How can I make sure my business is prepared for the Christmas delivery window?

Offering flexible delivery can reap rewards for retailers and, as consumers get into full Christmas shopping mode, delivery is likely to help separate the winners and losers this season.

Patrick Gallagher, chief executive at delivery provider CitySprint, says the busiest day for retail deliveries last year was December 23.

He says: “Consumers are increasingly leaving their Christmas shopping to the last minute and retailers need to be fully prepared to fulfil this demand.”

Gallagher has three pieces of advice. First, ensure that a ‘customer first’ attitude extends to the fulfilment operation. Gallagher says: “You can have the best product and slickest website but if you can’t deliver an item to your customer at a time that suits them then you are in danger of losing that custom.”

The second is to plan meticulously. Using data from last year can help predict expected sales volumes, and ensure that enough staff are on hand to deal with the busiest periods. Distribution companies should be starting to ramp up their fleet sizes now.

Third, Gallagher advises making the most of bricks-and-mortar assets. He says: “Retailers should look to get the most out of their existing assets, for example by dispatching stock directly from store. It might not be right for every retailer but it can provide another delivery tool this festive season.”

Expectations are higher than ever and shoppers now expect delivery to be on their terms. Putting the right processes in place will enable retailers to put the consumer, and not a delivery timetable, first.