Black Friday: logistics for the shopping event

For several years now, consumers around the world have had two major annual holidays at the end of November: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. Every year on the fourth Friday in November and the following Monday, many online and brick-and-mortar retailers offer big discounts to boost Christmas sales. They expect record sales and hope to attract new customers on a permanent basis. The transport and logistics industry faces major challenges on promotional days like Black Friday.

Online retailers are expecting record sales again this year for shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Due to the numerous offers and promotions, orders are exceptionally numerous on these days. Customers expect fast and error-free deliveries. This puts a lot of pressure on the industry.

Consumers do not forgive logistical mistakes

And bargain hunters are critical: they want transparency about costs, control over the delivery process, easy returns and loyalty rewards. Their goal is to save money. They do not forgive delivery bottlenecks, shipping difficulties or excessive costs. Retailers, on the other hand, must have enough goods in stock and be able to get them on their way as quickly as possible with the help of their logistics service providers. All processes between warehouse, picking and packing must run smoothly. All employees are challenged.

3D illustration of truck with Black Friday sign Wrapped with red ribbonAs soon as the order button is pressed, the logistics machinery starts moving. IT solutions are also indispensable. High-speed shuttles in automated department stores sometimes store and retrieve more than 1,000 items per hour at peak times. Logisticians have long since adjusted their resources, increased staff and transport capacities.

There is no doubt that the team that takes care of the art we call “logistics” must be competent and meticulous in order to get them from their point of origin to their final destination. Every shipment entrusted to a logistics provider is the result of months of planning. It involves many hours of collaboration, lengthy price negotiations and months of market research.

As Black Friday has evolved over the years, so has the supply chain that supports it. Warehouse management, optimised distribution networks and supply chain planning have made it possible to keep shelves well stocked and reduce the need for costly warehousing. With perfect execution of supply chain and logistics planning, shoppers should be unaware of the processes going on in the background. And many supply chain managers can finally breathe a sigh of relief when Black Friday comes around at the end of November. Because their main work will already be done by then.

Daniel Mahnken
Daniel Mahnken is a Head of Corporate Communications at Saloodo!. As a qualified journalist, writing is practically in his blood. After studying sports journalism, he wanted to become Germany’s Next Sports Commentator, but then he discovered logistics and has been stuck with it ever since.

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