If you were fortunate enough to be able to venture out the day after Christmas, you may have noticed something very different this year. The lines at the return counters and customer service were much smaller, in some cases virtually non-existent. And the typical after Christmas sale seekers were more likely to be found at home in front of screens than in stores. Why? Because COVID changed shopping and shipping forever.
As any FedEx worker who has worked the peak season before can testify, online shopping is far from a new phenomenon. But this peak season set precedents that have never been seen before, package volumes that still continue to flow through the system. What does this mean to shippers and FedEx Ground route owners and drivers in the future?
Far from a trend that will fade, primarily shopping online is here to stay. Here is why it matters.
Shopping and Shipping Changes mean Package Volumes will Steadily Rise
It is important for contractors and others to realize that a return to normal shipping volumes, at least those pre-pandemic levels, may not ever happen. Many shoppers new to the online shopping game have discovered the convenience and will likely stick with the habit of ordering online when possible.
This means package volumes may dip in January, but likely not as low as in previous years, and throughout the year, package volumes are expected to steadily rise. This is good news for both pickups and residential and business delivery volumes. While Amazon may have pioneered the one-click ordering and fast delivery times, they have new competition both large and small, including the new Walmart + memberships and others.
As eCommerce becomes the norm, more and more companies will be sending packages direct to customers and to other shipping centers, and they will need the reliability and convenience of a global leader like FedEx.
The Types of Packages Shipped Has Changed
Far from just luxuries and impulse buy items, now the packages shipped have changed to essentials like paper goods, groceries, pet food, and other necessary household items. A single example is pet food delivery, like giant Chuck and Don’s, My Pet Carnivore, and The Farmer’s Dog.
Customers have come to rely on delivery, and many receive packages as regularly as some business customers. For FedEx Ground drivers, this means a new wave of profitable residential deliveries, ones that allow routes to grow, split into multiple routes, and increase profits significantly.
Speed Matters to Shopping and Shipping More than Ever
FedEx has long worked to optimize Ground routes for the fastest delivery possible. The use of new technology to make trucking lanes and Ground routes as efficient as possible are the keys to this efficiency. And this speed matters more now than ever before.
The reason is simple. The status quo has been challenged by things like Amazon’s logistics network and other initiatives to optimize “the last mile” of delivery. Customers have come to expect speed and efficiency, and so companies and brands are also very conscious of timeframes and delivery speed.
The good news for FedEx contractors is the support FedEx has put into optimizing these routes, working with FedEx Express division to deliver some Express packages, and providing better technology going forward. The ability to better serve both shippers and the customers who receive them equals even more growth and greater profits.
Peak Season Will Still be Peak Season
Finally, it is important to realize for all the changes in shopping and shipping, some things will remain the same. Peak season will still be peak season, and there will always be more shipping around the Christmas holiday. Will there be more shipping year-round? Absolutely. But peak will still be peak.
That means planning for extra help, some long days, and full trucks during November and December. The busiest and most profitable time of the year won’t be going away anytime soon.
FedEx knows what it is like to grow and adapt. That has never been truer than when it comes to the permanent changes in shipping and in shopping that have come with COVID-19 and a global pandemic. Those changes will be good for FedEx Ground route owners and drivers overall, provided they are positioned to take advantage of them.
Are you interested in owning a FedEx Ground route or perhaps even more than one? Contact us today at Route Advisors. We’re here to help you take the next steps to owning your own business, and we’d love to help you find the route or routes that are right for you.