It’s predicted that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will cause the most wide-ranging disruption to home shopping order fulfilment since Brits first began shopping online.
It won’t be just London-based businesses that will have to make contingency plans either. London deliveries represent nearly a fifth of all deliveries in the UK, meaning it’s likely that if you’re not in London, a significant tranche of your customer base is.
The disruption has already started with the arrival of the Olympic torch in Cornwall on 18th May. Once the torch arrives in London on 21st July, expect continued upheaval right until 11th September—the day after the close of the Paralympic Games.
Typically, a carrier drops around 120 deliveries per shift. This is expected to halve to just 60 deliveries per shift as carriers reroute to avoid disruptions. Shiran Liyanage, head of UK marketing at delivery software firm MetaPack, says, “We are expecting the disruption to affect around 20 percent of all UK deliveries, with drivers having to reroute to avoid the 109 miles of restricted routes.”
Transport for London (TfL), which is responsible for all transport issues during the Games, is promoting a mantra of “Reduce, Retime, Reroute, Revise” to those involved in freight and delivery. In general, says Liyanage, this is good advice but it applies mainly to b-to-b deliveries. While b-to-b deliveries may be able to adhere to a set of standard rules through forward planning, the dynamic nature of business-to-consumer online shopping and the fact that quality of delivery is regarded as a core part of the online sales proposition, careful planning and managing through an individual, more “high touch” approach is essential, he says.
To help retailers, MetaPack created an advice guide, available on its website. Liyanage adds, “As no retailer wants to reduce sales, retiming, rerouting and revising are the only options. However it’s communication that is the strongest strategy. Retailers need to inform customers of possible delays in their deliveries and perhaps work to amended SLAs with the carriers. Communication along every step of the way will be even more important during this time. Delivery status updates should be communicated and monitored and for those working from home, change in delivery address and redelivery should be as swift as possible. However, for more advanced retailers, where a fall in the customer experience could cause serious disruption, the ability to both identify parcels destined to delay spots at time of order, and also the ability to automatically reroute these parcels to different services/carriers, will be significantly preferable.”
Coping with disruption during the Olympic Games - what you should do:
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