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Peak packaging Monday – what is it, and does it affect your business?

Jay Daggar: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Efficiency & Productivity | Guides and Advice xx 31631

Increased packaging demand

Make sure you prepare your business' packaging in time for the peak season

It’s never too soon to prepare for the busiest time of the year. With Christmas approaching, the last quarter of the year is usually the busiest time for most manufacturers, distributors and retailers.

Increased purchases of gifts and produce through eCommerce retailers means that preparation for this time of year is essential. Key dates, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, can see sales volumes soar.

With this in mind, a more unorthodox day is fast approaching. Peak Packaging Monday.

Peak packaging Monday is when packaging suppliers typically see the highest demand from customers. Falling the week before Black Friday / Cyber Monday, the peak is caused by businesses ensuring they have sufficient packaging stock for the busy Christmas sales period.

However, planning for peak season well in advance can allow businesses to mitigate any potential challenges caused by increased demand in the fourth quarter and ensure success during the most crucial trading period.



What is Peak Packaging Monday?

Peak Packaging Monday is the day that packaging suppliers see the highest volume of orders. This day usually falls on the Monday one week before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Peak Packaging Monday is largely unknown outside the packaging industry.

This peak results from last-minute preparations by businesses for the rise in orders caused by these seasonal promotions and the festive trading period beyond.

Business people checking graphs when assessing peak season demand
Peak packaging Monday is the day that packaging suppliers typically see the highest volumes of sales

However, with the shift to eCommerce, online retailers need to optimise their packaging procedures to achieve efficiencies, cost savings and ensure protection through delivery networks. This process can begin as early as May, so Peak Packaging Monday is often about making last-minute adjustments to stock levels, promotional materials and revised forecasts.

Why is Peak Packaging Monday important?

The shift in consumer behaviour to eCommerce (at the expense of bricks and mortar retailers) continues apace. In fact, online orders now account for as much as 27% of all retail sales.

Even Cyber Monday – historically the busiest online shopping day in the UK and US – has been eclipsed by Black Friday (which started as an in-store event) and even Amazon Prime Day in terms of discounting, sales activity and promotions.

This increased activity has knock-on effects for businesses’ packaging requirements, fulfilment processes and logistics.

Consequences of being unprepared

Why preparing in advance of Peak Packaging Monday is essential

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – a saying you can readily apply to any business that relies on the “golden quarter” trading period for a large percentage of their annual sales.

But how can packaging affect your success? Well, if you do not take steps to prepare for peak season demand, you could encounter several consequences.

Inability to fulfil orders

Put simply, you cannot fulfil all these sales if you do not have enough packaging to send out the increased volume of orders you are likely to receive.

At best, customers have to wait for the goods (potentially losing any prospect of repeat business). At worst, it leads to cancelled orders.

But packaging can play a much more significant role in your success.

If your packaging is slow and difficult to pack, that can also delay shipping orders. It can also lead to increased staff costs and inability to cope should sales dramatically exceed expectations. Lack of staff training can also result in the use of incorrect packaging.

Reduce packing times
Reducing packing times - which includes any box assembly - can have a significant impact on your costs.

Increased returns

Using the wrong packaging can also seriously impact its primary role – protecting goods in transit.

By not focusing on your packaging in advance of the busy festive period, the likelihood of unsuitable packaging that results in damage to goods in transit increases.

Increases in transit damage result in increased returns (and the additional strain this places on your business), disgruntled customers, and significant additional costs – not least unsellable goods.

Excessive costs

Using the wrong packaging can also lead to high costs.

For example, corrugated packaging that is too large costs more to ship, protects less well (leading to more returns), uses more material, and generally costs more. Oversized boxes also require greater amounts of void fill (another cost).

These factors pose environmental issues, too – an increasing turn-off for consumers.

So, whilst the increased sales during the peak season are critical to any business, ensuring that your packaging does not erode margins and profitability is essential.

Planning for a successful peak

A summary of preparing for increased sales activity

Whilst this detailed guide covers 11 critical points to consider when planning for peak demand, there are a few crucial areas that it is important to highlight to any business where this may be relevant.

Packaging stocks

The obvious consideration for a successful peak season is ensuring adequate packaging stocks.

Sourcing your packaging early can ensure a well-stocked packaging inventory with suitable products that allow for efficient fulfilment.

Packaging inventory management
By outsourcing your packaging inventory management, you can reduce the warehouse space required at your business and the associated costs.

Suppose you plan well enough in advance. In that case, you may even be able to have your packaging supplier manage your inventory for you (and supply packaging on a just-in-time basis).

It may be too late to wait until Peak Packaging Monday to source your boxes, tapes and other packaging. You may not be able to source adequate stock, pay extra (due to supply and demand), or compromise by using packaging that is still available rather than the packaging that would have been most suitable.

Staff and packaging processes

It is all very well having the perfect packaging if it is poorly assembled, is difficult to use, or slows down fulfilment processes as staff are not well trained.

Creating guides or manuals alongside thorough training can help staff select the right boxes, pack them correctly, and ensure optimum product presentation when orders reach your customers.

A well-trained workforce is particularly important with the likelihood of employing temporary or seasonal staff during peak season.

Customer focus

If you can source your packaging before peak packaging Monday, it can allow you to place a much greater emphasis on customer experience.

Benefits could be as simple as allowing the time to add logos and branding on your boxes or printing special edition packs for the festive period (or other planned promotions).

Scrabbling for packaging supplies immediately before they are required can often mean cutting corners, compromises made, and a lack of focus on how your packaging can be a vital tool in driving customer loyalty and repeat business.

A customer unboxing an eCommerce order
Your customers unboxing experience should not be neglected, even during packaging peak demand


Be prepared for Peak Packaging Monday

Whilst it is critical to have sufficient packaging stocks in place well before peak packaging Monday, you should consider the broader role that your packaging can have in your business success.

Not sure that you have enough packaging to cope with the seasonal demand? Or think that your packaging could be improved? If so, please get in touch with a GWP team member who will be happy to help.

Further reading

About the Author

Jay Daggar, GWP Packaging Sales Manager

Jay Daggar

Sales Manager | GWP Packaging

Jay joined GWP Packaging in mid-2008 before becoming Sales Manager in 2011, meaning he has worked for GWP for over 10 years. [Read full bio…]

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