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A new eBook, which looks at how there can be multiple peak periods in retail, has found that shoppers have come to expect additional services during busy shopping periods.

The RetailX consumer survey highlighted that, following a period of record-high inflation and the on-going cost-of-living crisis, competitive pricing remains a key driver of peak sales. More than half of shoppers are looking for discounts, in the UK it is 54% and US 51%.

Consumers also believe retailers should be offering loyal customers exclusive discounts, 41% of UK shoppers want to see these deals during peak periods, with 37% of US shoppers looking for exclusive prices.

Furthermore, 56% of UK shoppers expect free shipping at busy shopping periods, this rises to 60% of US consumers.

Of course there is no such thing as free shipping for the retailers. The cost of delivering when demand increases could be high. Slow or failed delivery will always impact the reputation of a retailer, and any future customer loyalty. This will be compounded with the increased volumes of a peak event, which also results in a shorter window to fulfil. 

And as peak events are no longer limited to the Christmas rush, with sales throughout the year, planning and delivering on any peak fulfilment promise will be high on retailers’ agenda. 

“It’s important that customers and employees have an accurate, transparent view into product availability, shipping options, and expected delivery times,” explains Gavin Warwick, European partnership manager, SmartFreight. 

A key part of ensuring they deliver during any peak is to “put customer experience at the centre of every decision”, Warwick adds. 

This can come from ensuring they stock accordingly, as well as forecasting sales volumes. Having the right platform will enable them to do so and more. 

“Retailers are struggling with platforms that still don’t connect to each other. All systems and data should be integrated to simplify and streamline operations,” he notes. This will ensure real-time visibility and could avoid supply chain delays and out-of-stocks happening. This in turn could prevent disruption every peak season.

This is an excerpt from a feature in the eBook, Multi-peak, multi-pressure, multi-carrier: how to gear up for future bumps in the last-mile delivery road.

Download the full eBook, produced in association with SmartFreight, for a look at carrier capacity, real-time tracking and an exclusive case study.

The eBook also has a Prepare for your next peak checklist.