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Christmas with COVID, what’s going to happen with Delivery over Peak 2020?

By Chris Dawson October 26, 2020 - 4:00 pm

It’s Day One of the early Amazon Black Friday deals today, signally the official start of the holiday selling season, but it’s safe to say that this year it will be unlike any other and your plans for delivery over Peak are more crucial than ever.

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented ecommerce growth with consumers now buying more online than ever. This volume uplift looks set to continue, with UK online spending expected to reach £73.4bn by the end of 2020 (+18.1% post-Covid), and it’s estimated Black Friday will be 14% bigger than the last.

These are big figures, especially when retailers and carriers have been managing peak-level volumes throughout the year already. So, could we be seeing a “peak on top of peak”?

But while Covid has helped some businesses thrive, 2020 also saw some of our favourite retailers and brands sadly collapse into administration. It’s also thought that almost 3 million people will be unemployed by Christmas, so consumers may well be more reluctant to spend.

So, are retailers set for a bumper Q4 or will Covid steal Christmas? Shipping experts GFS think that it will be the biggest Christmas ever – although consumer confidence could be shaky, online will rule supreme as local lockdowns and social distancing continue to keep people away from the high street. GFS customers have consistently seen an increase of +50% in volume compared to the same period last year – and there appear to be no signs of this slowing down.

“This may sound like a dream from a profit perspective, but it could quickly turn into a nightmare if retailers are operationally unprepared to fulfil these kinds of volumes, amid the unpredictability of peak and the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

The sudden impact of Covid exposed some major weaknesses in eCommerce business supply chains, and really highlighted the importance of having flexibility and contingency to adapt at short notice. Any retailers that haven’t taken heed will only continue to stumble through peak in crisis mode, leaving themselves vulnerable and exposed to risk.”
– Bobbie Ttooulis, Executive Director at GFS

RegisterIn January we will be holding a webinar Peak, Brexit and COVID – What on earth happened?, in which we’ll share first hand experiences and unique insights on what really happened across carriers, sellers and buyers from the start of Black Friday through to New Year sales. Register today to get a reminder nearer the time when we’ll be looking at first-hand experiences and unique insights on what really happened across carriers, sellers and buyers from the start of Black Friday through to New Year sales.

Deliver over Peak 2020

Carriers are reporting that their anticipated volume forecasts have been supercharged by 5 years, so this peak, carriers are going to be really strict in how they manage volumes through their network.

This means your delivery over peak preparations should take into consideration the unexpected impact of:

  • Capped parcel volumes
  • Zero flexibility around capacity and collection times
  • Restricted availability of premium services
  • Late collection times but also more failed collections – if overcapacity carriers will simply cancel collections at short notice

It’s critical that your forecasts are as accurate as possible to lock in the right capacity with your carriers, BUT we also know that things don’t always go to plan. So, it’s also vitally important to have access to multiple carriers, to give yourself a ‘Plan B’ if things go wrong.

“This Christmas, it won’t just be a battle for the best products or most attractive promotions, but the most reliable delivery. With the spotlight firmly on customer service, combined with the huge hike in parcel volumes, this will naturally result in more inbound customer service queries, which will need to be resolved quickly to minimise any impact on the customer experience and on CS team workloads.”
– Bobbie Ttooulis, Executive Director at GFS

If you need a delivery partner that’s got your back this peak, contact GFS now to talk about how they can support you – But you’ll need to act fast, the countdown to peak has already begun…

  • Contingency planning has never been more important than in 2020, the ability to change tack as soon as things start going wrong is catching many a business out. Flexibility, scalability, and readiness to change is what 2020 has been all about.

  • Fred Douglas
    1 month ago

    Nice to read, got a lot of valuable information that will help me to prepare for this Christmas. Thanks for the article.

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