Did you know it’s only 100 days until Christmas?
Now, before you roll your eyes at me saying the countdown has started, I wholeheartedly agree it’s far too early to put on ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and deck the halls. But when it comes to retail, preparations for a seasonal surge in goodwill and joy to all in the months to come are already in full swing.
Of course, when people talk about Christmas shopping, mentions of Black Friday deals are inevitably not far behind. But, for two reasons, are we going to experience a different kind of Black Friday this year?
Firstly, it’s no secret that the UK is facing a severe shortage of HGV drivers. News stories in recent weeks have been full of delays and reports of empty shelves in supermarkets. These inconveniences are being further exacerbated by logistical issues at almost every step of the supply chain as import delays caused by the pandemic and Brexit confusion continue to have an influence.
As a result, some commentators are already predicting this could mean large numbers of retailers decide to opt out of Black Friday this year altogether. With customers quick to take to social media to complain about an unsatisfactory experience, who can blame retailers for being wary of having their reputation knocked due to an inability to fulfil demand.
Secondly, the carbon footprint of Black Friday is increasingly of concern. Last year, Money’s Dirty Delivery Report predicted Black Friday deliveries would release at least 429,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in the UK alone. Globally, the damage must have been far greater as the shopping event gains increasing popularity across the world.
Even if many retailers do decide to forgo discounting in 2021 and we likely continue to have an HGV driver shortage, the carbon footprint will still be significant. With our growing eagerness for parcel deliveries having accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must question how sustainable current methods of fulfilling orders are in the long run.
Realistically, road transport will no doubt be the primary means of distribution for the immediate future. However, putting more goods onto the roads to cope with peaks in online sales and demand is simply not viable in the long term. Alternatives do exist. By incorporating allowance for the continuous adaptation of new infrastructure for logistics technologies powered by alternative zero-emission energy sources, the UK can create a parcel delivery network that is not just as speedy and cheaper, but safer, more reliable, and cleaner for our environment as well.
Not only can we significantly reduce the carbon footprint of Black Friday, but more environmentally friendly systems can certainly take the strain when retailers are faced with the task of rapidly scaling up operations.
As we at Magway say in the run-up to the festive season; we don’t just want to be dreaming of a ‘White Christmas’, but a ‘Green Christmas’ too.