t want to

Another great reason for choosing Amazon Marketplace is that it is simple to get started and won’t require you to have a huge amount of budget behind you. To explain just how easy it is to list, sell, ship and get paid for your products through Amazon, we’ve put together a step by step guide to opening up your online Amazon store.

So, in this next section, we’ll take you through each stage of the process so you can get your Amazon retail store up and running in no time!

1. Decide what type of seller you are

Amazon Marketplace allows retailers to sell their goods using Amazon’s infrastructure in exchange for a fee.

So first and foremost, you need to determine what type of seller you are because Amazon charges different fees depending on the nature of your business. Sellers are split into two key categories; these are casual and professional.

Casual sellers are those who sell 35 items or less per month. Because of this, they are only asked to pay a small completion and referral fee per item.

However, if you plan on selling a larger quantity of items, you’ll need to sign up for a professional account. And this requires a monthly subscription fee in addition to the individual completion and referral fees.

So before you get started, decide whether you’re going to need a casual or professional account.

2. Upload your products

Once you’ve signed up for the most relevant account, you then need to get your products on your Amazon Marketplace page.

Thanks to Amazon’s easy to use interface, it doesn’t take too much time or effort to do this.

If your products already exist on the Amazon catalogue, then you can list these individually by simply adding the name, price and available stock. Alternatively, you can use Amazon’s bulk listing tools if you have the product barcodes.

However, if your product does not exist in the catalogue, you can create them by adding all the relevant product information. This includes the EAN, UPC, or ISBN code, names, descriptions, prices, etc.

3. Add images to your products

Then, once you’ve got your products on your Amazon Marketplace page, you need to add pictures. These can be the difference between making a sale or not. In fact, a recent study found that 60% of digital shoppers said they needed to see an average of three to four images when shopping online. And a further 13% said they needed five or more.

So you need to be sure you’ve got some strong images of your products ready that really show their quality. Just be sure that the images you use are in a tif or jpeg format. Image file names must also consist of the product identifier.

4. Choose how you want to fulfil and ship your orders

When moving your business online with Amazon, you need to determine who will manage the fulfilment and shipping of your orders. And all orders are managed via the Seller Central account, which every seller has full access to at all times.

When you sell an item through your page, you will receive an email notifying you of payment from the customer. You must then dispatch the item within 48 hours to comply with Amazon’s regulations. However, if you don’t want to manage the product delivery process yourself, Amazon can do this for you.

This is done through the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) feature. Though there are no extra fees for adding this service to your account, you will have to pay fulfilment and storage fees.

Because of this, you need to determine your budget, whether you would prefer to store and send your goods yourself or whether it’s better to let Amazon do the hard work.

5. Get paid

The final step in moving your business online is getting paid for your products. Through Amazon Marketplace, buyers are paid every 14 days from the day they register as a seller. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind as the money takes a few weeks to reach you.

However, you will be sent a notification by e-mail each time your payment has been processed and sent to you.

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NEW: Smell of the Twelfth Candle

12th Candle

Want to avoid the crowds or just an early night to prepare for the main day? Now you can celebrate the 12th safely at home this year with our woodsy-essenced Smell of the Twelfth Candle.

Each candle is lovingly hand-made in Belfast and has smokey woody scents that will transport you back to being beside the bonfire at an 11th night celebration.

Simply light this candle on the 11th of July and enjoy!

If you are unable to attend any of the July celebrations, due to covid, or travel restrictions this candle is perfect for you. It also makes a super gift for family and friends abroad. 

For those of you who may also miss the classic 11th-night sight of pallets, we are also running a special offer! We will send you a free mini pallet along with your candle, burning of the mini pallet is optional. This is while stock last, limited mini pallets. These can be used to set the candle on or even as a coaster. 

Mini Pallet

 

Reviews

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am not able to travel into Belfast for this year’s 12th July celebrations so this candle is perfect, cannot wait to light it.

Sarah, Belfast.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Got this for my mate as a laugh, looks great and will make a great present!

Peter, Ballymena.

 

 

You may be interested in:

Line of Duty Virtual Tour of Belfast

Sending Parcels to Northern Ireland

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2021 NI Pint Census

Pubs are finally open!!

