Black Friday has already changed the face of peak retailing as we know it – but this year it’s changing again. Retailers including Argos and Amazon are trying to wrestle back control of Black Friday by starting their sales early and stretching the event out to a “Black Friday week of deals” - thereby spreading the supply chain pressure across more days.
Brian Gaunt, CEO iForce comments: “The supply chain is very much in the spotlight this year and we have been working on the opportunities and supply chain challenges with our retail clients such as John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and Cath Kidston since peak 2014. It’s a time that requires both expertise and technology to be second to none. To support the uplift in volume at peak – which we’re forecasting to be a 25% uplift in orders this Black Friday – we’ve bolstered our workforce by almost 400% (up to approx 2600 iForce employees).
Some of our clients process around 40-45% of the year’s volume in the fourth quarter, and Black Friday is now a significant driver of that number. The planning behind the uplift in volume is to ensure that there’s no change in delivering excellent customer service for clients and ensures that the right technology, training, experience and flexibility are in place to be able to respond to the Black Friday beast at pace and beyond. It’s going to be a busy day - bring it on!”
iForce are also keen to reinforce the message to retailers that an order is never complete until it has surpassed its return by date. Many stores this year are looking at the prospect of 100% more Black Friday returns than in 2014. “It’s how you deal with these returns to protect margins that will make or break your overall peak success.” Gaunt concludes.