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News Overview > Strategies for Proactive Peak Season Planning and Collaborative Success

Strategies for Proactive Peak Season Planning and Collaborative Success

24 October 2023 | 5 minutes read

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Peak is upon us! With ecommerce growth up vs last year, and much of that growth coming from cross-border selling, it makes more sense than ever to plan early for peak success. In the spirit of collaboration, here Andy De Souza, Senior Director of Operations at Landmark Global UK, sets out some pointers to prepare for the peak journey ahead.

Peak season in years gone by used to be an extreme roller-coaster of anxious waiting, then experiencing extreme and somewhat unpredictable spikes of Black Friday and Holiday volumes. Two key trends have happened since then, explains Landmark Global’s Andy De Souza: “Peak has got longer and flatter, building from mid-October and tapering off with Christmas delivery cut-offs. Factoring in a subsequent mini-peak for returns, plus events such as Chinese New Year and it can seem as if peak now continues for 3 to 4 months. Secondly, and a key factor in managing the shape of Peak operations, sellers and logistics carriers are increasingly proactive and collaborative about planning for Peak and sharing forecast and capacity info.”

Speaking from Landmark Global’s new state of the art parcel processing facility at London’s Heathrow, Andy adds, “the advice we’ve set out here will hopefully inspire sellers and logistics partners alike to prepare well and ahead of time.”

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Forecasting Peak Season Sales with Data Analysis

Use sales order data from the previous year combined with the running year’s forecast to help predict this year’s peak season order volumes. As a seller, the earlier you can share your forecast with your logistics partners, the better they can plan to support you and your end-customers with a seamless end to end peak delivery experience.

Balancing Global and Local Strategies for International Peak Sales

It’s a true and often stated maxim that international ecommerce is not one thing. Different markets and customers have different needs. That’s doubly the case during peak. For example, alongside planning for Black Friday for your US and Canadian customers, don’t forget to consider White Friday for your Middle Eastern customers. White Friday started in UAE, Saudi and Kuwait, but has now spread much further across the region. Even more so than Black Friday, it can spread over four days rather than one. As Andy De Souza says, “Make sure your logistics partner can truly collaborate with you to support peak activities not just to the more traditional destinations, but also to the newer high growth and emerging ecommerce markets”.

Evaluating Your Logistics Partner's Capacity for Peak Season Support

Info sharing and collaboration works both ways. As well as creating and sharing your peak forecast, it doesn’t hurt to ask your logistics partner about their capacity to support that. Have they pre-booked space with airlines on key routes? Is their customs clearance resource in-house and dedicated to your peak volumes? What is their processing capacity if your volumes exceed forecast? What did they learn from last peak? Have they invited you to visit their operation – to see, touch and feel it? “We fundamentally changed our operation following last peak,” says Landmark Global’s Andy De Souza. “We added 50% more space at our new Heathrow Logistics Park facility. We also transformed our operation with parcel processing automation. It’s made us agile and scalable to deal with volume spikes and anything else peak throws at us.”

Setting and Meeting End-Customer Expectations During Peak

So far, we’ve discussed collaboration between sellers and carriers. The third key stakeholder is of course the end-customer. Ordering in time for key holidays brings with it even more excitement and emotion. Has your logistics partner communicated shipping cut-off dates for pre-holiday delivery? As a seller, have you communicated cut-off dates on your website, social media and coms with your end-customers? Are expectations set and aligned? Inevitably, there will be an increase in “where’s my order?” queries over the peak season. Are you and your logistics partner geared-up and resourced to manage those? To minimise those queries, be sure to offer fully tracked delivery, with tracking fully visible to the end-customer.

Diverse Delivery Options to Cater to Every Customer's Needs

Peak doesn’t have to be a rush and plenty of end-customers know that too! For your customers who had the foresight to order well in advance of holidays, offer a postal or commercial standard tracked service. For customers ordering last minute, offer express options. For customers wanting convenience (and top tip, this also neatly avoiding gifts showing up at the door), does your logistics partner offer “PUDO” services, with order delivery to parcel shops and lockers? Landmark Global offers PUDO delivery across Europe and to other key ecommerce markets.

Managing global parcel delivery is our core business all year round.”

Andy De Souza, Senior Director of Operations at Landmark Global UK

Fostering Customer Loyalty for Long-Term Success

Ensure customers keep coming back! It sounds obvious. If you can make the delivery experience an extension of your brand promise, and partner with others who share that same objective, customers will love you for it. Use reporting and updates with your logistic partners through peak to ensure that singular focus on customer experience and customer retention. Consider offering promotions and incentives to customers for them to repeat-buy from you in that quieter period post-peak. Then, before you know it, it’ll be time to start that early peak planning all over again!

Elevate Your Business in the Ecommerce Peak Season

Whether this is your first peak, you’re in growth mode or simply looking to improve your end-to-end logistics for the peak season, you can rely on Landmark Global as your go-to trusted partner with global reach. Get in touch and learn what we can do for your business.

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Landmark Global is the trusted international logistics partner that powers your e-commerce growth. Reaching up to 220 destinations, our services include international parcel delivery, customs clearance solutions and returns management. It’s our business to deliver your promise, wherever, whenever

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