The restriction that everyone was waiting for has finally been lifted! But after a couple weeks of hospitality being open again who’s quickly remembering how expensive life is?! We sure have!

So we’ve made a funky infographic to show exactly where the cheapest AND the most expensive pint of Guinness is in and around Belfast. Can you guess where is on the list?

Could you have guessed?! Looks like we’ll be heading down to Raven Social Club for a few cheap pints!

 

All information collected by @BrendanJHarkin

 

New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

Get Quote NI Parcels

 

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Learn more:

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Line of Duty Virtual Tour

If you are an avid Line of Duty fan and have been to Northern Ireland before you’ll have spotted some key Belfast locations.

While AC-12 are on the hunt for bent coppers we’ve been on the hunt to stake out the main locations they’ve used in and around Belfast – let’s take a virtual tour of the Line of Duty filming locations!

 

⚠️SPOILERS ALERT ⚠️

Do not scroll if you aren’t up to date with Season 6!

 

The Subway, Queens Square 

This is one of DI Fleming and DS Arnotts favourite places to meet for a top-secret conversation. This very recognisable location goes from Belfast’s High Street to the Albert Clock. (Notice the power-washed floors too!😂)

 

Ambush, Corporation Street

One of the most dramatic scenes in Season 6 when DC Bishop and Ds Arnott were caught in the middle of an intense shoot-out after retrieving Jimmy Lakewell from prison. This was shot on Corporation Street, under the M3. (This is also where Kate picked up the burner phone!)

 

AC12 Headquarters,  Bedford Street

Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey who would have guessed Invest NI on Bedford Street was the Headquarters for AC-12.

 

Kingsgate Printing Services,  North Street

Used as a base by the OCG and for Jo to hide important evidence, Kingsgate Printing Services is actually G.E. Fabrics & Fashions on North Street.

 

Hillside Lane Police Station,  Beechmount Parade

The main police station that is used throughout Series 6 is Corpus Christi College located in West Belfast. 

 

Steve & Nicola’s Coffee meeting, Cafe Nero Fountain Centre

Steve and Nicola met for a chat at the Cafe Nero in the Fountain Center in the middle of town, just around the corner from City Hall. (and next to my hairdressers!)

 

Shoot out between Kate and Ryan, North St

One of the most dramatic scenes in season 6 is when DCI Davidson lured DI Fleming to an abandoned car park and was joined by bent copper PC Pilkington. This was more of a tricky location to find, luckily Brennan’s fish and chips across the road was easy to locate! 

 

That’s it for our virtual Line of Duty tour, did you spot any other key locations in Belfast?

 

 

New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

Get Quote NI Parcels

 

More Blog Posts:

Top 50 Northern Irish Foods

15 Amazing Beauty Products That Are Actually Made In Northern Ireland

40 Things Only Northern Irish People Do

32 Things You Have To Do In Northern Ireland Before You Die

 

Learn more:

Parcel Delivery Northern Ireland

Cheap Shipping To Northern Ireland

International Parcel Delivery

Small Business Shipping

NI Parcels – Our Couriers

Import Services To UK

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7 Things To Look For In A Courier Partner For Your Business

Courier Van

Whether you’ve recently started a business or you’re just looking to make some changes, a reliable courier service is important for your shipping and logistics.

Not only can the right courier partner save you money, but your delivery service also contributes towards the customer experience and your reputation.

So you really need to get this right.

However, finding the perfect courier service can be tricky and is not a decision to take lightly. That’s where we come in.

To help you get this right, we’ve pulled together a list of the things you need to look for when choosing a courier partner for your business. These are:

1. Reliability

One of the most important things you need to consider when choosing a courier service is how reliable they are. An unreliable courier partner could not only cost your business money but could negatively impact your reputation.

The good news is there are several ways you can find out about the reliability of a courier and these include:

  • The company website
  • Testimonials from other clients
  • Online reviews and feedback from customers
  • Review sites such as Trustpilot

So before you settle on a provider, be sure to do thorough research and check out the reliability of each provider you’re considering. Then you can make an informed decision and ensure you choose the most reliable service provider.

