For many retailers Christmas sales only really kick off when the Cyber Days begin. They’re the dates better known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday – a time when big brands push massive discounts to kick-start Christmas shopping.
During this period in 2018 UK shoppers are predicted to spend £8.1 billion in stores and online in just four days. But these Cyber Days aren’t always the cash cows they appear to be. A lot of hard work goes into the planning, logistics and delivery of these days to make sure they’re profitable.
In the following blog post we look at the trends in shopping behavior on Cyber Days. We’ll ask whether retailers and their logistics partners can continue to support these festive shopping frenzies and what needs to be done to make them a success.
In 2018 the Cyber Days fall on Friday 23rd November 2018 (Black Friday) and Monday 26th November 2018 (Cyber Monday). These are the days when it’s estimated shoppers will flood the high street and jump online to take advantage of big promotions.
It might be an offer on a particular product, free shipping or a percentage off their entire order but whatever it is, it needs to be enough to convince them to wait patiently for the promotions, fight their way through the crowds and part with their cash.
These Cyber Days sound exciting but they can quickly turn to misery and mayhem between the queues, crashing websites and the enormous pressure to get orders delivered with tight turnaround times.
It means logistics and operations departments will be under extreme stress trying to keep on top of forecasting, process orders and deliver the promises placed by the marketers. It’s tricky to do and even Amazon has been dogged by claims of delivery and planning mis-management over the festive period in the past. And when things go wrong it puts a massive dent in customer loyalty, sales and profit.
To ease the pressure retailers have attempted to change the goal posts when it comes to Cyber Days. Instead of announcing big promotions on just those days they’re now spreading out the offers across longer time periods. It means they can ease the pressure on logistics, technology and delivery partners as they have more time to process orders.
As a result of this retailers have now coined the phrase ‘Cyber Week’ which means consumers are now spending throughout an eight-day period in the run up to Cyber Monday.
The IMRG even predicts the advent of ‘Blackvember’ when retailers tease offers throughout the entire run up to Christmas. This change in behaviour perfectly corresponds with the evolving shopping habits of consumers. The consistent rise of mobiles, apps and voice assistants like Alexa is creating even more opportunities for people to shop whenever and wherever they want.
This ever-expanding sale period sounds like great news for retailers but in the age of austerity and on the brink of Brexit, retailers are unlikely to want to risk diverting attention away from the Cyber Days this year. And even if they do, shoppers might just hang fire until the Cyber Days to make sure they’re getting the best deals.
The game of chicken between the consumer and retailer is likely to mean the status quo is maintained and, for 2018 at least, the Cyber Days are likely to be the main breadwinners as shoppers hang on for the best bargains.
If the Cyber Day craziness looks set to continue for the foreseeable future then delivery and logistics operations need to rely on technology much more. They need to be able to respond to these short sharp peaks in business and get the goods delivered on time, every time.
It might sound bleak but there is help at hand. With the right tools it’s possible to speed up your processes and meet demand. You can get the goods picked, packed and delivered much more efficiently with a few smarter investments.
And our multi-drop route planner is just one of the solutions you can use. We’re on the side of logistics departments and delivery services, dedicated to getting the goods to the stores and in the hands of happy customers, faster.
The cloud-based route planning software helps delivery drivers reach their destinations more efficiently, helps logistics managers and depots manage routes remotely and automatically keeps business and customers in the loop with realistic arrival times.
So there is light at the end of the tunnel. The businesses who survive the harsh winter of 2018 will be the ones who’ve made the wisest choices when it comes to not just offering the goods but getting them delivered.
Invest in your future and request a demo of our multi-drop route planning software today.