July 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

Delivery Services

(Page 2 of 2)

If a scan rate dips below 100% for any facility, DHL and the Postal Service will assist the retailer in determining if some parcels weren't scanned because of a bad bar code or other delivery problems, Loonam says.

DHL also enables shippers to pull aggregated data related to overall costs and shipping times for different delivery zones. "A retailer can run reports to see which areas perform well and others that need attention," Loonam says.

Going green

Carriers are also introducing new environmentally friendly programs that can complement efforts by retailers to promote a green image. FedEx, for instance, this spring expanded its fleet of alternative energy vehicles with its first all-electric parcel delivery trucks.

And DHL Global Mail has introduced a GoGreen Carbon Offset service through which retailers help pay for the cost of global clean energy initiatives. The amount each retailer pays, which is added to its monthly invoice, is based on DHL's estimate of the amount of carbon generated by each of its shipments. Participating retailers receive annual certificates from a third-party certification company confirming their contributions.

Going green, and promoting the effort as part of branding campaigns, is one more way that retailers can use delivery services to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

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