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Black Friday delivery blues: Argos Fast Track under pressure?


It’s a little more than 12 hours since Black Friday got underway in the UK. So far there has been no repeat of the scenes of in-store brawling witnessed last year, and while it’s far too early to make any predictions about the scale of the event – and whether that oft mentioned £1bn sum will come true – things are certainly happening.
Our friends and colleagues over at InternetRetailing are monitoring the ecommerce space closely and you’ll find a rolling report covering the entire peak and a Black Friday live blog, both of which are being updated in real time.

The delivery picture will be slower to emerge, but already there are signs that some retailers’ have decided to play things safe, while others may already be struggling.

A spokesperson for Yodel told eDelivery: “At present our operations are running well and we continue to work closely with retailers around expected volumes.

“Our expectations around this being an extremely busy and challenging period remain the same. This year, pay day for many people will fall on Cyber Monday which may mean we see even more people waiting to make their purchases until then.”

Argos: 10 minute countdown deployed

Argos: 10 minute countdown deployed

By midday, Argos was already showing signs of strain online – implementing a 10 minute countdown at the ‘add to trolley’ stage, and with three of its four same-day slots already unavailable in some areas.

Argos: Fast Track same-day slots going fast, of course

Argos: Fast Track same-day slots going fast, of course

Being able to order by 6pm and have your item(s) delivered later that same evening was one of the big draws of Fast Track when it was launched. The likelihood of that still being an available option by 6pm today is anything but certain.

Another retailer sticking to its guns where its premium delivery and collection options are concerned is House of Fraser. HoF is offering six different delivery and collection options, including pre-9am tomorrow, although it has a statement on its site warning there may be changes to delivery availability during peak.

There may be changes ahead...

HoF: There may be changes ahead…

If you were harbouring plans to buy yourself a bargain Black Friday TV from HoF though, forget it. By about 10:30am today there were none to be found online. One less SKU to clutter up a delivery network.

John Lewis: Never knowingly caught out..?

John Lewis: Never knowingly caught out..?

Other retailers are approaching peak deliveries more cautiously. John Lewis, for example, is offering standard three-to-five day delivery and in-store click-and-collect (from JL and Waitrose stores) as free options, or Collect+ for £3.50. Nothing there that’s likely to cause anyone any unnecessary grief.

We’ll update this story as events continue to unfold, and if you have any comments or observations around the topic, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

As the picture starts to emerge of how the UK delivery network is coping with the Black Friday / Cyber Monday peak, we’ll be running further updates.

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