Black Friday testing for the supply chain…

20% of all custom expected on Black Friday is set to come from online shopping. As such Black Friday will “test even the most technologically and operationally advanced of retailers”, according to Mike Danby, CEO of Advanced Supply Chain.

Stephanie Dexter, director of operations at UPS UK says however that the extension of Black Friday has diluted some of the impulse ‘buy now deals’. Dexter believes that based on retail research, sales volumes will have been higher today (Thursday 24th) than Black Friday.

“We’re now seeing more retailers extend these milestones from just one day into longer promotional periods, to better manage the volume of orders received,” said Dexter. “In the 2016 season, UPS expects to deliver more than 700 million packages globally over the Black Friday and Christmas shopping periods alone, up 14 per cent from the peak delivery period in 2015 during which saw 630 million packages delivered.”

The US delivery company predicts that this year’s volumes will exceed those of last year due to the new product roll outs and a number of other changes in the e-commerce market. UPS has hired 1300 seasonal workers to handle the higher demand over the seasonal peak season.

Retail data intelligence company Clear Returns has shown that £1 billion of the £6 billion spent over this shopping peak period will be returned by shoppers. Clear Returns said that this will tie up stock for 3-4 weeks in the ‘supply chain loop’ resulting in products not being on sale at full price for the Christmas period.

“If retailers can understand at the moment of purchase if a customer will keep or return the items bought, it can change everything that happens next and returns are no longer about a salvage operation, but about helping direct stock and marketing messages to the customers who will buy more and keep on buying,” said Vicky Brock, CEO of Clear Returns.

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