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Our Guide to Choosing The Best Courier Company in 2021 | inSyte Blog

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Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Courier Company for Your E-commerce Business in 2021

Fast, reliable, delivery used to be a luxury.

Now it’s a necessity. 

No matter the quality of your goods, having poor fulfilment can be devastating to your customer’s experience with your brand. 

That’s why choosing the right courier company to partner with is so essential.

Whether you’re just starting, or looking to switch, we’re here to give you our ultimate guide on choosing the best courier company to partner with for your business. 

We’ll start with a brand review of all the big players, to give you an idea of who to look in to, and follow up with a quick guide on how to make sure the company you choose meets all your business’ needs. 

Top 10 Courier Companies for South African E-commerce in 2021 (Based on Customer Reviews):

For our price benchmarks, we’re using the cost of shipping one large package nationwide, for the sake of consistency. 

You should note that these prices are a rough benchmark that is accurate at the time of writing, and may change by the time you’re reading this. 

The prices can also vary drastically depending on a lot of variables like where you’re shipping to or from, how fast you need it delivered and any business arrangements you make with your courier company. 

That’s also why we were unable to provide benchmarks for some businesses who do quotes on a more individual basis.

As a secondary note, it’s a well known psychological fact that modern consumers tend to react to brands in extremes: either love or hate.

1-star or 5-stars.

As such, even though we’ve chosen to rate these by customer reviews, take them with a grain of salt. 

They’re not necessarily representative of the entire customer base, because the majority don’t take the time to rate their experience.

It is a useful metric for determining the “best of the best” in terms of the companies with the most overwhelmingly positive feedback. 

Without further adieu, let’s jump in: 

1. Globeflight

Overview:

Despite being a relatively small player in the courier space, local courier Globeflight boasts the highest average Google reviews score of the businesses we researched.

This goes to show their dedication to providing great customer service, which is a very important consideration for most e-commerce businesses.

In addition to stellar customer service, they offer a full suite of courier services as well as specialised capabilities for some sensitive industries.

It’s worth noting they’ve been recently acquired by DSV Panalpina, a larger courier company specialising in larger clients.

This should hopefully only add to their capabilities to service larger customers while keeping the same level of service that’s driven their success thus far.

Globeflight Customer Reviews:

4,1/5 stars on Google reviews (136 reviews total – Johannesburg and Pretoria branches) 

Globeflight Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Road freight 
  • Airfreight
  • Specialised distribution capabilities e.g. medical, IT, optical products. 

Globeflight Cost 2021:

Variable (request quotes here)

2. DHL

Overview:

Global giant DHL comes in at number two in Google review rankings and for good reason.

DHL has partnered with many local couriers to help expand their range of services.

In many ways, they’re the international brand that’s been most successful in integrating into the South African market.

The main benefit of their international footprint is the ease of shipping goods internationally, as well as locally through their approved partners.

This makes them a great “all in one” solution for larger e-commerce businesses looking to transact both locally and internationally.

The customer reviews speak for themselves on the great level of service they’re able to provide, too.

DHL Customer Reviews:

4/5 stars on Google reviews (302 reviews total) 

DHL Services:

  • Domestic and international parcel delivery
  • International Road freight 
  • International Airfreight
  • International Ocean freight

DHL Cost 2021:

Variable (request quotes here)

3. Sendr

Overview:

A relatively new player in the courier game, Sendr is a promising and interesting new potential solution for small scale e-commerce logistics.

Sendr is an “Uber-like” app where you can select a pickup and dropoff point from the convenience of your smartphone, and somebody comes to pick up and deliver your products.

This makes it an amazing tool for smaller businesses, or those just starting, by eliminating the complicated logistics that can come with a bigger business.

It’s worth noting their reviews have a small sample size since they’re so new, so we’ll be interested to see if they’re able to maintain a high level of customer service long term.

In any case, it’s worth checking out at least because of the low upfront commitment and taste of use. So, give it a try.

Sendr Customer Reviews:

4/5 stars on Google reviews (18 reviews total) 

Sendr Services:

  • On-demand delivery 
  • Pick up anywhere
  • Included insurance

Sendr Cost 2021:

Variable (you can get instant quotes by downloading the app).

4. PostNet

Overview:

PostNet is a hybrid business with a huge footprint across South Africa.

It’s a retail chain offering service like printing and stationary as well as a courier network.

Their main selling point is the “PostNet to PostNet” network, which operates a variant of the click and collect business model. 

Because they have retail stores all around the country, it’s an appealing solution for two main reasons.

First like most click and collect businesses, you benefit from the cost savings.

And secondly, they already have a large retail footprint, so you can rest assured most of your customers can access a PostNet.

They are again a less suitable solution for larger businesses, but a very appealing prospect for smaller e-commerce businesses.

PostNet Customer Reviews:

3,5/5 – 4/5 stars across branches on Google Reviews (Most reviews for Postnet Melville with 4.4/5 stars and 56 reviews) 

PostNet Services:

  • “PostNet to PostNet” delivery
  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • International delivery

PostNet Cost 2021:

From R 99 for PostNet to PostNet deliveries.

5. FedEx 

Overview:

FedEx is another international business operating in the South African courier market, but to a lesser extent than DHL.

They only offer international shipping at the moment, so you can’t do local shipments through them.

