This Christmas, Santa Claus and the tech-helping shops will deliver.

Jonty bloom
Reporter for business

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption

Santa Claus will be doing his best to put on a brave front on Christmas Eve

Keep in mind how busy Santa Claus will get on Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day.

Each Christmas, he has to solve a logistical puzzle: how do you deliver the gifts to the millions of children who are celebrating Christmas around the globe?

One study of the past few years shows how hectic his night can be. The University of Leicester estimates that 715,000,000 Christian boys and Christian girls live in the world.

The average number of children they assumed per household was three, meaning that Father Christmas must deliver to 238,000,000 homes. Rudolf, the reindeer, and other reindeers must pull Santa’s sleigh at twice the speed of light. It’s 336 trillion mph (354 billion km/h).

Father Christmas will no doubt be preparing for Christmas and getting ready to go, but Christmas can also be the busiest season of the year. None of us can depend on magically delivered presents from our chimneys, unfortunately.

Online orders account for over a third all Christmas season sales. Retailers need to be focused on how they deliver their products.

Amazon is the dominant player in the sector, with 4.2 million parcels delivered in the US in the last year alone.

It was almost twice its 2019 1.9 billion value, as the coronavirus drove a massive surge in online purchases. Amazon shipped one of five US parcels last year.

Similar results can be seen in the UK where Amazon sales doubled between 2020 and 2021.

Amazon is so convenient that we expect next-day delivery and the ability to track our orders.

Other retailers small and large face the same problem: How do they optimize their delivery systems and make them more user-friendly?

There are two options. One is becoming a third-party Amazon seller. However, this can come with some fees. Some items could cost up to 45%.

Alternativly, sellers can remain independent from Amazon and use the services of several tech companies who will help them get their products to customers.

Diamond Logistics in the UK, founded by Kate Lester is one example of such a business.

The Despatch Lab platform allows retailers to manage, book, track and monitor deliveries via their own van fleet. However, they can also use the Royal Mail as well delivery companies such DPD and Hermes. Diamond Logistics warehouses can be used by retailers to store products, which are sent directly from Diamond Logistics.

Ms. Lester claims that the business’ revenues increased 50% in this year due to more online shops.

She says, “We have thirty local fulfilment centres.” We can pick up the item, store it and pack it before we despatch it.

The choice is clear for retailers: you can either place your products on Amazon or compare the costs. Amazon does this because it is the best way to go. Or you could keep control and have your logistics outsourced. [like us].”

Retailers have the option of owning their own delivery van fleet. HyperTrack in the USA offers an app as well as a GPS-based tracking device that allows firms to monitor their delivery drivers and plan routes.

Francois Martel (Vice President of Sales), says that the system allows wholesalers and retailers to deliver more accurately.

Imagine you are a retail customer ordering products from wholesalers. Wholesalers don’t have the same technology as Amazon, but they still want an 8-4 delivery window.

“The windows may be too large for the moment and make it laughable. We can use our experience to give you tighter windows.

Gelato is a Norwegian firm that aims to reduce the delivery time by helping firms to take care of the logistics.

This series explores the impact of technological innovation on the emerging economy.

This software allows sellers of physical goods such as books, clothing and posters to make connections with other manufacturers worldwide.

If a British manufacturer of patterned T-shirts receives an order from Australia and does not want to ship the product from Britain, the Australian company can print the clothing and deliver it.

Henrik Müller-Hansen, the founder and chief executive of Gelato, says that there are not just huge environmental benefits. According to Henrik Muller-Hansen, local production can reduce distances and allow for supply and demand to be met.

You don’t have to guess anymore. You don’t have to guess anymore. With on-demand local production you can produce as soon as you get the order.

Mr Müller-Hansen expects his business to grow alongside developments in 3D printing, which will enable more products to be easily manufactured remotely.

The most important development in delivery technology, especially for Santa Claus, is the cargo-carrying drones. They could carry tens of millions and really make Christmas Eve easier.

Despite the fact that technology exists, regulatory approval is required by government agencies to allow national commercial use.

There are a variety of pilot programs around the globe. Amazon, of course, has Prime Air as its project. However many smaller companies have developed their drones.

Flytrex from Israel is one such company. It has already enabled restaurants in Holy Springs, North Carolina to have their food delivered via drones. The US Federal Aviation Administration approved the trial.

Drones in the future may allow you to order your Christmas presents as early as 24 December and receive them that day.

Kate Lester advises that you order gifts early to avoid disappointment. It will not be a good idea to wait until December 21st to place your order. This December will be chaotic, I believe. [busy].”

Except, of course, you don’t leave it up to Father Christmas.

Will Smale is the editor of New Tech Economy.


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