Online stores are gearing themselves up for the busiest time of the year from Black Friday to Christmas, with retailers expected to send up to 95% more parcels compared to the average shopping week.
The busiest day is anticipated to take place on Cyber Monday, where the number of parcels is set to triple according to data produced by Sendcloud, the all-in-one shipping platform.
Parcel volume reaches peak during ‘Black Week’
Although the traditional holidays do not take place until December, parcel volume is already steadily increasing from November. Starting from Singles Day (11/11), parcel volume slowly increases, leading to a peak on Black Friday. In ‘Black Week’, a whopping 81% more parcels are expected to be shipped.
The next biggest spike is seen in the run-up to Christmas where, in the week before Christmas, retailers expect to ship up to 95 percent more parcels. During Christmas itself, the volume drops back to a normal level, indicating that most consumers order their presents well ahead of time.
Prepping for peak season: Four tips to avoid delivery issues
With the explosive growth in parcels around the holidays, it is essential to have sufficient capacity to deliver everything in time, Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and Co-founder at Sendcloud explains:
“Good preparation is half the battle. Last year, both retailers and carriers were taken by surprise by the huge flow of parcels. This year we know what to expect and the whole industry is giving their best to make sure customers get their orders in time for the holiday season. We recommend shipping with multiple carriers as this helps spread the load and allows merchants to be flexible in case of delays.”
Van den Heuvel shared four tips for online retailers to get ahead of any peak season shipping issues.
- Don’t put your eggs in one basket, but spread the risk
Many retailers still work with just one courier for the delivery of their parcels. This may seem convenient at first glance, but often turns out to be very risky. No matter if you ship parcels via a small or big courier, all of them are limited by a certain capacity, which means their parcel network can get overloaded during peak season. This can lead to delays, or even worse: the courier stops accepting new parcels. Therefore it’s better to be prepared and make sure you have a plan B – like shipping with a different courier.
- Keep your customers in the loop every step along the way
It’s not just your warehouse that will have to pull out all the stops during peak season, but customer service is often swamped in work too. You want to avoid your support team being constantly bothered about the status of a parcel. Prevent this by automating your tracking updates and ensure customers also receive an update in case their shipment is delayed. It happens more than once during the holiday season that parcels are delayed and you don’t want to keep your customers in the dark.
- Increase delivery chances with flexible shipping options
The last thing you want is to have a delivery man show up at your customer’s doorstep and they don’t answer. When delivery attempts are missed, parcels are returned to a parcel point or even directly to the sender, which can lead to a lot of frustration for both customers and retailers. By offering the customer flexible shipping options, you can prevent the delivery guy from turning up at the door in vain. For example, with a flexible checkout, customers can choose the delivery time themselves or opt directly for delivery to a pickup point. This way, the customer knows what to expect, therefore increasing delivery chances.
- Reduce pressure for couriers by offering delivery at pick-up points
By using service and pick-up points, the delivery guarantee is 100% in the event of an initial delivery attempt. Not only is this convenient for the customer, but it can also be a cheaper shipping method. An additional advantage is that the use of service points unburdens the parcel network, leaving room for more parcels and making the lives of delivery drivers just that little bit easier!