2. Professionalism and communication

Another important consideration is how professional the service providers are and whether they’re good at communicating when you need them.

After all, you want working with them to be as easy and enjoyable as possible.

So before you choose a courier, you need to determine important aspects such as how they communicate with clients, how they do their invoicing and how you go about arranging bookings with them.

Look for a courier service that is going to make the process as seamless as possible and who are always (within reason) on hand to help should you encounter any issues.

You also want them to be professional in terms of the service they provide to your customers. This means you want couriers with clean, tidy vans and well-presented delivery drivers. This is because the professionalism of their employees will also reflect on your business.

3. Speed of delivery

In a world where same-day delivery is possible, consumers are increasingly expecting faster delivery times. As such, the speed of delivery is important and is something you need to consider when choosing a courier.

You want to choose a courier who can offer express shipping and rush orders when required. You might also wish to choose a provider that offers same-day, next-day or overnight delivery as these options are very well received by consumers.

So look at the company website and speak with the couriers before deciding. They will be able to advise you on the types of delivery options they have on offer.

4. The range of services on offer

We’ve briefly touched on some of the services you might want. but before you settle on any courier partner, you need to make sure they offer all the services you need or might need in the future.

So take a careful look at the variety of services on offer. And remember, you might be a small business only offering local delivery right now, but if you plan to expand in the future, you want a courier partner that can handle the logistics and shipping of your growth.

Plus, if you already ship internationally or you hope to do this in the future, you’ll need a service provider that offers this service.

Some of the services that a good courier partner should provide and therefore the things you should look out for include:

  • Same-day delivery
  • Next-day delivery
  • UK overnight shipping
  • International shipping
  • Freight and cargo shipping
  • Office solutions such as digital print and postal services
  • Specialist services (such as warehouse storage and pick and pack)

5. Security

We are hearing a lot more about security these days, whether online or offline, as people are sharing more of their data than ever before. And security is something you also need to consider when choosing a courier.

Depending on the nature of your business, your courier could be shipping packages containing sensitive information or items. This means you want a courier that provides multiple ways of keeping your packages safe.

Not only this, but you want a service provider that is going to require proof of ID where necessary and that will ensure they are not taking any unnecessary risks with your packages.

A good way to check the security of a courier is to find out whether they offer any of the following:

  • Real-time GPS tracking
  • Secure parcel deliveries
  • Full audit trails
  • Transparency throughout the chain of custody
  • Employees who are trained about security practises

You should be able to find out or ask about these on the company website or by getting in touch with the customer service team.

6. Environmental considerations

People are increasingly becoming aware of their environmental footprint and as such, they are making more environmentally friendly choices. And businesses are no exception.

If you’re hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, you should look for a courier service that works with eco-conscious suppliers and has systems in place to reduce emissions. For example, some couriers now use bikes for local deliveries, while others use electric eco-vans.

So if this is something that is important to you and you think it can have a positive impact on your brand, speak to couriers about what they’re doing to be more eco-conscious.

7. Price

Last but by no means least, you need to consider the price of your courier service. While you want a courier service that is going to offer all the services, security and customer service you want, you also need to consider the costs.

You need to find a balance to ensure you get everything you need from your new courier partner but at an affordable price that suits your budget.

The great news is there are plenty of courier services out there that offer both; it’s just about shopping around and doing your research until you find the right one.

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How To Add A Local Delivery Service To Drive Online Sales

Research conducted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic found that a huge number of consumers have changed their buying behaviours as a result of the virus and not just because of the shift towards e-commerce. In fact, more than this, 53% said that the pandemic has changed the way they willl shop in the future, even once retail stores are able to open again.

When it came to finding out about local delivery, 31% said they have bought something online for local delivery during the pandemic and 59% of those that did, said they would use this method more in the future, particularly while the pandemic is ongoing.

Another shift we’ve seen this year is increased support for smaller businesses, with people trying to shop local in order to support their community. This has led many businesses to consider and even start doing local delivery, which is a great way to connect to local customers, provide a better service and drive up your sales.

So, if you’re considering setting up a local delivery option for your business but you’re not quite sure where to start don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how you can get started with local delivery to help drive up your online sales.

