No retailer can escape “peak” season.
If you’re an electronics retailer, you’re likely focused on end of year holidays. Jewelry shops may be shoring up their inventory around Valentine’s Day while florists are focused on Mother’s Day.
While “peak” timing may differ, customer demands, tight deadlines, and high expectations are a reality for every retailer.
So the question we’re asking is, how can businesses “peak proof” their business?
We interviewed Sridhar Sasidharan and Megan Metzker, two customer success leaders here at Delivery Solutions (DS), to hear stories from real DS customers. They explain why retailers like Sephora and Lowes Food rely on us to summit each and every peak season without fail.
The two biggest challenges for businesses during peak season
Holidays bring a flood of orders and increased customer demand. On one side, this presents an excellent opportunity to boost sales and end the year on a high note. On the other side, this requires a significant investment of time, resources, and technology. It’s a double-edged sword.
There are two major challenges that we’ve seen most of our customers face.
1. Difficulty of orchestrating between multiple Delivery Service Providers
It’s simply a fact of doing business that some Delivery Service Providers (DSPs) are better suited than others to reach customers where they live. For instance, if your customers live in an urban environment, Uber or Doordash is perfectly suited for delivery based on the number of gig drivers in the area.
When you’re talking about a more rural environment however, these may not be the best option.
Ensuring seamless coordination between providers, optimizing routes, and maintaining consistent customer experiences become critical during peak season. You may use Uber, Doordash, or Roadie for Same-Day Delivery—but you may need to orchestrate with backup DSPs as well.
2. Coordinating deliveries around closure dates or special considerations
When it comes to peak season readiness and support, Sridhar (Sri) Sasidharan, Senior Director of Customer Success at Delivery Solution explains how many special circumstances apply. Some retailers might have store closures on certain days, special store hours, and so on.
The trouble is, customers are likely to still be ordering on those days. This is where Delivery Solutions steps in to save the holidays for your store managers and DSPs. “[Retailers] can use our platform for orchestration [and] smart windows to ensure that the customer's orders are still going through,” said Megan Metzker, Senior Customer Success Manager. “Our system can automatically come in—without anyone needing to take time away from their holiday itself—hold those orders until the next day that the store is open."
The ability to adjust to these individual considerations is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty which is a game-changer since customer expectations aren’t what they once were.
Customer expectations are changing—and they’re not going back
20 years ago, it was common for an infomercial or other mail-order purchase to come with a notice: “Please allow 6 weeks for shipping and handling”.
Then Amazon Prime came on the scene and promised free two day shipping no matter what.
There’s really no going back from there and the data shows it. In 2024, customers are less understanding than ever in having delivery delays. 54% of customers will only tolerate 1-2 day delivery delays, nearly double from the year prior. Moreover, pricing and personalization are becoming even more important to customers.
The only way for retailers to keep up offering delivery solutions that are unique as the customers you serve.
Sri explained that collaborating with Delivery Solutions’ means that retailers can orchestrate a complex web of various DSPswithout having to deal with them individually.
But it’s more than just the benefits to the retailer. Their end customers’ experience matters just as much. “Customers who report a personalized shopping experience are 60-70% more likely to return,” reports Parcel Monitor.
This is where Delivery Solutions shines, as Megan explained.
“With Delivery Solutions, customers can provide their end customer a fully branded experience from the time they're on the website placing the order until the order gets to their house.”
Moreover, being able to use real-time tracking data enables proactive decision-making and swift resolution of issues. This means that even during peak seasons, you can ensure timely deliveries and maintain high customer satisfaction levels.
Since customers are less tolerant of delivery delays and more demanding of personalized services, being prepared for peak season isn't an option—it's a necessity. If you want to gain or maintain a competitive edge in retail, you can’t simply meetcustomer expectations. You’ve got to exceed them.
Your business is unique. Your approach to Peak Season should be too.
In order to exceed customer expectations, you need to understand how peak season affects your vertical.
“A grocer might not need to pay more attention on Black Friday,” Megan observed “But on Thanksgiving and the week following up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the holidays in December [they certainly will]”. No matter what holiday drives your peak season, it’s important that you can rely on your delivery partners to support high volumes and special circumstances.
This is what Megan and the customer success team at Delivery Solutions are all about: “What’s important to me is representing the voice of the customer, conveying their ideas to various departments, and ensuring our strategy aligns with our customers.”
By leveraging Delivery Solution’s capabilities, businesses can navigate the surge in order volumes, seamlessly orchestrate orders among multiple delivery service providers, and enhance customer experiences. The result is improved brand loyalty and increased operational efficiency.
With the right strategies and tools, peak season challenges can be transformed into opportunities for growth and success.
“We deal with a wide range of customers across different industry verticals within retail,” Sri noted, “Every few months there’s some new growth and evolution. In my opinion, addressing variations in customer use cases and our ever-evolving product lines is the most interesting part of my job.”
Peak-proof your business today with Delivery Solutions and take your operations to new heights during every holiday season.
Ryan Caldarone is responsible for Delivery Solutions' digital marketing and content strategy. He has over a decade of experience in B2B marketing, copywriting, and eCommerce operations. Before his work with technology companies, Ryan has experience in the energy sector with established international distributors, as well as SMBs He promotes value-focused storytelling to empower our enterprise customers and benefit retail consumers at large.