21 Dec Final Mile Shipping for the 2020 Holiday Season
Even those of us who, under normal circumstances, grimace at the mere suggestion of weaving through crowds of shoppers and waiting in check-out lines, may feel somewhat enchanted by the prospect of holiday shopping. Perhaps it’s the purpose attached to the list of items to procure, perhaps it’s the holiday garland and dreamy lights strung about, the towering Christmas trees drawing in observers like moths to a flame. There’s a certain buzz in the air, a happy urgency associated with impending family gatherings and holiday parties that makes the chaos of shopping centres suddenly tolerable, if not festive. Of course, that’s how the consumer experiences it, weaving our way through stores on a gift-finding mission. But what about behind the scenes? What about all the action brimming just below the surface, in warehouse and fulfillment centres, that makes the fulfillment of Christmas wish-lists possible around the globe?
The holidays are an incredibly stressful time of year for the supply chain industry. Christmas is, in many ways, the supply chain Super Bowl. The steady influx and onslaught of last-minute orders and final mile shipping makes for a high-pressure, logistically demanding few months. And while we are all surely exhausted of any mention of “the new normal” and the “unprecedented times” associated with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we cannot ignore the elephant in the room: this holiday shopping season is simply not like any other. With stores around the world closed to the public, we are witnessing a large-scale shift to online shopping. With no other option available to them, consumers are visiting company websites in droves, eager to make sure their holiday gifts arrive in time for celebrations. While this is great news for the e-commerce realm, it also presents an undeniable challenge for transportation professionals.
There is no denying it: 2020 will be a record-breaking year in the realm of online sales. Where the digital buying journey was once available, but not necessarily preferred, it is now the only path to purchase. And while consumers often treat promised delivery timelines with some degree of skepticism, delivery delays and overwhelmed supply chains seem to be an expected obstacle this year.
In fact, the expected e-commerce volume is three times its normal capacity, and Deloitte estimates online sales will grow between 25%-35% for the 2020 season and web sales will reach $182-$196 billion in November, December, and January. That being said, it’s important for brands to remember that, when relying on an e-commerce experience, they have very few touchpoints with their customers — specifically, the on-site experience, and the delivery itself. In an effort to leave a positive, lasting impression on customers, seamless order fulfillment is now more important than ever before.
3PL Providers Offering Critical Support
With expedited shipping demands and high shipping costs, brands around the world are turning to 3PL providers and logistics-tech companies to facilitate quick turn-around and final mile delivery orchestration. During high-demand times such as these, enhanced communication, strategic routes (reduced transit time), transportation technology and access to world-class carriers across all regions is paramount for fulfillment success.
Managing increased order volume and ever-evolving consumer demands require a dedicated fulfillment strategy that is closely managed and frequently revised. It also requires a large carrier network that can help any merchant (any time of year) to meet online demands with ease, keeping them ahead of capacity shortages and delivery delays that could tarnish their reputation with customers.
It Takes a Village
Taking your business online is no small task. It’s not simply a matter of establishing an online presence; it requires the creation of a dedicated supply chain and partnerships with carriers who can get goods and products from point A to point B. Simply stated, it isn’t a one-man job. Rather, it takes a village. Fortunately, that village exists.
3PL providers, such as Mactrans, are highly skilled in finding the most appropriate carrier, mode, and shipping method to suit the needs of a client (regardless of scale). Paired with a dedicated transportation expert, brands are able to view their shipping procedures from a new lens, adopting last-mile delivery practices that are more suited to the holiday demand. We provide online tracking to ensure transportation transparency, document imaging, automatic email status updates and alerts, EDI status updates, and more, while matching our clients with world-class carriers. Whether offering customers warehouse-to-doorstep delivery or curbside pick-up, 3PL providers help to take the guesswork out of transportation management when companies need it the most.
Need help meeting your residential delivery requirements? We have an extensive last mile carrier network to handle difficult logistics problems and deliveries.