The BCMPA, the Association for Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment & Logistics, says lockdown 2.0 has further intensified the inexorable move towards online sales and deliveries made direct to consumer (DTC).
With these latest restrictions on traditional retail shopping activities combining with the seasonal demand peaks of Black Friday and Christmas, the Association reports its members are experiencing significant growth in their packing, warehousing and logistics services.
The increase in online shopping was already on a fast-rising trajectory, but the coronavirus crisis has hugely impacted on this trend. Nearly three quarters of UK consumers announced, even before the second lockdown, that they would be avoiding shopping in store this Christmas and a report by Barclays is predicting the busiest ever online retail season with sales already running 50 per cent higher than this time last year. For brand owners, the challenge has been to adapt to meet this increased demand and importantly, mitigate any damage to their reputation through an inability to cope.
To avoid the risk of being unable to service these heightened demands particularly over the festive period, many companies are employing third party contract packers and fulfilment houses in order to ensure they have the necessary skills and resources. The outsourcing of these elements helps to spread the load and provide sufficient infrastructure, staff and space to make deliveries possible.
Rodney Steel, CEO of the BCMPA, said: “The pandemic has certainly sped up the change in consumer buying habits, driving demand away from the high street to online stores; at the same time, many brands have seen an opportunity to connect directly with customers, rather than relying on resellers. This change, however, often requires significant investment and infrastructure, which is where our members can help.
“Whether it be creating the Christmas and limited-edition gift packs that form part of our festive celebrations or the picking, packing and dispatching of consumer goods from warehouse direct to homes, BCMPA members are able to provide a complete end-to-end service.”
As well as the impact of the lockdown on shopping habits in general, the Association attributes the growth in online sales to several other factors, including the opportunity for smaller brands and marketeers to now sell directly to their consumers via e-commerce stores.
“Major brands usually have the firepower and finance to switch to new ways of selling, but for many smaller brands it can be unknown territory,” continued Steel. “This is where outsourcing makes total sense, enabling businesses to tap into the expertise of our members across the supply chain to deliver their products to customers and at the same time ensuring they derive the full brand experience.”
Steel concluded: “The agility and responsiveness of our members makes them the perfect partners in this important part of the supply chain, and their efforts will provide the much needed help Santa will need to deliver Christmas on time.”