The Peak Season is just around the corner and logistics organisations have already started to prepare for it. Over the course of the last couple of years, Peak has become an extended event that spans over two months. This has brought a bit of breathing space both for retailers and carriers. But how can it be done better? We spoke to some experts about their readiness and tips. Read our Net Zero Feature now!
‘Our retail and e-commerce clients are indicating stronger volumes than in 2022. This opinion seems to be reflected by a number of consumer sentiment surveys published by several major accountancy firms over recent months,’ explains Luke Barton, COO, ArrowXL.
In recent years retailers have spread promotions throughout November and it’s looking likely that this pattern will occur again this year. The traditional peak is expected post Black Friday and Cyber Monday and carriers are even more optimistic this year.
‘Our customers have not signalled any decrease in volume compared to past years,’ says OSM Worldwide. They anticipate a substantial increase of around 30% on an average day during the peak season. Import customers are already shipping volume, and specific product categories like health and beauty, apparel, pet boxes, and books have experienced significant increases in shipments, as well. This reflects changing consumer preferences, with e-retail and various niche markets witnessing growth.
Consumer expectations have evolved in recent years. Consumers now demand faster shipping speeds and the ability to track packages in real-time, which has raised the bar for timely deliveries.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, customers showed more understanding about potentially delayed delivery times, but that has since faded and companies now face greater pressure to meet tighter delivery expectations.
Consumers who have previously had a negative delivery experience may choose to plan in advance and order earlier.
However, the availability of Black Friday deals for longer periods, and Christmas Eve falling on Sunday this year give both carriers and consumers a full ‘normal’ working week to secure those last-minute bargains. As a result, delivery volumes could be sustained until Saturday the 23rd leaving little time for service recovery.
Preparing for it all
Different organisations are preparing in different ways. OSM Worldwide, for example, has taken steps to address these evolving consumer expectations by adding staff and establishing an employment agency relationship for year-round support.
‘There’s no denying it’s a ‘full on’ time so it’s important that our leadership teams have plans in place to prepare our people, and keep them motivated,’ admits Luke from ArrowXL.
Their exec team will run a roadshow to communicate with newer colleagues, making sure they feel prepared and allowing managers to address concerns.
IT systems are also being upgraded and looked at across the board so they can cope with the higher volume. Last but not least, companies are also improving returns processes which will be crucial for a smooth peak season.