If you work in the delivery industry, you’ve probably heard about the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many distributors around the world to close their doors. Retailers and carriers are bracing for unprecedented volumes of deliveries as a result of the culture-shifting COVID-19 epidemic. Some delivery fleets have succumbed to pressure due to a lack of proper planning. And it’s only going to get worse.
The arrival of November marks the start of the holiday shopping season for most Americans. This year’s peak shopping and delivery season will be the most challenging yet. Here’s what you need to know about preparing for the mother of all peak seasons in the delivery industry in order to stay afloat and cash in on the potential profits.
What Should I Do to Get Ready for Holiday Deliveries?
To ensure that your company is ready for the upcoming holiday season, you must first comprehend the impact COVID-19 has had on ecommerce. Knowing how sales and demand for delivery services are changing will give you the information you need to scale your operations accordingly. After you’ve completed your capacity assessment, the final step before going live is to find the best route optimization software to help you streamline your workflow. This season, having the most efficient workflow possible will yield the best results for your company.
Peak Season Growth and Ecommerce
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, ecommerce was expanding at a breakneck pace. Digital Commerce 360 (formerly Internet Retailer) conducted an analysis of ecommerce retail penetration and found that online sales increased from 6.4 percent of total retail spending in 2010 to 16 percent in 2019. In 2019, consumers spent nearly $602 billion with online merchants in the United States alone. In the fourth quarter of 2019, ecommerce penetration reached 18 percent of all retail sales, which is typically defined as the holiday shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States. All data points pointed to 2020 being the biggest ecommerce peak season yet.
Then the pandemic hit.
Revenue is through the roof, but so is stress about logistics
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a surge in online retail sales that was unthinkable just a few months ago. According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, due to lockdown measures, a whopping 42 percent of the US labour force now teleworks from home. Ecommerce has exploded as a result of millions of Americans being stuck at home with nowhere to go. According to eMarketer, US ecommerce sales will reach nearly $795 billion this year as of October 2020, an acceleration of growth that will push previous ecommerce projections forward by nearly two years.
That means a large number of packages must be delivered. In fact, orders have risen to the point where traditional shipping and delivery services like UPS, FedEx, and the USPS are overburdened. Traditionally, peak season began in the fall around November, but according to Mike O’Brien of Multichannel Merchant, COVID-19 has created “peak-like conditions since spring, sending demand and costs soaring.” The major carriers have all imposed peak surcharges on “last-mile” delivery services ranging from $1.50 to $4 per package to offset the costs of expanding supply chains. The movement of goods from the last distribution centre to the final delivery destination, which is usually a residence––a critical sector of the delivery industry––is known as last-mile delivery. Even with surcharges on last-mile delivery companies, the additional profits may not be enough to compensate for the inconvenience of expanding capacity. Salesforce predicts that overall package volume will exceed shipping capacity, putting millions of holiday gifts at risk of not arriving on time. With a delivery service shortage looming, other options must be investigated to address the issue.
The Gig Economy’s Important Role
Retailers are scrambling to find a solution for the exponentially increased demand in delivery services as the holiday peak season in 2020 looks to break every sales record known to mankind. Retailers are “crowdsourcing last-mile carriers through the gig economy to alleviate the strain placed on traditional carriers,” according to a Salesforce forecast. Due to social distancing and lockdown protocols, ridesharing to restaurants, bars, and airports has declined, creating a new opportunity for gig transportation services to thrive this peak season. Those willing to deliver goods in their own vehicle may be able to make a good living during the holiday season. This seasonal work may provide much-needed income for many unemployed people. This demand may present an opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs or small business owners to hire more employees and expand operations.
The Most Important Factor in Managing Delivery This Season is Route Optimization
While retailers and carriers devote all of their resources to preparing for the most anticipated peak season in history, one critical factor will determine whether millions of packages arrive safely at their destinations: route optimization software. Whether in the carrier industry or the gig economy, every last-mile delivery vehicle will use a delivery route planner to get packages, parcels, and gifts to their final destination.
Route optimization’s effectiveness cannot be overstated. A good delivery route planner saves time and fuel while also increasing volume. For shipping and delivery managers, the speed and accuracy of route optimization software is critical to their fulfilment success. There is only one software you can rely on for this crucial task: EasyRoutes Local Delivery Routes Planner
EasyRoutes: The Best Delivery Route Planner
Consider a route planner that works in tandem with your orders to find the most efficient route between multiple addresses. That’s EasyRoutes for you!
EasyRoutes is a Shopify delivery management app that turns your orders into optimized delivery routes that you can share with a driver or personally deliver. EasyRoutes is not only simple to use, but it also has a lot of power.
EasyRoutes works seamlessly with Shopify and your store’s orders. You will no longer need to waste time exporting and importing spreadsheets. Simply select the orders you’d like to deliver, and EasyRoutes will figure out the most cost-effective delivery route for you.
Advanced features in EasyRoutes make delivery planning a breeze. As an example, smart route-splitting divides your orders into as many optimized routes as needed. We also provide a route inventory that can be used as a packing list to ensure that you or your drivers have everything they need before departing.
Customer notifications are also handled by EasyRoutes: we can notify your customers when orders are ready for delivery, when deliveries are missed, and when a delivery is completed.
EasyRoutes is without a doubt the best route planner for Shopify store owners. EasyRoutes feels like a natural part of the Shopify ecosystem, with full integration in the backend.
EasyRoutes works with a wide range of companies in a variety of industries. EasyRoutes typically saves hours per week planning routes. EasyRoutes has been revolutionary for some businesses, such as Bloomen.ca: “Because EasyRoutes runs so smoothly with our back end, we have acquired our own driver fleet which was never originally part of our business plan,” says Rishi Dhuck, Director of Operations. “We now have complete control of our deliveries and order statuses.”
EasyRoutes is also great for groups. Using EasyRoutes, EcoFuel.ie was able to plan and manage their deliveries completely remotely during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Susie Tan, Office Manager, says, “Since we’ve started using EasyRoutes we’ve gone from spending about 5 hours a day organizing routes to only needing an hour each morning to plan out our deliveries.”
EasyRoutes was a Shopify Staff Pick, is very well reviewed (5-stars across the board ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐), well-supported, and it offers plans and free-trials for any size business.