Two thirds of online retailers have seen a 30% fall in their revenues since the Royal Mail strike began, and a third have seen a drop of around 24% in visitors numbers.

In a IMRG survey of online retailers, 85% believe that, with no sign of a resolution to the dispute in sight, the strike will discourage people from shopping online this Christmas.

Worryingly for the Royal Mail, 60% said they were finding their new delivery arrangements to be more efficient, while two thirds were thinking about ditching Royal Mail for good once the strike ends. 

According to Sam Barton of Arena Flowers, the strike has had an effect, even though it uses a courier, and saw a decline in orders, which he puts down to the 'general malaise created by the media surrounding the strikes.'

What can retailers do about it?

Find an alternative carrier

This is the obvious solution to the problem, and IMRG has some advice on this, though for items under 2kg, it is hard to find cost effective alternatives to Royal Mail. Offering alternative delivery locations, such as a business address which is easier to find couriers to deliver to, is one suggestion.

Make it clear that you are not effected

I looked at this a couple of weeks ago, and many retailers are reassuring customers with prominent messages on their sites about the Royal Mail strikes. I especially like the Firebox messaging:

It has gone further than that, and created a Royal Fail game where you can help clear the mail backlog, and make CWU leader Billy Hayes angry. The prize is free delivery via courier. 

Not all retailers are going for this kind of messaging though, and Arena Flowers' Sam Barton has steered away from this kind of message as 'we have found that this sort of preventative message actually kills conversion rather than improving it.'

Offer in-store pick-up

Obviously, this option won't work for pureplays, but those retailers with high street outlets should be promoting their collect in store services, or offering in store pick up if they don't already do so.

Graham Charlton

Published 4 November, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)



The new story is how the courier services are doing.

Our company has always used couriers, but we've been let down majorly on three occasions in the past few weeks, we've had hundreds of next day orders not getting dealt with on time.

over 8 years ago


Linda W

It's a bit mindboggling that many business are losing instead of simply transferring their delivery requirements to any of the various alternative couriers such as the many listed on and elswhere online.

over 8 years ago



this is rubbish

over 8 years ago


iron man

Does anyone know when the strike is over,  I used to work for Royal mail and the strikes are a total joke, probabably organised by the company itsself

over 8 years ago

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