For reasons we don’t need to mention, e-commerce has taken off in a big way this year. But even with the madness of 2020 aside, Black Friday continues to gather momentum, and now presents independent retailers and SMEs with a real opportunity.
In order to capitalise on that opportunity – in a year when small retailers need all the help they can get – we’ve put together five ways to help you bolster business and maximise profit.
Here at RDS we are already seeing some of our customers shipping volumes increase, from +50% to over 100% and there appear to be no signs of this slowing down.
UK online spending is expected to reach £73.4bn by the end of 2020 (+18.1% post-COVID), and it is estimated that this Black Friday will be 14% bigger than the last.
David Drake – Director, RDS
With all of this in mind, by following these five simple steps, you have help your peak run a little smother this season.
1. Honesty is the best policy
Deliveries will take a little longer than usual, as every carrier does their best to manage increased delivery volumes. ‘Next Day’ may take two days and ‘2 to 3 Days’ may take even longer. But customers are unlikely to gripe about this if you’re up front from the outset and manage their expectations. This year more than ever, we’re all learning to be a little more understanding.
2. Communication is key
By adding your customers’ mobile (SMS) and email address to your RDS booking, you can let them know when to expect their delivery and they can rearrange if necessary at no additional cost. It’s a simple action that will give them a much better level of service.
3. The more you give, the more we can give
If the delivery address is incomplete or incorrect, we can’t do the brilliant job that we’re capable of. So make sure the address is accurate and write it clearly. If there’s no company field to fill in, why not use it to give us any additional instructions we might need, such as ‘doorbell doesn’t work, please knock’, or ‘beware of the cat, it bites’. The more information you give us, the happier we can make your customers. It’s a win/win.
4. Stick that label down, so we don’t come unstuck
The single biggest cause for items getting ‘lost in transit’, is the address label coming away. Use sticky labels if you can and make sure they’re securely fixed – any loose corners can easily stick to the conveyors and come away.
5. That’s a wrap – make sure you’ve put together the whole package
With a record number of parcels about to be shipped, it’s both inevitable and understandable that you’ll have less time to spend on packing.
But do make sure you package your items sufficiently. Double-walled cardboard is a must, as is a tightly-packed box. If you can hear your item shake, rattle or roll, you need to pack it tighter.
Mailing bags are also great for non-fragile items, especially in the wet, wintery months.
I know we said five but here’s a bonus one, (because we’re nice like that)…
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Regardless of how good your courier is, every single carrier will have their challenges in the next 4 to 6 weeks.
Thankfully, at RDS our customers control who ships what, so they are always in control.
Which only leaves me to say, from all of us at RDS, to all you SMEs and independent retailers, that we hope this season is manageable, profitable and enjoyable.
If there’s anything at all we can do to make it easier, just get in touch – we’re always happy to hear from you.
For a carrier-neutral delivery partner that puts you in control, get in touch with RDS today to talk about how we can support you.