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Will 2020 Black Friday be the biggest ever?

Black Friday 2020 is set to be another huge consumer event and conversation has already started around the deals that we can expect to find. The event falls on 27th November this year with Cyber Monday following straight after on 30th November, just in time for the Christmas shopping season. However, due to the current situation, things will be a little different this year. The ongoing pandemic means that this Black Friday will be unlike any before.

In recent weeks, new guidelines for the retail sector have been set out, including additional fines for noncompliance and a variety of enhanced social distancing measure, which could of course become even stricter at any time.

All of these restrictions, coupled with factors such as increasing waiting times and queue lengths, are expected to a lead to a massive drop-off in Black Friday footfall when compared to figures from previous years.

As such, it is incredibly likely that the 2020 edition of Black Friday will see the annual event further transition online. While the high streets are not likely to see the deal-hunting Black Friday crowds like they have done in previous years, many online retailers will take this opportunity to boost sales before the end of the year. Instead of queueing outside, many shoppers will this year be glued to a screen as sales begin. In the ever-competitive retail landscape, it is possible that we may see some of the biggest discounts ever.

However, this will put a great deal of pressure and added strain on retailers and delivery companies These were already under pressure, with there being an almost 75% increase in online shopping due to the pandemic, along with nearly half (45%) of UK adults receiving more parcel deliveries since coronavirus lockdown than pre-lockdown (Royal Mail). Adding to this, Hermes has predicted that 3.5million parcels will be delivered each day during the Black Friday and Christmas period – almost double the number that was delivered during the same period last year.

Issues include parcels being returned to depot due to failed delivery, staff having to spend more time managing parcels, and the cost of putting vehicles onto the road when they are not full, will all be heightened.

The pandemic looks set to impose permanent lasting changes on retailers, delivery companies and of course, us as shoppers, so it is important that new approaches are developed in order to cope with peak events like Black Friday and beyond.

The case for parcel lockers

Parcel lockers address these issues in a number of ways, but fundamentally they solve logistical challenges. They remove a great deal of potential concern around personal deliveries thanks to the simplification and flexibility they provide to retailers and their delivery partners.

By electing to offer locker collection as an option, retailers remove the need for shoppers to consider their schedule when placing orders. That is to say, they do not need to plan to be in for long periods of time to accept orders, nor consider what will happen if they end up missing the delivery. This is a key benefit at a time where people’s schedules have never been more unpredictable.

The reduced contact nature of lockers has come to the fore too. Using lockers means that delivery partners or retailers reduce the need for person-to-person ‘last mile’ delivery, giving customers extra control over their own social distancing preferences.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the retail industry issues that are creating the need for mail management solutions like lockers, you can find out more in a white paper we have produced on the topic here.