This may change in the future, but for now, this means they’re only suitable for businesses who have a local courier and are looking for a dedicated international shipping partner.

FedEx Customer Reviews:

3/5 stars on Google reviews (158 reviews total) 

FedEx Services:

  • Global freight network
  • International delivery

FedEx Cost 2021:

Variable (use their handy tool to work out your approximate costs).

6. The Courier Guy

Overview:

The Courier Guy is a local courier franchise with an inspiring homegrown South African success story.

They offer a full suite of courier services and, like most of the couriers on this list, are open to bespoke contracts that meet both your business’ needs.

They offer R 1000 insurance against any packages by default and judging by customer reviews they do maintain an above-average level of service.

It’s worth noting they have the most reviews of any business on this list, and since they operate as a franchise service quality may differ across branches.

Both these things could skew their average ratings downwards.

All this is to say, despite only being number 6 on our list The Courier Guy is a great option for many e-commerce businesses that can grow with your business and accommodate anything from small shipments to international selling.

The Courier Guy Customer Reviews:

2,9/5 stars on Google Reviews (765 reviews total) 

The Courier Guy Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Road freight 
  • Airfreight
  • Same day and overnight courier bag service 
  • Special projects (tailor-made courier solutions) 
  • Included R1000 insurance
  • International shipping 

The Courier Guy Cost 2021:

E-commerce rate: upwards of R 115 per package for national delivery.

7. Fastway Couriers

Overview:

Fastway is an international courier company originally hailing from New Zealand before franchising into South Africa among other countries.

They have a great, transparent, pricing model that excludes things like the fuel surcharges or re-delivery fees other couriers may charge you.

They’re also a great choice for businesses looking for a courier option with room to grow, though notably, they don’t do international shipping.

Fastway bill themselves as domestic shipping specialists, which makes them more suited to purely domestic businesses.

Their customer service rating is slightly below average, which is something worth considering.

Most of the issues we read customers having were around problems with their tracking system and lack of responsiveness in their customer service.

Fastway Couriers Customer Reviews:

2,4/5 stars on Google Reviews (233 reviews total, Johannesburg branch) 

Fastway Couriers Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Next day delivery
  • Local and national linehaul delivery 
  • National satchel delivery
  • Special rates for “frequent users” 
  • Included R 1000 insurance

Fastway Couriers Cost 2021:

R 94 (frequent user rate) to R 135 (standard rate) per package for national delivery.

8. Courier It 

Overview:

Courier It is a South African courier business that describes themselves as a “specialist domestic and international express courier service”.

They offer a full range of local and international shipping solutions and are willing to work with your business to create custom arrangements.

They have a below-average customer review score, however, with most of the complaints, we saw around delays in receiving deliveries and poor communication from their customer service department.

Bearing that in mind, they are still equipped to fulfil the needs of most businesses, and your experiences may vary so they could still be worth giving a shot.

Courier It Customer Reviews:

2,2/5 stars on Google reviews (218 reviews total) 

Courier It Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Economy delivery
  • Road freight
  • Airfreight
  • International delivery

Courier It Cost 2021:

Variable (request quotes by contacting them via their website).

9. Dawn Wing

Overview:

Dawn Wing is another local business with international shipping capabilities and a full range of courier services on offer.

Much like Courier It, they don’t seem to specialise on any particular area but they do offer a comprehensive solution to meet the needs of most businesses.

Their customer review score is far below average, however, with most of the poor reviews, we saw citing poor delivery times, tracking and a lack of communication again.

Your experience may vary, however, and their reviews are a much smaller sample size than many other businesses on this list.

So it may still be worth checking out for your business.

Dawn Wing Customer Reviews:

1,8/5 stars on Google reviews (87 reviews total) 

Dawn Wing Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Road freight
  • Airfreight
  • International delivery

Dawn Wing Cost 2021:

Variable (request quotes here for your business).

10. RAM Hand to Hand 

Overview:

RAM Hand to Hand Couriers is a South African based courier business with a huge national footprint but a somewhat controversial public perception.

First the good points, they have a great selection of courier services covering everything your business could need.

This includes special permits to delivery sensitive goods like cellphones, weapons or medical equipment.

Unlike many other couriers on this list, they don’t use franchisees in South Africa and as such you’re always dealing with the same organisation consistently.

The bad part, however, is that they have the worst average customer review score of the businesses on this list and fairly large sample size to back it up.

Most of the complaints we saw were around poor communication, delayed deliveries and poor customer service.

This is all likely compounded by the fact they courier sensitive goods like bank cards and cellphones, making bad service reflect even worse on their business.

Still, as we’ve said before, they have the infrastructure to help your business out and your experience may differ.

 

RAM Customer Reviews:

1,7/5 stars on Google reviews (361 reviews total) 

RAM Services:

  • Same day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Special deliveries (e.g. valuable or sensitive goods)
  • Road freight
  • International delivery

RAM Cost 2021:

Variable (get a quote from their handy web tool here)

Conclusion

Choosing a great courier company to partner with can be challenging, and we hope this helped you sort through the confusion and make an informed decision.

Whichever you choose, make sure that they:

  1. Have great customer service, both when dealing with you and your customers
  2. Meet all your business’ needs and can grow with your business (international shipping, required time frames, etc.)
  3. Are cost-effective for your business

If you follow those three principles, you should find the ideal fit for your business that you can partner with for years to come.

 

If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.


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