River Island drives huge efficiency gains and saves £3m in costs with MetaPack


With 350 stores across Europe, Asia and the Middle East and six dedicated websites in four currencies, River Island is known as a global leader in stylish, affordable fashion. As more and more customers are purchasing online, the retailer has understood the importance of becoming equipped to meet the demands of shifting consumer behaviour, especially across borders.

Up until three years ago, River Island’s carrier management system was manually intensive, requiring personnel to assign each parcel to a carrier on an individual basis when processing an order. And because the system wasn’t aligned with physical stores, it couldn’t handle carrier automation or package assignment. The retailer turned to MetaPack to develop a more efficient approach.

River Island implemented MetaPack Manager and set up advanced allocation rules to dynamically assign each parcel to the right carrier based on factors such as product type, value, size and delivery postcode.

“MetaPack’s rule-based methodology has provided River Island much greater flexibility in terms of an international proposition and carrier services based on order weight and value, and this has been reflected in the savings that have been made in the last three years,” said e-commerce logistics manager Sunil Bhudia. “We can clearly see that international rates have been dropping substantially year-on-year, with greater customer satisfaction, lower loss rates and around a 39% overall fall in costs of overseas delivery. This equates to around £3 million in savings over this period based on the decreasing average delivery cost, lower customer service interactions and lower lost parcels.”

MetaPack’s carrier integration also allows River Island to utilise a far greater variety of delivery services in fulfilling international orders. While technical complexities previously meant the retailer could offer only three or four international services, today customers can choose from eight international delivery options as well as PUDO services through personalised delivery offerings on the website’s front end.

Speed, productivity and innovation

MetaPack has provided significant benefits in terms of time saving and productivity. New carrier integration and the installation of new delivery solutions are now straightforward tasks, while management requires an estimated 20% less resource than before. “The uniformity that MetaPack offers has provided us with an integrated solution across a multitude of delivery channels, including home delivery, click and collect, PUDO and international delivery,”  Bhudia explains. “In terms of streamlined operations, there’s no doubt that working with MetaPack has made a considerable difference in reducing the inherent complexities of order fulfilment and carrier management.”

River Island’s relationship with MetaPack also means that the retailer can be sure of staying at the forefront of innovation, uncovering new commercial opportunities and developing relationships with new carriers.

“The simplicity that MetaPack Options offers has made it all the more feasible to implement innovative and dynamic new delivery propositions as they become available,”  Bhudia said.

MetaTrack creates a consistent and centralised tracking experience for both River Island’s customers and their Customer Service teams, regardless of how many carriers are used. Customers can easily track their parcels themselves on the retailer’s website ensuring they always know the status of their order and resulting in less inbound ‘where is my order’ calls to River Island. In addition, the Customer Service teams can deal quickly and efficiently with customer queries if they do need help, ensuring a positive customer experience at every touch point and driving brand loyalty. Overall, River Island has seen a 35% drop in inbound calls since adopting MetaTrack. “The fact that this is a homogenous process operating across all carriers and propositions means that the entire process has been uncomplicated and response times have been improved as a result. In turn this has undoubtedly enhanced customer experience and is continuing to reduce calls into our customer service teams.”

Today River Island ships thousands of parcels a day on MetaPack Manager, enabling customers to get their hands on the latest fashion trends at the right time via the most convenient delivery method. “We’re seeing year-on-year increases in new visitors and registered users of our website,”  Bhudia said.. Repeat customers represent 51% of all orders, a testament to the appeal of the retailer’s online proposition. “Domestically we’ve experienced a 15% year-on-year increase in conversion. Shopping cart abandonment figures are falling, and this trend shows that improving delivery options, payment methods and checkout design does increase conversion.”

Going forward, the company is already investing in optimising delivery processes to provide seamless experiences for the brand’s expanding numbers of domestic and international shoppers. By partnering with MetaPack, River Island continues to fulfil their customer promise through personalised options, innovative solutions and a keen focus on exceptional service.