What is local delivery?

Just in case you’re not sure what we mean when we say local delivery, let’s first clear this up. With locals unable to just pop in store to get what they need; they might have turned to your e-commerce site instead. However, it can be frustrating having to wait several days to receive your goods when the store is just down the road. And this is where local delivery comes in.

Local delivery allows customers to visit your online e-commerce store and make a purchase, their goods are then immediately packed and sent out for delivery to their home. There is usually a cut off radius or area in which local delivery applies, this could be just your local town or the surrounding areas as well.

How can local delivery help your business?

As we’ve said, local delivery can be great for connecting with the local community and driving sales online. But more than this, it also means local customers are more likely to choose your store as they can usually have their goods within 24 hours, often even the same day. This can stop them from choosing other online retailers like Amazon which typically offers fast delivery times, but doesn’t often offer same-day delivery.

It’s also a nice way to give back to the local community and offer a meaningful shopping experience to those that frequent your store. It’s a way of taking your customer service to the next level. But let’s not waste any more time, below we’ll look at how you can add a local delivery service to your business.

  1. Think about the logistics

Before you jump straight in and tell people that you’re offering local delivery, you first need to consider the logistics behind it. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the time and resources to be able to take, package, send or deliver the goods yourself. If you want to make this a viable option you need to think about the following:

  • Who will deliver your goods? Will it be you, your employees or a local on-demand delivery service? And how much would using this courier service cost?
  • How long will it take customers to receive their goods from placing the order to delivery?
  • Where will you run delivery from? Will it be your store, your home, your storage container, etc.?
  • How far are you willing to travel to deliver? What do you define as your local area?

Once you’ve put some thought into all of these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how you’re going to conduct this service. Of course, you might find easier solutions along the way but it’s important to have a solid plan in place before you commit to a local service, just in case you cannot meet demands.

  1. Create an e-commerce site (if you dont already have one)

A huge step towards adding your local delivery option is going to be creating an e-commerce website if you don’t already have one – and you really should! This will give you a place to advertise your goods and allow people to place orders. There are plenty of platforms out there that make creating an e-commerce website as simple as possible, for example, WordPress and Shopify.

  1. Add local delivery to your e-commerce site

The next step is to add a local delivery option to your website and there are several ways you can do this. You might wish to create an entirely new page dedicated to local delivery which contains your contact details so that locals can place their orders. Alternatively, e-commerce platforms like Shopify have whole features dedicated to allowing you to add local delivery to your website.

Essentially, how you choose to go about adding this feature is up to you, just make sure it is simple enough for locals to be able to find it and easy enough for them to place their orders.

  1. Shout about your local delivery options

You can’t just expect the locals to know about your new service, so you need to make sure you let them know. There are several ways you can do this, the simplest is putting up a sign up in your shop window to direct people to your website or social media pages. If you have an existing email list you can also use this to send out an email to those registered in your local area to let them know.

Lastly, shout about your new delivery service on your social media profiles. It’s likely that your following will largely be made up of locals and people who have visited you before, so you’ll be able to reach them directly. To boost your visibility further, ask other local businesses and customers to share your updates.

What’s more, if you wanted to put a bit of budget behind it you could always run ad campaigns targeting those that live nearby but that will depend on whether you’ve got the money to spend.

  1. Consider curbside pick-up

Finally, though not strictly delivery, some locals may prefer to swing by and pick up their parcel themselves when they’re out and about. If you’re able to have someone at your store or nearby location that can run this service, consider adding curtsied pick-up to your list of options. This gives customers even more flexibility around how they choose to shop and receive their goods.

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How To Send Care Packages During Lockdown

The COVID-19 virus shook the world in 2020 and sadly it is not over yet. The ongoing global pandemic has lead to a series of national lockdowns and other regulations in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. This means in places like the UK, most non-essential businesses have had to shut down, travel is limited and people are advised not to spend time with anyone outside their household.

As challenging as this has been, it has also meant that people have found new ways to show their loved ones they care – but from a distance. This has seen an increase in the use of technology and tools such as video calls, instant messaging and gaming apps that are helping to bring people together.

