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The Logistical Nightmare of Black Friday – And How to Prepare for the Next Holiday Season?

Nov 30, 2017

It is estimated that around 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. In 2016, consumers spent a staggering amount of US$655.8 billion in retail purchases. With such insane amount of purchasing happening in such a short amount of time, companies are having to find innovative ways to adjust their logistics and supply chain in order to cater to such considerable demands. So, with companies selling their products at such a throwaway price and battling to get their logistics and supply chain right, how are they managing to churn out profits? It all comes down to proper planning and a little novelty in their logistics and supply chain. Here are some of the tips to help your company gain an edge to manage the supply chain to remain effective for the next holiday season.SE_Demo2

Align and Communicate with Your Partners

The holiday season usually calls out for managing a large amount of stocks and delivering it to the consumers. It is essential that all entities along the supply chain such as buyers, suppliers, and 3PL vendors communicate their goals, expectations, and performance metrics so that everyone is in the same line. This helps to alleviate any disruption occurring in the supply chain as each party makes unified attempt to address the issue. Numerous manufacturers have a fair idea about the customer expectations and demands, and communicating the same to all parties across the supply chain facilitates the end-goal which will help in reducing the overall logistics cost.

Expanding Sales Date and Offers

Big retailers and especially e-retailers have realized that handling the crazy Black Friday traffic for a single day can be disastrous. So they have started their Black Friday and other holiday sales much earlier in advance. Most of the retailers are starting the sales a week before Black Friday. For instance, this year Amazon began their Black Friday sales a week earlier offering Amazon Alexa at a discounted rate. Expanding the sales dates eliminates supply chain bottlenecks by distributing the total traffic throughout the week and makes the demand more manageable.

Incorporate Big Data Analytics

The retail industry has embraced big data to gather meaningful insights. With such significant amount of data accumulated on historical sales and user behavior, it is possible to accurately forecast what items will be on demand during the holiday season and in what quantities. This equips the supplier to be prepared to adjust their supply chain as per the requirement. Also, retailers can identify factors that can cause disruptions for holiday season sale by using real-time data from optimization tools to discover risks. Carefully monitoring data trends helps to identify outliers that can cause disruptions which can lead cause the logistics function to fail. Additionally, it also helps to increase supply chain efficiency by improving order-to-cycle delivery times and enable procurement teams to respond to arising crisis effectively and efficiently.

Taking Advantage of Omni-channel Logistics

When it comes to making deliveries in the holiday season, the shipments are usually delayed. This is because the same logistics partner has to cater to the multi-fold increase in demand, which is quite impossible. This can mean that your parcel can be delayed by as much as a week. To avoid this scenario and maintain customer satisfaction companies can leverage omnichannel logistics of nearby. For instance, if a customer orders any product from the online store, instead of sourcing from the distribution center, the company can get that item from the closest brick and mortar store so that it reaches to the customer quicker.

For more information on supply chain and logistics in Black Friday and holiday season along with retail sales, store promotions, and online sales:

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