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Peak Season Planning

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What is Peak Season Planning and Why Does It Matter?

In the parcel industry, peak season planning is a supply chain strategy targeted around specific holiday shopping seasons in an effort to serve as many customers as efficiently and quickly as possible. The season with the most concerted effort across all brands is generally the winter holiday/Christmas season, though peak season planning can encompass any season that your shoppers increase shopping activity around, such as Easter or Halloween.

Why is Peak Season Planning Important to Your Parcel Network?

  • Online shopping increases during peak holiday seasons. Holiday shoppers are seeking more purchases at the best available prices, and much of that shopping begins online. In fact, for many retailers, online sales during these times can account for up to 40% of annual sales.
  • Increased shopping brings increased activity – for you and your carriers. From new sales opportunities, record sales, and increased returns, your parcel network will undoubtedly experience growing pains for any unpredicted or planned for changes, but don’t forget about your carriers, too. They’re busier than normal also, and that means you’ll do well to monitor your parcels closely, seeking out delayed or lost packages, as well as unexpected surcharges or new accessorials.
  • Consumer expectations are heightened. Perhaps more than any other time, shoppers are sensitive to price and shipping time. They’re seeking better deals (because they’re buying more than normal), and they want those purchased products faster than ever (because they still need to wrap it and check it off the To-Do list). A brand that delights instead of vexes during this time will likely remain favored when peak seasons end.

Overall, peak season planning is ideally meant to help your brand and parcel network prepare for a busier shopping season. That means more time proactively preparing vs. reactively putting out fires and dealing with unforeseen growing pains. The principles of Parcel Spend Management are just as valid during this time as any other, if not more so.

Recent Resources


2 weeks ago

Parcel Carrier Contract Negotiation Amidst a Global Pandemic

In 2020, shippers across the world are finding that negotiating their parcel carrier contract is unlike contract negotiation during any year prior – largely impacting those wanting to diversify their carrier network through this strategic means.

2 weeks ago

2020 Guide to COVID-19 and Peak Season Surcharges and Rate Changes

Many curious eyes are watching as the parcel industry continues to adapt to COVID-19 and prepares to enter this year's peak holiday season. To help our readers follow along, we've collected many of the more notable surcharges and rate changes known to date.

10 months ago

Make Peak Season Less Painful with These Cost Avoidance Strategies

Peak season surcharges began in 2017 as a way for carriers to mitigate some of the costs during the heavy shipping season. Packages that require extra handling (i.e. additional handling, large package/oversize, and over maximum limits/unauthorized package) that get pushed into the carriers’ network create less efficiency; therefore, carriers seem to penalize shippers even more during the holiday season.

5 years ago

Shippers' Perspective on the Parcel Climate This Peak Season and Beyond

The parcel industry continues to be as unpredictable as ever. Uncertainty is a consistent theme among parcel shippers and navigating through it is becoming increasingly challenging. I recently attended the Parcel Forum in Chicago this October and took the opportunity to ask many of the shippers and carriers present to share with me their concerns about uncertainty within the parcel climate as we approach peak season and a new year in 2016.


4 months ago

Transportation Trends and the Impact of COVID-19

Insights from GMT's annual Benchmark Report. Featuring Chris Johnson, Senior Analyst at Cleveland Research Center.


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