Don't underestimate the disruption of the Olympics
By Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD
14 Aug 2012: From dealing with a lot of retailers on a day to day basis, it’s clear to me that many are simply not taking the challenge as seriously as they need to. OK, it’s not strictly speaking database marketing, but it will impact on your ability to carry out database marketing now and in the future.
In our own plans as a delivery business we are estimating the maximum period for potential disruption to deliveries to certain postcodes to be up to 50 days between mid July and mid September. Yes, you read that correctly – 50 days.
Sites like Westfield shopping centre are already “locked down” and the organisers are starting to change road layouts to prepare the Olympic Route Network which will have a significant impact in the coming weeks.
The time is now for all retailers to talk to their delivery companies about arranging additional collections or bringing forward their main collection by an hour as well as talking to customers about potential delays between the peak period of mid July and mid September.
Too many businesses are still playing down the possible disruption both in terms of the seriousness and the period of time. Companies with Head Offices in London are generally being more realistic, to be fair, but outside London awareness of the potential impact is much lower.
We have been simulating our revised route network and delivery schedules in recent weeks to understand the exact impact on deliveries and collections. We are very confident in the plans we have drawn up. However, one of the main challenges is likely to be getting the goods from companies at the end of the day to the main London parcel hubs early enough each night to guarantee they can be processed and ready for next day delivery. We are urging online retailers to consider earlier collections and are working with them to build effective plans.
There is huge potential for delays and inconvenience for customers so it is important that online retailers communicate clearly with customers about arrangements during the Olympic period, especially if they are going to introduce earlier cut-off times for next day delivery or if they are located in the areas likely to be most affected by disruption.
With three million additional journeys anticipated on peak days and the Olympic Route Network affecting 109 miles of road, the impact during peak times will be extremely severe. You have been warned.
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