Increased volumes and a demand to continue offering varied, flexible delivery options is likely to put pressure on retailers, brands and carriers during Peak 2017, Metapack, the global leader in eCommerce delivery technology, predicts.
After the consolidation and successful pre-planned execution of the eCommerce Peak Period over the last two years, the company is using its unique access to eCommerce delivery data together with market and shopper insights to outline a swing in consumer behaviour that will manifest itself during the 2017 peak season.
"In line with annual trends and based on the delivery volumes we are seeing currently, we anticipate a growth of around 20% from now until the end of the first week in January," said Bruce Fair, Chief Revenue Officer at MetaPack. "Obviously this will come in peaks, which, apart from slight changes due to Christmas Day falling on a Monday, will be in line with 2016. However, we do think there will be higher demand from overseas buyers than ever before, less tolerance for longer or imprecise delivery time-frames and an expectation that retailers will still be able to fulfil options such as try-before-you-buy, delivery to neighbour and in-flight changes. The ability to support these at such a busy time will entirely depend on pre-agreed commitments between retailers and carriers as well as outside forces, such as weather conditions."
Recent research by MetaPack indicates that for at least 42% of consumers in the UK, Europe and the US, expectations and behaviour are different during Peak. This is particularly so for buyers aged between 18 and 38. While free delivery is likely to encourage more consumers to purchase during Peak than any other factor, low cost and fast delivery are also important, and many consumers also want multiple delivery options and prices.
From working with retailers and carriers on its delivery platform, MetaPack believes that careful planning has already been put in place to meet these consumer demands, forecast capacity, and ensure stock inventory is up to date and reliable. However, it will be necessary to closely monitor the delivery promises that are being made to ensure customer expectations can be matched.
"There's a balance to be struck between managing capacity and taking advantage of increased consumer spending," continued Bruce Fair. "Consumers are more, not less, likely to try new delivery options during Peak in order to ensure they get their parcels when and where they want them. This requires retailers to offer a broad choice of delivery options to ensure conversion at this highly competitive time, and ensure they are supported by their carriers. It also means that retailers have an opportunity to impress customers with new options that they wouldn't ordinarily choose."
Peak Index and Carrier Heatmap
MetaPack will track the delivery volume changes as we move through the peak period with particular emphasis on parcel volumes every Monday. In addition, a separate Carrier Performance Heat Map will illustrate how the top 10 UK carriers are performing in the run up to Christmas.