It has also seen people turning to more traditional methods to connect such as sending cards, letters and gifts through the post.

So, with the UK now in its third lockdown, we thought we’d take the chance to look some ideas for care packages and how you can put these together. We’ll also look at how you can send a care package to your loved ones right now to let them know you’re thinking of them in these difficult times.

Ideas for care packages

There are so many lovely ways you can show your friends and family you care. If you’re good at the personal touches, you might have already sent a care package or two in previous lockdowns but if you need a little bit of inspiration to get started, we’ve got you covered!

Below are just six ideas for care packages and gifts that you can send to your loved ones during lockdown:

  1. Flowers – Who doesn’t love flowers? And with so many great delivery services out there, you can have these sent straight to their door. And most of the time you can add extra gifts with these like boxes of chocolates or bottles of champagne. To do this, either call up their local florist if they’re still operating or use sites like Bloom & Wild to help you find the perfect bouquet.
  2. Vouchers – Why not write them a card or letter and include some vouchers so they can choose what they want. These could be for local shops, restaurants, hotels or entertainment venues. This can be a great way to give them something to look forward to after lockdown and also helps to support local businesses.
  3. Subscriptions – Give them a gift that keeps on giving! Monthly subscription boxes and care packages cover everything these days from monthly gin clubs to cheese deliveries, beauty products and so much more!
  4. Food delivery – Whether you have someone pick the shopping up for you or place an online order with a local supermarket, nothing shows you care like a package of their favourite comfort foods and drinks. And some essentials (like toilet roll), of course! This can be particularly great if they’re unwell or having to self-isolate and can’t leave the house.
  5. Pay for a takeaway – Do they love a takeaway pizza or curry? Why not place their favourite order and have it delivered to them as a nice surprise (but maybe just let them know in advance so they don’t start cooking something else!).
  6. DIY care packages – If you want to give your care package a real personal touch, order in/shop for some goodies and put these together in a box or package to send to your loved one. This might be some of their favourite snacks, beauty products, games, magazines and anything else you think would cheer them up in lockdown.

The best way to package these up

Although essential stops are still open, it can be trickier to get your hands on packaging, especially if you’re trying to limit how often you leave the house. So we thought we’d put together a few suggestions for packaging your gifts.

If you want to save money, you could purchase vouchers and simply put these in a card. This will only require you to buy a postage stamp and pop it in the postbox. Alternatively, if you’re making your own care package, find an old box you have either a shoebox or from a parcel you’ve received in the past. These are always great to keep!

If you’re not sure how you’re going to package and send your parcel, then you could order directly from a supplier or local business online. Most sites allow you to specify if you’re sending a gift so they can package this properly for you and ensure the price tag is left off.

How to send your care package

Post offices, supermarkets and other small essential shops are still operating as normal. So if you have a local post office nearby, you can always pop in there to send off your parcel. You might also have Parcelshops nearby for couriers like Hermes. Most offer free label printing services, so you can go in-store pay for your parcel and drop it off. The courier will do the rest!

As we’ve said above, smaller cards or letters can just be popped in the postbox but if you’re including anything bigger than vouchers don’t risk a postal fine. In that case, it’s best to go to still go to the post office and check whether your letter is too big for the usual service and whether you’ll need to pay more for the postage.

Similarly, as we’ve said above, some businesses will be able to package and post your item for you if you’re going directly through their website. So if you’re not sure what to do, this can save you a lot of the hard work!

Last but not least, if you live nearby your friend or family member, you could just drop your care package off in person. That said, if you’re going to do this you must make sure you’re abiding by all rules and regulations. This usually means dropping it off without any human contact and certainly without going inside their house.

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NI Parcels Brexit Update

Updated 30th of December 2020

The information below is subject to change and should not be taken as 100% fact given that there are still many unknown factors and likely changes to come in the next weeks/months.

NI Parcels is not a customs broker and cannot answer specific questions regarding your shipping circumstances, you may need to seek the help of an external company for such advice.

