Peak 2020 – the lessons learned

Peak 2020 was unlike any other. It was a steep learning curve for all, but it gave valuable lessons for the future of online retail.

Ecommerce took centre-stage in 2020, as shopping safely became a priority. The circumstances were exceptional, and the way people shop has changed. We honed our skills in dealing with disruption and strengthened our partnerships with our customers as a result.

We can look back on a peak season that was record-breaking for us and for our customers, but it didn’t just ‘happen’. It was a positive outcome that was months, if not years in the making. Ultimately, it boiled down to trust, teamwork and tenacity.

Some of our customers experienced online order increases in excess of 200%, and the majority of order increases across all of our customers were well above 100%. In real terms, this meant processing more than double our usual number of orders in the run up to Christmas.

Thanks to hard work planning and resourcing in a challenging market, we were able to deliver the people, time and expertise that would give our customers the confidence to optimise sales during the most important period of the year. We also invested in new state-of-the art facilities to ensure that they would have the room to grow long into the future.

For many of our customers, 2020 meant fast-tracking innovation and introducing new routes to market that would overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic. Giving them the confidence to make those changes meant helping them to overcome operational hurdles, whilst maintaining a positive brand and customer experience.

With more clarity over Brexit, a project that has preoccupied us all in the background, and the hope offered by new vaccines, we are looking at a more stable 2021.

What we learned from 2020 is that, by working together, we can confidently take the brave decisions that will help shape our futures as the retail landscape continues to change.

The high street still has an important but shifting role to play. One where customers are increasingly looking for a quality experience that’s blended across channels. It will also help to build loyalty, inspire innovation and, where possible, be underpinned by more sustainable and ethical choices.