Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and the host of other seasonal holidays and perennial occasions show how consumers are prepared to cast aside worries over the economy, Brexit and rising prices to spend, spend, spend, with a significant amount of it via online shopping, says System Group.
And the transport and logistics sector continues to gear up to meet the challenge and ensure the wheels of the retail industry don’t fall off in the drive to deliver to consumers’ front doors.
Indeed, consumers spent an estimated £1.1bn on gifts and cards for loved ones in the UK alone on Valentine’s Day, much of which was probably purchased online. This year’s peak was fully expected to hit all records for the first quarter of express deliveries - 25% in terms of extra loads.
Over the last festive period, online trade was the main driver of retail growth (up by 11% on the previous year), with an estimated 40% of Boxing Day e-retail sales made through mobile transactions in the growing shift from lap-top to smartphones.
The 14 February and other dates are the ones to watch, says the Director of Business Development at System Group, in terms of both the impact on the online shopping phenomenon and the wider economy, and by extension, the transport and logistics sector, where companies are striving to deliver billions of orders to millions of households.
They said delivering a hundred billion-pound holiday and special occasions’ bonanza has consequences for final mile delivery: “e-logistics operations rely on the final leg of the last miles for success and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.
“This relies on the whole process from order processing through package picking in the warehouse or at the fulfilment house to producing shipping labels and fast and effective final delivery being right first time, every time, to achieve the eternal balance between cost and speed.”
In turn, this is transforming the role and occupation of those involved in driving to deliver -and training companies such as System Group, which is a leading national provider of Express Delivery Trailblazer apprenticeships, are in the vanguard of bringing the skills and talent to the fore, which are required for the new frontiers.
These apprenticeships are designed to meet the needs of industry and commerce and will equip a new generation of highly motivated people with the skills, professionalism and confidence to meet employers’ needs; introducing them to the heady world of final mile delivery and routing them firmly on the road to a rewarding career and a professionally recognised industry qualification.
They quoted: “The phenomenal growth in online shopping, the increasing demand for next day, or even same day, home deliveries, and the focus on efficient, safe, and responsive customer service has meant that those coming into the industry need to be highly trained and highly engaged.
“The training and learning we offer covers the knowledge, understanding, skills and behaviours that will guide future generations into the industry and support them through the challenges and adventures that express delivery offers.”
It’s clear that the phenomenon of online shopping will only continue to grow in the foreseeable future, and it’s critical that the transport and logistics sector is ready, willing and able to respond with a highly skilled, adept and professional workforce. It’s also clear that the training sector is responding, with apprenticeships that will drive success and go the extra mile.