On the 1st of January 2021, the UK and the EU will terminate its transition period after the UK left the EU on the 31st of January 2020.
The trade deal agreed between the UK and EU mean that significant changes will be introduced for the shipping of parcels. This is not the outcome NI Parcels would have preferred for our customers however we will work to make any changes as easy as possible.
We would advise all customers sending between the UK and the EU to please be aware of potential delays due to this unprecedented change and also due to a potential backlog in the processing of shipments due to this change.
How will Brexit affect bookings on NI Parcels?
If you are sending from the UK Mainland (including Highlands and Islands) to an EU destination, you will now be required to complete the customs paperwork for your shipment.
This paperwork will be available in your “My Orders” section after booking.
This will not be required for shipments to or from Northern Ireland due to its special status.
Will I have to pay customs charges?
Yes – Goods entering the UK (including Highlands and Islands) from the EU (and vice versa) will be charged customs charges such as Import VAT and Import Duty. We cannot predict or foresee how much your customs charges may be.
The recipient in the destination will be liable for any customs charges –  NI Parcels is not liable for customs charges.
What happens if I do not pay customs charges?
Your shipment may be refused delivery and held with further daily storage charges until paid.
Customs also have the right to dispose of a shipment if they feel the situation may not be resolved. If your item is disposed of by customs, you cannot claim for loss due to this. NI Parcels cannot control the decisions made by customs authorities.
Will this affect shipping between Northern Ireland and the UK Mainland?
 
At the moment, the current working agreement means that shipments coming from the UK Mainland to Northern Ireland will require checks of some sort however these checks have not been detailed as of yet. Paperwork may be eventually required on shipments going GB to NI.
For shipments going from Northern Ireland to the UK Mainland, no additional paperwork or checks will be required.
Will this affect shipping between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
There will not be any new checks or paperwork on shipments moving between NI and IE.
What about shipments going from Northern Ireland and EU Countries e.g NI to France?
 
Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK without new checks or paperwork for shipments to and from the EU however this may change. At the moment only shipments to and from the UK Mainland and other EU nations will require formal checks. This will include shipping between UK Mainland and the Republic of Ireland.
Can I send my shipments from the UK Mainland to Northern Ireland to have then shipped onwards to Ireland without checks?
No, as shipments from the UK Mainland to Northern Ireland will require checks, this will not benefit your shipping experience. We recommend shipping directly from the UK Mainland to Ireland and dealing with any potential checks.
Will I still need to pay VAT on shipments to and from the EU?
VAT will not be paid at the point of sale for your shipping costs for shipments going from GB to EU destinations and vice versa.  However, customs charges may still be applicable and you as the sender are ultimately responsible for any customs charges. If you are sending to an EU country you must make your recipient aware of potential customs charges as, if they refuse to pay them, you will become liable for these charges.
VAT will still be paid on shipments travelling from Northern Ireland and the EU (and vice versa).
What is an EORI number?
In the UK, an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is assigned to importers and exporters by HMRC and is used during the customs clearance process for both import and export shipments travelling to or from the EU and countries outside the EU. In a post-transition world, it will be a mandatory requirement to have an EORI number to ship into the EU from the UK.

You can apply for an EORI Number by clicking here: www.gov.uk/eori We recommend applying for this regardless of the outcome of any trade deal negotiations.

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Making The Move From Traditional Retail To E-Commerce

Ecommerce site

Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, businesses are desperately doing all they can to try and stay afloat. Whilst Government funding might pick up a bit of the slack, it can only go so far and as a result, many retailers that have been forced to shut their shop are turning to the digital world for help. Some are keeping it simple by just sharing their products on social media and doing contactless drop-offs or pick-ups. Others are setting up websites so they can take their business fully online.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation and you’re desperate to make the move from traditional retail to e-commerce in time for the Christmas rush, we’re here to help. If you’re new to e-commerce it can feel a little overwhelming and you might not know how to get started – and that’s OK.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can pivot from traditional retail to e-commerce as easily as possible and just in time for the festive season.

  1. Choose the right e-commerce platform

If you’ve decided that you need to get your website up and running as soon as possible, you’ll need to choose the right platform for the job. Luckily, there are several e-commerce platforms and marketplaces out there that make setting up a site for your business easier than ever. For example, you could set yourself up an account on Etsy, eBay or Amazon to sell your products. Alternatively, if you want a selling space that’s all your own you could use a website builder like WordPress or Shopify.

