All clients like offers and one thing they are prompt to take advantage of are big savings days, a practice adopted by e-tail with successful results. There are two large savings marathons in the USA, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (known as Buen Fin and Hot Sale in Mexico, respectively).
The first of these events takes place the day after Thanksgiving and primarily focuses on items ideal to be gifted – a commercial success due to its closeness to the Holiday Season. The second event takes place three days later and mainly focuses on technology and software products.
The slashed prices in these two dates have become a commercial event eagerly expected by all consumers. Such is the case that all the major corporation in this section see an increase in sales of up to 45%. Therefore, every freight company involved in the shipment of these orders, either for distribution or final delivery, is likewise involved in an exceptional workload and witnesses a peak in its graphs.
In this season, home delivery is something shoppers love; however, the major marketing effort would be insufficient if the full commercial chain does not work well. The freight, and the whole logistics effort, must be up to par.
Logistics companies face a great challenge during these days. If e-tail increases sales during the whole weekend it results in a hike in shipments mainly noticeable the following Monday and Tuesday. One, two, or three days for the last mile is all consumers are willing to wait for their orders nowadays.
Nevertheless, the transportation sector must also look at this as a chance. It is up to the suppliers to manage the supply chain to efficiently handle the raise in volume created by these marketing campaigns. The question is, how?
Getting ready for the party
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are basically a commercial event and, as any other type of event, they require arrangements. What do these preparations entail at a logistics level?
To begin with, it is highly probable there will be a need for extra hands. For example, UPS began hiring for the season on October 15 expecting to add close to 100,000 employees to "support the anticipated increase in the volume of parcels that will begin in November and end in January," according to company officials.
The number of people to hire is normally dictated by the yearly percentages of increase in these dates; in addition, every indicator we can get is useful for this forecast. For example, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), customer enthusiasm for Black Friday saw an increase of 8% this year.
It does not matter whether the company manages its own supply chain or outsources it to a 3PL partner; a careful planning of the supply chain is needed alongside the application of the best practices of the logistics industry. These are some of the most important:
Cross training and cross docking
Training the team during the whole year helps everyone take the roles needed during the peak season. Cross training keeps companies clear of predicaments.
During this season, retailers increase the number of orders to keep their shelves well stocked. High-volume cross docking operations allow us to move products fast between suppliers and retailers while keeping transport costs down.
3PL value-added services
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are seasons when outsourced logistics partners become an additional benefit for commercial processes.
Asking your 3PL partner if they offer temporary multi-client warehousing services to manage higher stocks during peak seasons and customized value-added services to offer special gifts is worth your while because these services can help improve the customer experience, which clients cherish in this busy time of the year.
Take care of your staff
There is no possible worst time to be losing staff than during peak season. However, because of the high levels of stress in distribution centers and shipping warehouses during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this season is prone to see an increase in staff turnover. The higher satisfaction is among employees, the higher their productivity; thus, we must strengthen the commitment to the company’s work culture during these days.
Make the best use of omnichannel logistics
The sales peaks on retail are the perfect moments to make the best use of omnichannel logistics, which allows clients to get their products from a source close to their location, saving time and transportation by letting a local shop ship the product instead of using a distribution center located farther away.
Lastly, the importance of teamwork is clear, especially during the last mile. Ranging from the sorting of parcels to the optimal load of trucks and passing through the way drivers drive along the route since they must deal with traffic besides finding the most efficient routes during peak season.
There is no question that Black Friday and Cyber Monday put logistics to a test but, with the right preparations, the supply chain can nimbly face these challenges.