In today’s volatile transportation and shipping industry, parcel carriers maintain a significant advantage over other transportation service providers — a peak season e-commerce strategy. Many market experts and analysts predict this advantage will continue into and even beyond the upcoming peak season flux as the dynamics between shippers and carriers continue to scale, adapt, and shift with consumer needs and demands.
The State of E-Commerce Peak Season in 2021
Many of the contributing factors in the highly competitive parcel express market have ramped up into overdrive ahead of the 2021 peak season, with e-commerce levels reaching record levels. This has given rise to an extended peak season, higher product demands, elevated rates, tighter capacity, increased management requirements, more strained supply chains, and challenging service environments. Peak season e-commerce for 2021 may well offer more significant increases than ever. According to figures from eMarketer.com, “in 2021, we’ll see slightly higher e-commerce growth from a much higher base. Our pre-pandemic forecast had U.S. e-commerce sales growing by 12.8% to $761.26 billion in 2021. We now expect e-commerce sales will grow slightly faster, by 13.7%, and also reach a much higher total sales figure ($908.73 billion).” This is primarily due to the effects the pandemic has had on the market. At the same time, big shippers and e-commerce giants remain laser-focused on improving their logistics and shipping capabilities.
An Evolved E-Commerce Strategy Focuses on Data
With the increased pressures and focus on a peak season e-commerce strategy, shippers of all sizes now find themselves needing access to fast and reliable data sooner rather than later. Predictive planning and strategizing are critical for the successful navigation of the e-commerce market of today. Shippers contend with limited supply and rising costs and the consumers’ continual demand for fast and free/affordable shipping options. Many of the current e-commerce strategies implemented by shippers include requirements for capacity guarantees, more rapid communications, and greater carrier diversification. All of these components must come together to create an evolved e-commerce strategy for the 2021 peak season and beyond.
Tips to Prepare for Stronger Demand in Peak Season E-Commerce
E-commerce now makes up an even larger slice of the ever-growing pie that is the recovering global commerce market, according to a report from emarketer.com. Before the pandemic, it was anticipated that e-commerce sales would account for around 13% of total retail sales, an estimated value of approximately $5.779 trillion for 2021. Now the thoughts focus on e-commerce accounting for 15.5% of total retail sales this year. This is the power of peak season e-commerce and demonstrates why a sound strategy is critical for achieving continued growth. Some tips to help supply chain team members prepare for peak surcharges and demands may include:
- Leverage technological advancements for faster and more accurate shipping management.
- Embrace data analysis and integration for making informed decisions and implementing advancements.
- Enable better onboarding of team members by providing better training and integrations for carriers.
- Implement more reliable tracking and monitoring of packages, containers, and individual deliveries.
- Enhance access to real-time data for team members, third-party partners, and customers.
- Diversify shipping modes to fill capacity needs quickly and affordably.
- Improve transparency and visibility throughout the supply chain network.
- Renew focus on better management of inventory and supply flow.
- Streamline disruption management with automated responses and flexibility.
- Create a stronger focus on customer needs with personalized options and services.
- Consider more diverse opportunities for transportation mode and lane to ensure faster shipping.
- Upgrade tracking of market trends and more robust predictive planning measures.
As companies big and small begin to prepare for the spike in capacity demands, a strong peak season e-commerce strategy can make the difference between growth and sustainability or stagnation and decline for 2021 and the coming years as well.
Achieve More Resilient Operations by Putting the Power of Intelligent Audit to Work
Peak season e-commerce is a critical consideration for transportation service providers, as some shippers will win capacity and others will lose capacity. The small parcel supply chain may well see some of the most significant spikes in capacity needs and demands during these unprecedented times. Many factors influence market trends and consumer demand, and the modern supply chain must adapt and meet those needs. Improved technology utilization, multi-modal optimization, real-time tracking and monitoring, better 3PL engagement, and enhanced final-mile delivery services are vital for successfully serving the retail market. All of these components are needed for an evolved e-commerce strategy now and in the years to come. Contact Intelligent Audit today to learn more and to get started.