Black Friday and Christmas 2021: how to optimize your logistics during peak periods?

Black Friday and Christmas 2021: how to optimize your logistics during peak periods?

Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez

October 18, 2021

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Black Friday has become a staple for consumers. 46% of French consumers intend to buy on this date.

In 2020, it caused a boom of +127% of sales compared to October. For e-tailers, it is the most favorable and profitable period! It is especially true for shoes, fashion, and accessories.

On the other hand, given the intensity of the demand, be prepared to optimize this period. Here are some logistical tips for managing peak periods.

With an average budget of 330€ for Black Friday, French consumers intend to take to make the most of it! At Bigblue, we've seen some brands multiply their sales by 4X during this period. 

1. Anticipate stock shortages

Your challenge? Identify your best-selling products and make sure you have enough available units in stock. There's nothing more frustrating for a customer than to search for the right product, only to find that it's not available. 

For brands, stock-outs mean lost customers and lost sales. According to Veeqo, 70% of consumers would buy from a competitor if the product they are looking for is out of stock in your shop.

Lulus' out of stock

If you manage your logistics in-house, prepare to pack a high number of parcels.

Faced with a peak of orders and shipments, define an optimal organization to avoid errors and delays in delivery. Indeed, it is very likely that you will spend your days preparing the packages and shipping them via La Poste or your carrier partner.

Remember that 84% of buyers say they are unlikely to buy from a company again after a bad delivery experience.

Externalised logistics in peak periods: communicate with your logistics partner

Outsourcing your logistics is an effective strategy. It frees up your time to focus your efforts on your business, customer acquisition, and loyalty.

But during peak periods such as Black Friday or the Christmas period, you should provide a precise brief to your logistics provider so that he is, in turn, armed to face the rush. 

Make sure your logistics partner is ready

Make sure that your logistics partner can manage the peak periods and alert him on the arrival of your goods at the warehouse, your promotions, and the avalanche of orders he will receive. 

Allow an extra month for the arrival of your products at the warehouse and make sure that the merchandise is in stock.

With accurate data, your logistics partner will be able to anticipate his needs in staffing, storage, and transportation.

Share your stock planning forecasts.

In the end, it's all about organization and passing on information.

We advise you to share your schedule with your logistician. He will be better prepared to organize receipts and stock entries. Above all, he will inform you as soon as possible of any possible gaps in quantities and delivery delays.

2. Delivery options

Customers have a lot of expectations about delivery speed. Since Amazon Prime started offering express delivery, consumers have become very demanding. 

40% of consumers are likely to wait up to 10 days before Christmas to buy their gifts. To meet customers' demands, we advise you to offer several delivery options: express delivery, free delivery, point relay delivery, and standard delivery.

Master the delivery time

Black Friday or Christmas periods are known for longer delivery times.

To avoid unpleasant surprises for the customer, be transparent on your cutoffs. Inform them about shipping times as soon as they place their order.

Also establish a scrupulous tracking of the parcel and indicate the status of their purchase in their client space or by e-mail:

  • preparation of the parcel;
  • delivery of the package to the carrier;
  • last-mile delivery tracking.

This way, the customer will have a real-time view of the package, and above all, good communication will take away the stress of the delivery.

Offer multiple delivery options.

Express delivery

Part of Amazon Prime's success is their fast 1-business day delivery on about 2 million items. Consider offering your customers at least an express delivery option.

During Black Friday, play the game. You can take a cue from Caval, which offers several options:

  • delivery in a relay point: free, 3 days delivery
  • home delivery: 6 euros, 2 to 3 days
  • express: 12 euros, 24 hours

What do consumers appreciate the most? The choice on the delivery time and the transparency on the prices.

Caval's shipping options

Opt for an environmentally friendly approach for your express deliveries

You have the option of choosing less polluting transportation like Swoopin, Bigblue's transportation partner, which is an eco-friendly delivery solution.

With a 100% electric fleet, they save 65% on CO2 compared to traditional delivery providers and meet the UN's sustainability goals.,

Working with this type of company is good for the planet but also for your brand image. You gently sensitize your customers without falling into greenwashing.

Swoopin's green last-mile delivery

Standard delivery

Express delivery, although much appreciated by customers, pollutes 30% more than standard delivery.

