'Mega Monday' presents transport challenge for suppliers

3 December 2012

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3 December 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Supply chains will be put to the test today as online retailers prepare for ‘Mega Monday’ - the busiest shopping day of the year.

Global information services company Experian is predicting a 36 per cent jump in online retail site visits, around 30 million extra views.

According to Crispin Mair, founding director of supply chain consultants Crimson & Co, the challenge for online retailers will be in transport. He told SM: “With online shopping, the route of the product to the customer has changed. Transport planning is unpredictable and retailers must have a dynamic network that can deliver full container loads or home deliveries.”

Mair said that online retailers operate two different models: they either spend money running automated warehouses near a market base or invest in transport. He noted that retailers such as Amazon use remote warehouses and rely heavily on their transport network.

He added that during the festive period retailers should focus on understanding the risks, responding to capacity needs and tracking sales developments.

According to logistics and parcel distribution company DX, last year’s ‘Mega Monday’ caused problems with some carriers unable to deliver up to 15,000 parcels on time. Paul Doble, director at DX, said: “There is concern in the market that demand will again outstrip capacity this Christmas, leaving retailers unable to meet their promises to online shoppers in regard to guaranteed delivery times.”

Doble recommends retailers assess their delivery capabilities and avoid over-promising customers.

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