Which you choose will largely depend on the functionality you’re looking for, your budget and how confident you are in your abilities to set this up yourself. Although you don’t have to jump right in at the deep end, it’s worth looking at what plugins or functions are available for enabling reviews, SEO, adding blogs and other improvements you might want to make in the future.

Once you’ve chosen your platform you can build your website or pages (most will have built-in themes you can choose from) and get ready to start adding your products.

  1. Add your products

Next up you need to add all your products to your pages and make sure you give each one a description. These don’t have to be long, but make sure they include relevant keywords and give a good and accurate overview of the product. Most website builders will have simple ways you can add your products and will prompt you where to put your descriptions – so don’t panic!

It’s also important that you add photos of your products as this will boost your chance of making a sale. Think about it, in-store your customers can see and hold your products and they’re unlikely to purchase anything if they have no idea what it even looks like.

If you wish to and you have the skills to do so, you might even want to add videos of your products being showcased or demonstrated.

  1. Decide how you’re going to ship your products

If you choose to offer delivery to your customers (and you should because click and collect will only get you so far) then you need to choose how you plan to ship your items. Our courier comparison service will help you find the best deal for you. There are lots of couriers out there that are working their hardest to keep things going despite the pandemic. How you choose to ship your parcels will likely depend on the volumes of sales you’re making and what’s available to you.

Ni parcels

NI Parcels is used by hundreds of local small businesses in Northern Ireland and beyond and we are committed to keeping costs as low as possible. We specialise in Postage to Northern Ireland

  1. Let everyone know you’re open for business

Once your website or marketplace is up and running, you need to let people know that you’re open for business. The final step in moving from traditional to e-commerce retail is to market your business effectively online to help you draw in customers. After all, you can no longer rely on foot traffic and people simply passing by your shop, you need to work that bit harder to drive traffic and make sales.

Open for business

But don’t worry – while marketing might be almost entirely new to you, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be hard work. There are several ways you can do it:

  • Put a sign up in your store – One of the easiest ways to let your regulars know that your business has moved online is to put up a sign in your shop window. This might also catch the eye of passers-by and could help to drive traffic to your site. You might also want to take this as an opportunity to encourage them to follow you on social media.
  • Shout about it on social media – It’s likely that you’ll already have a social media account of some kind, but if you don’t it’s a good idea to set up accounts in your business’ name and begin building a following. You can use these platforms largely for free (unless you want to use paid advertising) to promote your business, products and any offers you have on.
  • Work on SEO – Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the technique of optimising your web copy with keywords to make it appear higher on search engine results pages. But the good news is, you don’t need to go too deep into this, you can quickly get to grips with the basic skills and make a good start on boosting your online visibility. Alternatively, you could hire a professional service to do this for you.
  • Utilise remote working – one of the good things to come out of the global pandemic is that it has shown many people the benefits of working remotely. When you embrace e-commerce you will be able to open your business up to using a remote team around the country (or even the world) so you can hire the best people without being limited to those who work within a few miles of your shop.
  • Pay for advertising – If you’ve got a bit of budget aside for marketing, paid advertising can help you to get your brand out there. You might want to use this in the run-up to Christmas to promote any seasonal sales or products you have on offer.
  • Partner with other e-commerce businesses – You could also do partnerships with businesses in your niche or local area and work together to promote each other. This can open you up to a whole new audience, especially if they already have a good online following.
Posted in Small Business Tips | Comments Off on Making The Move From Traditional Retail To E-Commerce

NI Parcels Christmas 2020 Send By Dates

Need to send a shipment to a customer or even a gift to that special someone over the festive season? Look no further than NI Parcels!

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable delivery service across over 200 countries worldwide, look no further than NI Parcels. Not only do we provide a low rate for both domestic and international shipping, but we also offer you fast transit times so you can rest assured that your parcel will reach your loved one down under.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about our service and how to send a parcel with us this festive period. It’s important to remember that as this time of year is so busy, to take note of our Christmas send-by dates and our office holiday closures.