To limit the craze for express delivery, propose alternatives by explaining the benefits for the consumer:

  • standard delivery, which is the least expensive for the customer;
  • delivery in relay points is free and allows the customer to pick up his parcel whenever he wants.

Free shipping

We don't recommend passing on the cost of shipping to your customer. In fact, according to the Baymard Institute, 53% of consumers abandon their shopping carts because of high shipping costs.

Most of your customers will expect free shipping. So it's part of the norm... 

We can say that it is an essential lever to sell your items. But, don't lose out either! You can encourage spending a certain amount before offering free shipping.

Saeve's delivery options

Bigblue’s advice

The most important variable to take into account is the ratio between your expedition costs and your revenue. We advise our clients to offer free shipping for purchases equivalent to 10 to 15% superior to the average shipping cart

3. Limit waste and promote eco-friendly packaging

The packaging, and the phenomenon of over-packaging that results from it, are polluting.  Unfortunately, Black Friday and the Christmas holidays accentuate this phenomenon. What can you do to reduce your impact?

Opt for eco-friendly packaging

According to Hipli, Bigblue's eco-friendly packaging partner, delivery represents 218 million tons of delivery package waste per year. In response to this, Hipli proposes to use the same packaging several times.

It’s pretty simple:

  • You buy reusable packages on their platform;
  • You send the order to your customer;
  • Your customer sends the empty parcel by post, free of charge for him, to the Hipli center, which will reuse the packaging.

At Bigblue, we do not use bubble wrap or polystyrene. To achieve zero plastic, we choose suppliers who pay attention to the composition of the packaging and its recyclability.

Moreover, consumers are increasingly sensitive to the ecological cause. Favor a customer experience that takes this new value into account. 70% of French people have said they have selected certain brands rather than others according to their social and ecological commitments?

Customize your packaging

Personalization is an essential element if you want to offer an optimal and very differentiating experience to your e-commerce customers. Therefore, it is crucial to find a logistics provider who can help you personalize your packages with your brand's image to anchor it in the minds of your consumers! 

Think about adding a thank you letter in your packages, small gifts, and promo codes for the upcoming activity peaks. This will help you create the best unboxing experience possible and encourage your customers to come back to your site for more purchases in the future. This way, you will build loyalty and create a long-term relationship with your buyers. 

Customers well perceive this approach. Companies like Sézane or Lush have understood this since they integrate the quality of the packaging in their marketing strategy.

A commercial gesture

Is it the Christmas season? It's a rush time as 40% of consumers are likely to wait up to 10 days before Christmas to buy their gifts.

So what could be more annoying for the customer than chasing the missing gift wrap? To keep your audience loyal, be empathetic and offer them the gift wrap.

The little extra: allow your customers to add a personalized note for their gifts purchased in your e-commerce. If you wish to offer them this option, book a demo with our team

4. Returns management: Black Friday’s hangover!

Managing product returns

Mass promotions during Black Friday make consumers particularly euphoric. 72% of them want to get "good deals" for their Christmas shopping, which leads people to buy products they don't want.

This is even more true for ready-to-wear, as the return rate for clothes and shoes is 18.8%.

We can therefore say that order returns are now an integral part of the user journey.

Bigblue's returns portal

Peak Periods: how to manage returns?

An efficient customer support

In 2019, 55% of French consumers mentioned they are willing to spend more if the customer service is good. One of the most substantial frustrations is the difficulty of reaching customer service.

One of the keys to getting through Black Friday is to plan for more robust customer service. But, there are other tricks to avoid e-mails and phone calls explaining the return policy:

  • Prepare a FAQ with all the most basic questions: how do I return my package? What is the return period? In how many days will I be reimbursed? The objective here is to anticipate the customer's pain points and to relieve you of an information service.
  • Use personalized tracking e-mails to reassure your customers. 60% of brands do not inform customers of the status of the package during the return. Yet, returning packages is always a stressful moment for the consumer.
  • Describe your products in detail and take realistic photos of your products. For example, for clothing, it is crucial to be precise about the sizing. It is the same for the color. 

Be prepared for the avalanche of returns.

Package returns are an integral part of the shopping experience. And, there's nothing more unpleasant than being stuck with an item that doesn't fit and that you can’t return.

During peak periods, strengthen your teams and make the return experience easy for customers by implementing :

  • free of charge;
  • the already prepared shipping label ;
  • return from a relay point which is the preferred way of return;
  • extension of the return date.