High season preparations for this year and the next

E-commerce sales continued to soar in 2021. The National Retail Federation predicts that online and non-store sales in 2021 will increase 18-23 percent to $ 1.09 trillion to $ 1.13 trillion, and many retailers should expect significantly more e-commerce orders during peak season. With carrier capacity tightening and other challenges looming on the horizon, fulfilling all of these orders seamlessly will not be an easy task for many traders.

Unfortunately, shippers who haven’t yet adequately prepared no longer have the time to implement some of the improvements that could help them thrive through the 2021 peak. Most should now honestly assess how good the shippers are. things could go wrong and consider what options may still be. available to mitigate some of the challenges and limit the damage where possible.

With careful planning, shippers can use the weeks and months ahead to determine the law solution to navigate future peak seasons, but they urgently need to develop the at present solution immediately.

The many challenges of accomplishing the high season

Carriers have imposed widespread limitations on shipping capacity. Some carriers have stopped accepting new business altogether during peak season, including some regional carriers. OnTrac, for example, stopped accepting new peak business on September 1, but capacity issues are just one of the carrier-related challenges shippers face.

When shippers can get the transportation capacity they need to get packages to customers, they are still faced with ever-increasing costs. Following the lead of other major carriers like FedEx and UPS, even the USPS has announced peak season surcharges for 2021, and if not properly managed, additional charges and rate increases imposed by FedEx and other carriers may prove to be even more expensive.

Prioritize peak season preparation with parcel shipping data

Merchants’ own parcel shipping data may shed light on the best ways to improve order processing this year and into the future. As the unprepared take stock of what can still be done to prepare for peak 2021, package shipment data from order fulfillment software and business intelligence engines can help them assess which adjustments will cause the needle to move the most in the short term, and to collect data throughout this period. peak season can hold all shippers accountable in the new year.

At the end of the calendar year, this data can provide the same valuable information on prioritization for shippers looking for the most effective long-term fulfillment solutions. It can also provide higher level information that most shippers lack when negotiating with carriers for better rates and / or more capacity and help them take gig economy carriers.

The at present Solution

Batch solutions can always help partially prepared shippers make the most of what can be a grim situation, and the range of options available depends largely on how much preparation has been done. Many unprepared US senders will rely more than ever on the United States Postal Service (USPS), for example, but this fallback option can prove to be more expensive than in previous years.

Fortunately, cruising in high season is not an all-or-nothing proposition, and shippers should use their strengths to alleviate the crisis. Those who have diversified their carrier network to include at least multiple carriers can direct package volume to different partners, and multi-carrier package shipping technology can help them do so strategically and cost effectively. Those with business intelligence at their fingertips may consider more than the cost to handle all of their parcel shipping needs as efficiently as possible.

Merchants can choose to encourage customers to choose fulfillment options that do not require a national carrier. Shorter shipments sent from local stores can often be made with regional carriers. This can ease an organization’s order fulfillment burden, as can enticing customers to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) for merchants equipped for this type of omnichannel fulfillment. Some merchants may offer aggressive incentives to encourage customers to take advantage of these options or accept longer delivery times.

Omnichannel retailers like Walgreens, which have implemented same-day delivery in less than two hours for more than 24,000 retail products, will leverage economic operators for additional capacity. This can help offset the need for domestic transmission capacity and generate more sales to existing and new customers.

Shippers who have not yet established these capacities will have to wait until 2022. For now, they must take stock of their existing capacities, determine what is possible and consolidate their plans to pull all the hard-hitting levers at their disposal to cross. peak 2021.

Take measures to limit the damage

Any unprepared shipper should think about limiting the damage. Setting clear expectations with customers increases the chances of making them happy and keeping their business, but this strategy also comes with downsides, such as lost sales. Unprepared shippers face tough decisions on how to make customers happily accept slower delivery times and find ways to keep customers coming back in the future, even if they can’t respond. to the expectations of these customers this time around.

Do what law in 2022

On January 2, as they sail into returns season, shippers are expected to tear off the band-aid measures put in place this year as the at present solution and begin to heal their fulfillment process. They should start planning for peak season as early as 2022 to avoid re-entering peak season unprepared. First, they need to secure the support of top management for the changes that need to be made to implement the law solution and invest in execution processes so they can be more ready than ever for peak 2022. Meeting the need for transportation capacity and cost containment early in the year can allow teams to focus on growing sales and satisfying customers with much less hassle of execution.