What’s on your wishlist this holiday season? Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive season are fast approaching. But retailers are bracing for the busiest time of the year. Our data shows that even in September, retailers were already dealing with Christmas 2020 volumes every single day.
As consumers continue to get more comfortable with shopping online, we must consider the impact it will have on our carrier networks and supply chains building up to peak season.
We’ve got tips, ideas, and key information you need to start peak shopping season with ease.
Stay on top of your order fulfilment process to reduce shipping delays and avoid friction throughout the customer experience.
We’ve been working with our partnered carriers to plan for the busiest time of the year. Below you’ll find some key seasonal dates and our top 15 tips to reduce shipping delays to make sure your peak period runs as smoothly as possible!
Key seasonal dates for peak 2021
We recommend sending parcels as early as possible, and no later than the dates below, to give your parcels the best chance of arriving on time before the holidays.
|1st October||Start of peak period.
Peak period = 1 Oct through to Jan 3rd 2022.
|26th November||Black Friday.|
|29th November||Cyber Monday.
(Cyber Weekend Nov 26-29).
|3rd December||Cut-off date for arrival before 25th of Dec (standard delivery).|
|24th December||Cut-off date for priority same day shipping (when booked before 11am).|
|26th December||Boxing Day Sales.|
15 tips to prepare your business for peak
Follow these 15 tips to prepare your business for peak season and delight customers with on-time deliveries.
1. Be transparent with your customers to avoid shipping delays
Manage customer expectations and complaints by being transparent about parcel delays. Provide details across your website to address and outline messages surrounding delays and disruptions. Use a website banner, blog sidebar, or pop up message to display updated shipping information. We recommend disclosing current shipping delays across your website, but most importantly, on your checkout page. Provide transparency and clarity to your customers to avoid miscommunication and reduce abandoned cart rates.
2. Reduce backlogs with your warehouse hours of operation
Add evening shifts and weekend shifts to reduce postal delays and avoid a backlog of freight come Monday morning.
3. Stock up on supplies
There’s nothing worse than running out of labels on your last few parcels. Keep an extra supply of all your packaging materials to ensure all your parcels get out the door on time. This includes all packaging labels and consumables needed to ship an order. Note: carriers do provide labels, packaging, skids, or pallets.
4. Reduce fulfilment time with priority stock
Prioritise Christmas sales stock and popular in-season SKUs on your order slip so your parcels get picked up according to priority. This makes it easier for your team to pull from stock that is readily available and frequently shipped.
5. Prioritise orders based on expected transit times
Organise your orders based on delivery service type and customer delivery location to avoid shipping delays (i.e. a Sydney based warehouse would prioritise WA orders first as transit times are greater).
6. Read current government guidelines and local standards to avoid shipping delays
For safety and security of drivers, make sure all freight is presented in compliance with OHS standards & local government Covid-19 guidelines (i.e correct palletisation, hygiene measures being followed).
7. Timing is key to avoid disruptions
Be sure to have your freight ready well before your scheduled pick up times. Drivers are busy and they can’t wait for long periods of time in between collections.
8. Protect your parcels with packaging and labels
When packaging and labelling freight, it’s important to make a list of what has been packaged and labelled correctly. Labels should be easy to read and securely fastened to the parcel to stay on during transit. Please ensure that all items in the consignment are shipped together in shipping cartons or satchels and not taped together.
9. Bulky goods? Be mindful of your carrier choices
When it comes to oversized freight, it’s important to select the correct carrier to manage the load (i.e palletised freight must be booked with a bulky goods carrier and your account should be approved prior to booking).
10. Avoid shipping delays with preferred package types
Sending items over 2.4m in length or packages with an odd-shape cannot travel easily through machine sortation systems. Be mindful that your packages will be delayed due to manual handling. However, Click and Collect is a suitable option if you ship from store.
11. Define your dedicated daily volumes
If you are shipping regular daily volumes through any one carrier, contact our Network Operations team to set up scheduled daily pickups with a particular carrier. Without a carrier agreement in place, ad-hoc collections may take up to 2-3 days for collection.
12. Track real-time transit times using our health check to avoid postal delays
Each week, we update our website with current shipping transit times and network disruptions. Check out our weekly carrier health check transit times to reduce shipping delays and prepare to meet the demand of peak shopping season.
13. Reduce customer complaints with transparency
If your delivery is time-sensitive, use express and same day carriers where required. To reduce complaints, be transparent with your customers regarding delivery delays to reduce customer complaints.
14. International shipments never looked so easy
For international shipments, be sure to check flight schedules and public holidays at the destination country you are shipping to avoid delays. Ensure all required documentation is completed when booking to avoid customs or quarantine holds that could delay the delivery process.
15. Think about your returns process sooner rather than later
If you have returns enabled, remind customers that orders must be labelled and packaged correctly. Packages must be in the original manufacturer’s packaging, or the same way in which the item was dispatched. Drivers will not collect items that are not packaged or labelled correctly.