Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that once signified the beginning of the holiday shopping season, had been indulging in a calendar creep over the last several years, leading many to refer to it as “Grey Thursday.” And the shopping holiday is taking on a new name, Black November. Meanwhile, interest in complementary supply and demand chain tools like logistics automation has grown accordingly. So, let’s take a closer look at the changes coming up and how retailers can leverage technology to streamline e-commerce logistics.
Black Friday Is Dead
While just a year ago retailers braced for large, enthusiastic crowds gathering outside store doors, COVID-19 will undoubtedly put a chill on this long-standing tradition. As a result, e-commerce logistics will look very different in 2020 versus 2019. According to Wral Tech Wire, “The shopping spectacular is getting a pandemic-induced makeover, with many major retailers starting their sales earlier than ever and ending them later. Companies are hoping to avoid the crush of customers that crowd stores on the Friday after Thanksgiving by giving them more buying, pickup, and delivery options.”
Long Live Black November
How to Leverage an Extended Peak Season to Grow Profitability and Supply Chain Efficacy
- Rethink existing contracted capacity. With shipping peaks breaking out of historical norms, logistics planning is edging closer to JIT-style approaches and prizing versatility and adaptability over legacy contractual setups. Consider solutions like digital freight matching to build in scalability.
- Source new carriers, lanes, and brokers to increase capacity. There’s never been a better time to explore options outside of established logistics networks. Researching scalability doesn’t necessarily mean jumping ship. There’s always a way to supplement, support, and grow the existing shipping and logistics network.
- Enable end-to-end visibility to avoid miscommunications and delays. To put it bluntly, the better your understanding of a problem, the smarter the solution can be applied. Relying on reports of issues that come after a truck is already late will have a ripple effect up and down the supply and demand chain, causing many more micro-issues after the fact.
- Centralize your logistics management with a global, SaaS-driven TMS. While it might only seem like a minor inconvenience to “translate” data from one system to another, the truth is all those “just a second” tasks add up and hamstring efficiency.