Editor's Comment

Editorial: Countdown to Christmas

The countdown to Christmas is now well and truly on – in less than three weeks it will all be done and dusted and some of us will even already be thinking about returning to work. Continuing to manage the peak – and the deliveries that surround it – will be key over the remainder of this month.

There is already some talk however of shopper fatigue so quite how the next few weeks pan out will be interesting. Certainly online figures for Black Friday and the Cyber Weekend suggest that many may have shifted their shopping patterns to the new peak.

Early results from MetaPack suggest the growth was higher than it had predicted. It had estimated a rise in delivery volumes of around 20% but the actual increase was 26% with 11 million parcels shipped.

The company also released the latest figures from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index in the last week, illustrating how the industry fared in October at least. Volumes rose but on-time deliveries fell – although it’s believed this is in part due to a shift towards next day as standard.

Of course with frenzied buying around promotional periods comes the likely moment of regret and returns. CollectPlus said that it expected returns to hit a peak last Friday following research it has carried out into customer behaviour around the Black Friday peak.

Managing packaging during such spikes in demand is key. As I shared in the editorial last week, simple mistakes can ruin surprises and risk damage to both product and consumer sentiment. But it happens because of the pressure that businesses face to get products packed and out of the warehouse as soon as possible. Sharing his top tips for managing packaging during peak this week is Andrew Smedley of Antalis.

Whilst managing packaging during peak is one thing what do you do with it after? DropPoint is hoping that it can persuade retailers to get their customers to use the packaging again – by getting shoppers to fill delivery boxes with goods for charity and then return through its Pass the Parcel CSR initiative.

Also this week we have news of the imminent arrival of the Amazon Treasure Truck, which the company has revealed will debut its special offers at locations in London and Manchester originally in the latest of the company’s physical pop-up events. And John Lewis has signed for a new customer delivery hub in Southampton.

Till next week!

Image credit: Fotolia

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