MetaPack started up in 1999 during the boom of internet retailing and have been helping retailers in the area of home delivery ever since. In 2008 MetaPack teamed up with IMRG to create the 9 point charter for the Internet Delivery is Safe (IDIS) standard and the IDIS Delivery Management platform which would help retailers achieve it. As an extension of the Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS) these two standards are improving the level of service provided by online retailers and allowing consumers to shop in confidence.

James Roper, CEO of IMRG comments, "MetaPack operates at the heart of the e-retail marketplace with a business model that gives it a deep view of the entire spectrum of delivery needs and solutions, so has been a welcome key member of the IMRG Delivery Forum for many years. IMRG’s mission is to help bring home delivery into the internet age, and we use MetaPack’s Delivery Manager solution as our primary enabler of best practice, giving the many hundreds of e-retailers that are accredited under the industry’s ISIS online shopping trust scheme the means to excel where so many fail: home delivery.”

Two years on the growth in internet retailing and the importance of first time delivery success has meant revisiting the standard. The IDIS Gold sets out four areas which must be considered in order to achieve delivery excellence: browsing, buying, delivery and returns. MetaPack can assist in all of these areas.

Browsing and Buying
This stage of the delivery journey is about making sure the basic requirements are in place before the product is selected and dispatched and providing the consumer with the right delivery choices to meet their individual and specific requirements for each order. MetaPack partners with over 45 eCommerce and Warehouse Management systems 32 of which are fully integrated. This means that there is a two way transfer of data between the delivery management system and the stock and order management systems ensuring only products which are in stock and delivery options which suit the customer’s specific characteristics and requirements, are made available. As MetaPack is the only company in the UK to partner with 22 carriers, using the system means retailers have access to 590 different services thereby having the ability to provide their customers with a wealth of delivery options. As Stuart Hill, Head of International Operations at Asos agrees, “MetaPack helps us to offer our customers what they want. Critically, using MetaPack, we only offer delivery options that we know a carrier can fulfil. We can therefore also get things right first time and avoid customer disappointment.” These calls can be made automatically via API to guarantee all information is correct and up-to-the-minute.

This stage of the delivery journey is about ensuring the delivery promise remains consistent with the consumer’s choice. MetaPack automates allocation to the carriers based on rules set by the retailer and the consumers’ choice. The label is then printed out at the pack bench, by MetaPack, as the product is packed. This reduces the risk of human error and ensures customers receive the service they requested. Once the goods have been despatched complete visibility is available on its journey. This is listed in the system as real time delivery status updates and can be sent as email alerts to the consumer, retailer, customer service centre, or any combination of the three. Liverpool FC Internet Sales Manager, Chris Jennions has found this feature particularly valuable, “MetaPack reduced the volume of inbound calls to our customer service team by about 50% almost overnight thanks to the automated tracking e-mail it sends to our customers. This functionality will help us cut costs in the long term and improve the service we offer our customers.”

The ability to return items is required by law under the Distance Selling Regulations but under the IDIS Gold standard the process to do so needs to be as simple as possible. MetaPack manages customer returns in the most convenient way for the shopper, while collecting returns data, processing the goods accurately and initiating supplier credit requests for the retailer. MetaPack can also provide the buyer with a system through which to book their own carrier which can be paid for by either the retailer or themselves. Complete tracking data can then be relayed to all parties throughout the returns process and the customer can be automatically informed when the return has been successful.

MetaPack is a founding member of IDIS and take delivery seriously, as Steve McEvoy, Partnership Director at MetaPack explains, “In the world of ‘distant selling’ delivery is the final piece of the jigsaw, however it affects your ability to attract clients, to close baskets, it affects your fulfilment process, your margins and customer services. Through our software we bring together the major carriers and eCommerce suppliers with a common aim: to prove that Internet Delivery is Safe and go for gold in delivery standards.”


Published on: 10:22AM on 2nd June 2010