Peak Season 2021: Are you ready for make or break?

christmas gift

83% of brand marketers think this Christmas will be ‘make or break’ for their business*, according to a study by market research firm Advanis. This might not come as much of a surprise given the struggles faced by businesses over the last 18 months, with both Covid and Brexit causing havoc for businesses. But despite the importance of peak, just 25% of businesses claim to feel prepared*!

So, what can we expect from peak season this year and how can you make it your best yet?

miniature shopping trolly on a laptop keyboard

An even bigger, longer- and EARLIER – peak

Black Friday usually rings the bell to kickstart peak trading, but in recent years retailer promotions have stretched out to a week, 2 weeks or even a month before Black Friday. This year, pent up demand is expected to see peak begin even sooner.

After last year’s subdued celebrations, a quarter of the British public think Christmas will be more exciting this year, with 28% planning to start their Christmas shopping before the end of the summer*! Following supply chain issues and delivery delays throughout the pandemic, consumers won’t be leaving anything to chance this Christmas. Retailers should be prepared for this early start to peak, as customers look to secure the products they want in advance. It will be critical to have the stock, staff and space available, while delivery capacity should be locked in as early as possible too.

christmas presents on a conveyor belt

Market-leading eCommerce delivery experiences

With less opportunity to browse instore last year, consumers have become accustomed to the ease and convenience of shopping online, so home delivery will still be first choice for many consumers in the run up to Christmas. Those that are choosing to shop instore are doing so with purpose, which has led to an uplift in Click & Collect, with major retailers like John Lewis, M&S and Pets At Home all expanding their Click & Collect networks ahead of a busy peak season.

Shoppers are continuing to get to grips with a ‘new normal’ post-Covid way of life, which means different things to different people. Retailers that are sensitive to this and offer customers a diverse range of easy and convenient delivery options will come out on top as the market-leaders. 53% of consumers are expecting retailers to be better prepared for peak^, so delivery problems are unlikely to be tolerated by consumers this year, making it important that retailers can make sure they can deliver the goods through every eventuality.

miniature car with present on the roof

Partnerships to help you pivot

If we’ve learnt anything over the last 18 months, it’s that no matter how well you prepare for anything you can never be 100% ready for every challenge or mishap.

In recent years, delivery during peak has been impacted by a global pandemic, Brexit, extreme weather and carrier capacity issues. This peak is set to be massive, but unpredictable. There are still supply chain blockages around the world, as factories and ports struggle to get back to pre-pandemic productivity levels. New EU VAT rules have caused uncertainty amongst retailers who have had issues implementing new processes. Carriers have also become stricter on volume forecasting, collection timings and service availability during peak – making it imperative not to put all your eggs in one basket.

It goes without saying that a multi-carrier management strategy gives you the flexibility, but a single multi-carrier partner takes away the complexity of managing individual carriers so it’s easier to adapt to change and scale quickly, as well as get access to specialist logistics solutions for extra cover and support, even when things go wrong.

How well prepared are you for peak this year? Do you think it will make or break your eCommerce business?

Find out what you need to do to get ready for peak and by when – download our peak checklist! It’s not too late, but the time is now…

Why not speak to us to find out how you can secure a delivery strategy that won’t let you down this peak?

Sources:

*Study of 400 marketers and 1000 UK consumers – Advanis/Sitecore, 2021

^  ‘Peak Selling and The Pandemic’ – Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 2021