Hermes’ Carole Woodhead shares retailer insights into coping with added pressure on delivery services over the Black Friday weekend.
In just two weeks millions of shoppers will jump online to bag a bargain in what promises to be the biggest Black Friday yet.
In fact, ecommerce consultancy Salmon predicts that £5bn will be spent online from Thursday November 24 through to Cyber Monday on the November 28, in what it has dubbed ‘Black Fiveday’.
Hermes recently hosted a breakfast seminar with ASOS, Debenhams, GHD, Unilever, Sugru, Tower London and Euroffice in partnership with the Telegraph.
The event provided the perfect chance to gain some insight into the challenges and opportunities that the Black Friday weekend will bring – and I wanted to share a selection of those with the readers of this blog.
What do retailers want from their delivery partners?
While the panel agreed that a primary focus for both retailers and their delivery partners was to ensure they have the capacity to cope with the surge of orders in such a short space of time, it was clearly felt that delivery companies must provide “service as usual”.
The panel agreed that a primary focus for both retailers and their delivery partners was to ensure they have the capacity to cope
Carole Woodhead, Hermes
Trust was a common theme in this part of the discussion – referring both to having confidence in your own forecasting and capabilities, as well as in the ability of your delivery partner to have invested wisely in the right infrastructure, technology and people.
Investment of this nature has been one of our top priorities during 2016, increasing capacity at many depots, beginning work on our new 270,000 sq ft Midlands Super Hub, as well as starting to roll out 20,000 state-of-the-art handheld scanners to our networks.
What do consumers really want?
The group also took the opportunity to discuss consumer preferences over the Black Friday weekend, especially with regards to choice and convenience.
The act of incentivising longer lead times by offering further discounts, which in turn removes some of the pressure, was widely discussed – with many participants agreeing that consumers were more motivated by price than by shorter delivery timeframes.
In fact, two retailers remarked that less than a third of click-and-collect orders were actually collected the following day.
While incentivising longer lead times may alleviate some of the pressure in the warehouse, this could lead to increased activity across customer services
Carole Woodhead, Hermes
While incentivising longer lead times may alleviate some of the pressure in the warehouse, this could lead to increased activity across customer services.
A number of retailers said they had received an increased number of customer queries following the Black Friday weekend – mainly from anxious consumers who wanted to ensure they secured the discounted price and the purchases were not out of stock – and not because of late deliveries.
With Black Friday sales continuing to grow, the pressure on the supply chain infrastructure is increasing while expectations remain the same.
The customer does not care if it is Black Friday or not, if a delivery is promised on a certain day at a certain time they expect that promise to be fulfilled.
- Carole Woodhead is chief executive of Hermes