Due to Covid, this Christmas period is set to be the busiest for all couriers around the world, we recommend booking and sending as early as possible.


NI Parcels Christmas Send By Dates

With the busy holiday season now approaching, it is important to take note of our send-by dates if you want to ensure your parcels arrive on time. We recommend sending before or on the dates listed below. Please be aware that these dates are the latest we advise, you can still book a collection after these dates, however, we cannot guarantee that your parcel will arrive in time for Christmas. All NI Parcels services are estimated and can be subject to delays due to any unforeseen circumstance.

NI Parcels Express / Economy Services

  • UK – 21st December
  • UK Express 12.00 – 21st December
  • Worldwide Express – 16th December*
  • Europe Economy – 14th December* Please be aware there may be delays in customs if applicable.

Parcelforce Services

  • Express 48 – 17th December
  • Express 24 – 18th December

DPD Services

  • DPD Next Day – 18th December
  • DPD 48 – 17th December
  • Europe – 11th December

City Air Express

  • Within NI – 21st December
  • UK Services – 17th December

Want to learn more? Check out their websites here: ParcelforceDPDCity Air Express.

During December we experience a high volume of shipments and have to consider any unexpected weather conditions. We recommend allowing 1 to 2 extra day for your delivery. Deliveries will take place right up until 24th December. 


NI Parcels Office Christmas Closure Dates 

We’ve outlined our Christmas closure dates below, you can also see which days during the festive period that collections and deliveries are available.

 

Date Open/Closed? Collection/Delivery?
23/12/2020 Open Collections and Deliveries
24/12/2020 Closed (Live Chat and Email Available) Delivery only
25/12/2020 Closed No collections or deliveries
26/12/2020 Closed No collections or deliveries
27/12/2020 Closed No collections or deliveries
28/12/2020 Open No collections or deliveries
29/12/2020 Open Collections and deliveries
30/12/2020 Open Collections and deliveries
31/12/2020 Closed No collection or deliveries
01/01/2021 Closed No collection or deliveries
02/01/2021 Closed No collection or deliveries
03/01/2021 Closed No collection or deliveries
04/01/2021 Open Normal service resumes (No services in Scotland)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our online booking system is available 24/7  so you are able to place a booking on our website on ANY of the dates listed above.


NI Parcels Contact Information

If you need to contact our office directly we are open from 9 am-6 pm on the days outlined above. If you need to discuss your delivery but our offices are closed you can contact the couriers directly, using the information below:

NI Parcels Express: Call us on 028 9503 0115 during our opening hours and have your collection reference number ready. You can find this number by logging into your account on the NI Parcels website, clicking ‘My Orders’ and selecting ‘track’.

Parcelforce: Click this link and use your postcode to find the number for your local depot. You’ll need to have your tracking number ready. This can be found in your emails from NI Parcels, and also by logging into ‘My Orders’. It begins with two letters, followed by seven numbers.

DPD: Click here to find the number for your local depot. You’ll need to quote your “CR101” reference number when you call. This can be found by logging into your account and clicking ‘track’.

City Air Express: Please call 028 9043 9333 and provide your address details.


How To Book With NI Parcels This Christmas

Need to send a last-minute Christmas gift to your best friend in London? Or maybe you’re a small business owner and need a reliable courier over the holiday period. No matter what your reason, why not send your item with NI Parcels this festive season.

The simple booking system is available 24/7. Start off by getting a quote straight from our website. We’ll then compare quotes from a variety of leading courier companies to give you the lowest prices and fastest delivery times. All you have to do is select the option that best suits your needs!

We provide a convenient door to door shipping and delivery service, so will collect your parcel from the address provided and ship it to its onward destination. You can track your parcel online every step of the way with our handy online tracking service.

NI Parcels offers you a pay-as-you-go service, which means no complicated sign-up processes, and all shipments are priced individually based on their weights and dimensions; meaning you’ll always receive the best value for your money.

Do you need help shipping parcels this festive season? You can place a booking on our website anytime. Our online booking system is available 24/7.
Find out more by clicking below.

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Posted in NI Parcels News, Parcel Shipping | Comments Off on NI Parcels Christmas 2020 Send By Dates