Are you ready to celebrate the mothers in your family this weekend?

This year America will spend $23.6 billion on Mother’s Day gifts and celebrations. That’s a great boost for the retail and food service sectors…but only if they get it right. Just like Valentine’s Day and any other holiday, there’s a lot of pressure on the supply chain to get their distribution planning right. A day too late, or in some cases a few hours too late, and restaurateurs and retailers will miss out on their share of that $23.6 billion figure. 

Putting the food on the table

Let’s start off with food service. Mother’s Day is the most popular dining-out holiday for the whole year in the US. Research suggests that a staggering 92 million Americans will eat out on Mother’s Day and we’re not just talking lunch or dinner; Mother’s Day is also the biggest day of the year for taking Mom out to brunch. Eating takeout is pretty popular too, with 21 million Americans planning to order takeout or delivery.

While restaurants will be at their busiest on the 14th May, they will also see an increase in reservations in the week leading up to Mother’s Day and the week after as families celebrate on a day when they can all conveniently gather together. Food and drinks distributors need to be ready to respond to demands for next day or even same day deliveries to ensure that the kitchen and bar stay fully stocked. A few large groups at the restaurant on Saturday might result in items not being available on the menu on Sunday. 

Being limited to day one planning for day three isn’t going to cut it. Food and drinks distribution companies need to have the distribution planning software in place to be flexible and responsive. Food service outlets need to make sure they are asking their suppliers about the flexibility of their Order Management Systems and delivery services when deciding on who is responsible for inventory during important holiday peaks.

Frictionless shopping experience

When it comes to buying presents for the 80m+ moms across the US, Americans are pretty generous with an average spend of $168.94. As you’d expect, consumer behavior follows the same trends for Mother’s Day as we’re seeing throughout the rest of the year. 30 percent of consumers will buy online compared with 27 percent last year. Nearly 20% of smartphone owners say they will do their research on their phones before they go ahead and make a purchase.

With this in mind, retailers need to provide a frictionless experience for consumers across each shopping channel. Consumers expecting both choice and convenience will happily come in to the store to check out the goods, compare competitors’ prices on their phone and then place an order in person, or online on the way home, for delivery to their office the next day. Retailers need to integrate their systems in order to provide the same information to the shopper across all channels. 

Delivering on the promise

Visibility across the retailer’s operation is important for delivering on promises made to the consumer. For example, it’s important that the ecommerce or marketing team is talking to the operations team so that they are aware of promotional offers that are designed to drive higher purchasing volumes. 

Making promises in marketing promotions that cannot be delivered upon will not only disappoint on Mother’s Day but will also lose loyal customers who had to turn up empty-handed at Mom’s door, or buy something obviously last-minute at the convenience store.

Retailers must invest in their delivery operations and distribution planning software to meet the increase in order volumes for Mother’s Day gifts, as well as Valentine’s and the holidays too.

With the ongoing driver shortage, knowing how many drivers and trucks will be available to make deliveries and maximizing their utilization for the lowest possible cost per drop is vital to ensure these peaks in consumer spending are profitable and service levels exceptional. This applies whether the retailer is shipping to stores, consumers’ homes or click & collect boxes, using their own delivery drivers, or using couriers.

Distribution planning software can help

Planning deliveries is hard enough; add seasonal merchandise to the mix, and it can be a real nightmare, especially if the retailer or food distributor is creating their transport plan manually. Using distribution planning software, transport planners can review historical information to make informed choices about order volumes, helping to have the right number of trucks and drivers available. 

Complex daily delivery routes that include constraints for delivery locations, time goods can be in transit, driver hours and more can be planned quickly. With the right system in place, route optimization plans will take minutes to prepare instead of days, while improving the overall efficiencies and lowering costs of transportation operations. 

With Paragon’s route optimization software, operations can integrate with Order Management Systems and Warehouse Management Systems to streamline the distribution planning process. The software produces accurate routes that allow for the variation in orders and delivery times, even during the very busy Mother’s Day season, when order volumes go up exponentially.

Whether you’re looking forward to celebrating with the mothers in your family or being treated yourself by your family, send a thank you to all those logistics planners who a Happy Mother’s Day truly depends on.

Our route optimization software is cutting costs and improving efficiency for transportation operators across America. If you’d like to find out how Paragon helps food and drink producersgrocery stores or retailers streamline their distribution operations why not get in touch.  One of our experienced team will be happy to help.

In the meantime, have a Happy Mother’s Day however you celebrate!

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