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OPINION: Don’t put your eggs in one delivery basket at peak


With retailers expected to send up to 95% more parcels during peak shipping networks are going to come under intense stress, according to shipping platform SendCloud.
It says the biggest impact is likely to be seen on Cyber Monday, where the number of parcels is set to triple according to its data. In the week of Black Friday it expects 81% more parcels 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% more parcels.

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and co-founder at Sendcloud, revealed four tips to help ease the strain. “Good preparation is half the battle,” he said. “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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO and co-founder at Sendcloud

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