This week, I had the opportunity to (virtually) sit down with Rory O’Connor, CEO & Founder of Scurri, to discuss Q4 shipping in a pandemic. As we enter October, Prime Day is coming, then it’s early Black Friday sales, then Black Friday and Cyber Monday leading into the normal mayhem in the run up to Christmas so this year will be like no other previous holiday season.
There were a couple of key points which came out of the discussions with Rory – the entire supply chain has been turned on it’s head this year with likely shortages of stock for retailers and carriers have been running at maximum capacity for months during the pandemic and there simply isn’t any additional capacity left to service the heightened levels we expect in Q4.
“Many independent retailers are already having difficulty sourcing stock for Christmas from major international brands whose production was hit earlier in the year by Covid-related factory closures in Asia and Europe. Some fashion brands cancelled huge production orders at their factories when economic uncertainty from the virus outbreak was at its height. As sales have picked up since then, this has forced some to begin rationing supply for their own retail networks, limiting supply to independent stores.”
– Rory O’Connor, CEO & Founder, Scurri
There isn’t much that many of us can do about stock shortages – if you haven’t already secured your Q4 stock then it’s probably too late. However there are still some things we can do to ease the challenge of Q4 Shipping.
Rory advises both retailers and consumers to think early and don’t push orders into a single day. It’s not good for anyone including the consumer, the industry and certainly not the environment. It’s no surprise to see Amazon running three weeks of early Black Friday deals this year starting in October – Amazon are already in the habit of spreading Black Friday over a week or ten days but this year they’re trying to drag Christmas shopping orders all the way back into October.
Retailers and consumers should also consider alternative delivery solutions says Rory, lockers, click collect, and Drop to store are kinder on the environment as the last mile is where all the money is spent and all the wastage occurs.
Rory is also enthusiastic about interesting alternatives such as eco friendly options. If buying gifts, consider alternatives for both the product and the shipping. This year in particular, millions of consumers will buy a present online and have it delivered to their home… and then with local lockdowns will ship it a second time to their loved ones. Double shipping is crazy so if you’re in this position consider buying from a retailer that offers a gift wrap service and ship direct. If you’re a retailer and haven’t previously offered a gift wrap option then Q4 shipping in a pandemic could be just the time to differentiate your offering and add the service.
Finally, a top tip from Rory for those with overseas relatives – you can save a fortune in both costs and for the environment by purchasing presents from an in-country retailer in the country your relative lives and and ship directly to them, again with a gift wrap service. Why pay for international shipping when you can simply buy in the same country the gift is destined for?