Maximizing Peak Season Potential: Going Beyond Carrier Diversification
The digital age has fundamentally transformed the retail landscape. As we adapt to the new era dominated by e-commerce, where approximately 20 percent of all retail transactions are made online (and growing every year), it's crucial to also recognize and adapt to shifting consumer behaviors and preferences — especially during peak season.
This high-stakes period of a single month, spanning from Black Friday to Christmas, is more than a chance to boost sales (it represents 30 percent of annual revenue for many retailers). Beyond the surge in revenue, peak season is a vital opportunity to forge lasting relationships with new customers exploring different brands, and to improve customer lifetime value (CLV) through unparalleled experiences.
Peak season presents a golden opportunity for retailers. A remarkable 80 percent of customers are willing to explore new brands during the season, driven by the allure of promotions, limited-time offers, and the hunt for unique products. This openness to new shopping experiences creates a unique window of opportunity for retailers to not just survive, but to thrive and build lasting relationships.
However, as the opportunities grow, so do the challenges of meeting the modern consumer’s expectations.
Traditionally, the retail industry has emphasized acquiring customers through promotions and unique products. But in recent years, the post-purchase experience — especially delivery — has increasingly played an equally pivotal role in shaping a brand’s perception in the eyes of the customer. The post-purchase experience now serves as a potential growth driver, fostering loyalty and encouraging repeat business.
Delivery is no longer just a logistical consideration; it has become a critical component of the overall customer experience. Today’s customers expect not just timely and reliable deliveries, but also a high degree of control and transparency in the shipping process. The convenience of real-time updates; ability to chat with a live person; and options to reschedule, reroute or provide specific delivery instructions are increasingly becoming table stakes expectations.
The impact of the delivery experience on brand perception and customer loyalty cannot be overstated, and the stakes have never been higher: 76 percent of consumers admit they would turn away from a brand following a single negative experience. In the world of e-commerce, where options are plentiful and competition is fierce, this statistic underscores the necessity for retailers to reassess their shipping strategies.
How can retailers navigate these challenges and secure customer satisfaction during peak season, arguably the most crucial (and busiest) time of year?
The Answer Goes Beyond Carrier Diversification
While carrier diversification — i.e., expanding the range of shipping partners to ensure a resilient and adaptable delivery strategy — is a crucial aspect of preparing for peak season, it's only the starting point. The true catalyst for driving loyalty and growth lies in choosing shipping partners that do more than just diversify; they must profoundly understand today’s consumer.
Retailers should prioritize partners that are designed to meet the modern customer’s needs and expectations in today’s e-commerce-dominated era. These shipping partners should be technology-forward, offering real-time traceability, responsive live support, and swift problem resolution. Their operational model should also be flexible enough to scale up with demand during peak seasons, guaranteeing swift and reliable deliveries when they're most critical.
This strategic approach does more than just address the immediate challenges of peak season. A focus on the post-purchase customer experience solidifies the brand’s reputation as committed to excellence in every aspect of the customer journey. Over time, this commitment fosters an environment where CLV is maximized, ensuring that the benefits of a thoughtful shipping strategy extend far beyond the immediate advantages seen during peak season and contribute to sustained business growth and customer satisfaction in the long term.
The time to act is now. Redefine your shipping strategy, set the foundation for a successful peak season, and position your brand for long-term success by aligning with shipping partners that are committed to delivering exceptional customer experiences — partners that go well beyond the basics.
Itamar Zur is the CEO of Veho, a company revolutionizing package delivery and returns for the modern economy.
Related story: A Unique Peak — Again
Itamar Zur founded Veho based on the belief that getting a package should be a pleasure. After a failed delivery of a meal kit subscription led him down a customer service abyss, Zur realized that the experience he had anticipated for days fell apart in the last mile. Veho was built on this core insight: customer-first delivery experiences directly impact brands' customer retention and customer lifetime value. With support from a team of industry veterans from FedEx, Uber and Amazon, Zur and his co-founder Fred Cook have grown Veho to provide the most transparent, customer-centric, and flexible last-mile shipping solution for brands radically focused on first-rate customer experience.