Buses brought in to manage surge in online shopping

An online shopping delivery service has had to bring in buses to deal with the “large increase” in people buying on the web.

Picture: Robbie Reynolds

Parcel Motel, which is a locker-based service, allows consumers to use a virtual address for items they buy online and then collect their goods from stationary units across the country.

However, the company has brought in buses which it has repurposed to deal with the extraordinary demand this Christmas.

“We have installed extra units in our busiest areas and opened a pop-up collection depot in south Dublin.

“We have also arranged for timed bus deliveries to some of our busiest Parcel Motel locations — where lockers may not have space available as customers have not yet had the opportunity to collect their packages,” said a spokeswoman for Parcel Motel.

According to Retail Excellence, there was a huge surge in online sales towards the end of November.

The retail group estimates there was between a 20% and 60% increase in online sales during Black Friday (November 24) and Cyber Monday (November 27).

“Our internal report confirms that the big winners were pharmacies, cosmetics, electronics, technology, and fashion, with many reporting sales increases year on year of between 20%-60%,” said deputy CEO of Retail Excellence, Lorraine Higgins.

“Our members have informed us that their expectations were exceeded, with numerous retailers reporting it was their busiest trading period in their history.

“This year there was big value on offer for consumers with many holding out for the biggest deals released on Black Friday.”

Other figures from the retail group show the percentage demand increase that delivery companies are dealing with.

“Logistic companies reported an increase of up to 40% in deliveries, with many orders being fulfilled by retailers operating outside of Ireland and predominately in the UK,” said Ms Higgins. “This remains a massive challenge for the Irish retail industry with Brexit and sterling devaluation exacerbating matters.”

While people may be buying from retailers in other countries, Parcel Motel, operated by Nightline, is an Irish-owned company.

Ms Higgins said, “cutting-edge digital marketing” played a big role in retailers’ success during the cyber sales period.

Anecdotal evidence from people collecting goods from the Parcel Motel buses would suggest that Amazon, is the main online shopping destination for Irish consumers.

Parcel Motel warned shoppers that presents bought online from retailers outside of Ireland since Saturday may not arrive in time for Christmas.

“In order to ensure all your parcels are delivered in time for Christmas, we also recommend not to depend on purchases made outside Ireland after December 16,” said the spokeswoman.

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