Editor's Comment

Editor’s column: when two tribes go to war

Some of the eDelivery cast and crew visited the MetaPack Delivery Conference yesterday (3 Feb) and at times it felt like everyone who works in the industry was present.

One or two of the speaker sessions we attended weren’t just full, weren’t just standing room only, but were so full that the number of people standing at the back of the room meant no one else could get in at all.

Across the exhibition areas there was a genuine buzz and a real sense of positivity in the air; despite only being able to talk to a relatively small proportion of the 1,100 or so people who were there, there was no escaping the optimism.

There were also some definite themes emerging, not just from the speaker sessions but among the conversations taking place between individuals. Some of them were to be expected, such as Black Friday and peak planning, and one phrase I kept hearing was “the genie is out of the bottle.”

For, although Thanksgiving is nothing to do with the UK, Black Friday is – in all likelihood – here to stay. While there was a fairly universal acceptance of that among the people I heard from yesterday, there were a few very different schools of thought on what that means to the industry.

Some are firmly of the opinion that retailers have a duty to moderate their promotions. Yes, of course they’ll want to do as much business as they can, but they must beware making delivery promises that the carrier community can’t keep.

Others are most decidedly not of that opinion, and feel that carriers are in the business of keeping retailers’ promises, therefore you have to put up and shut up – if you can’t find a way to make it work, the blame lies with you and not with anyone else.

Whether this will develop into a pseudo ideological battleground between two polarised groups in the industry is hard to say, although it is a little unlikely. But it will certainly make for an interesting 2015, as it made for some interesting conversations at the Delivery Conference.

Here at eDelivery, we’re gearing up for own Expo next month – EDX. We’ll be publishing a series of pieces between now and 25 March, when it kicks off, looking at some of the themes that will be explored, interviewing some of the speakers, and explaining why you should be there.

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