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And in the blink of an eye, another Peak has come and gone!

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on what turned out to be our biggest Peak season yet, for both us and our clients.

We’re fully aware that the Peak season is the most important time of year for the majority of our clients. Performance during Peak often sets the tone for the next year of trading. By offering great value and great service during Black Friday and Cyber Week, eCommerce brands can often secure customers for life.

That’s why our Peak planning starts months in advance. Here’s a little insight into how we planned for Peak this year.

Watch: Inside James and James’ Record Breaking Peak!

The road to Peak 2023

Our Peak planning began in earnest in June 2023. A huge number of our team get involved with Peak preparations every year, from our CEO and COO to the pickers and packers inside the fulfilment centre.

We run sessions where everyone can get involved, where we’ll discuss what’s working well, what could be improved, and any lessons learned from previous Peak seasons.

In November 2023 we hit our record month in terms of orders, tripling demand vs a year ago. James and James didn’t miss a beat.

– Nicholas Taylor, Founder, 47 Skin

From these sessions we put together an action plan, which in this case involved our Tech Team updating our Warehouse Management System’s (WMS) user interface in time for Peak to make the picking and packing process even more efficient.

But it’s not just the Operations Team that starts thinking about Peak well in advance. Our Client Services Team works with our clients months ahead to ensure they’re ready too. This prep involves collecting forecasts, putting plans in place to ensure their goods arrive to the fulfilment centres on time, and generally making sure that their account is in a position to make the most out of Peak.

A similar process occurs throughout our international network of fulfilment centres. We work hard to ensure that whether our clients are keeping stock in the United Kingdom, United States, Europe, or Australia, they all have the same standard of service while delighting their customers and making the most of the Peak trading period.

Our experience with James & James has been a game-changer for our beauty brand. During the Black Friday peak, they surpassed our expectations. Their precision in order processing, efficient inventory management, and stellar customer service have significantly enhanced our operations. We highly recommend James and James to any brand seeking seamless and reliable fulfilment solutions.

Olivia Romanowska, THE BEAUTY CROP

Finally, we wouldn’t want to close off this segment without mentioning a key new arrival that made a huge difference to our throughput capacity during Peak: our Automated Parcel Sorter (APS)!

Our APS is just the first phase of our multi-year automation roadmap. We’re investing millions in automation capabilities over the next five years, so watch this space for exciting updates!

Now that we’ve given you an inside into the run-up to Peak, the most important question remains.

How did it actually go? Well…

We broke records… again!

We had a feeling that Peak 2023 was going to be big, but the volume was higher than even our most optimistic forecasts!

Thankfully, we’ve enough Peaks under our belt to know to always expect the unexpected, so we had contingency plans in place to ensure our SLAs could still be met.

Orders started to ramp up on 20 November, following last year’s trend of Black Friday sales starting early. They continued to ramp up as the week went on, through Black Friday and over the weekend, with demand hitting its peak on Cyber Monday.

So which records did we break, exactly? Well, take a look at the numbers below and see for yourself! Remember, 2022 was also a record breaking year for us!

+34% YoY tems Picked, Packed and Shipped 2023

+33% YoY Orders Picked, Packed and Shipped 2023

+60% YoY Total Cost of Goods Sold 2023

The numbers

Items picked, packed and shipped: 

2022: 1,508,135

2023: 2,018,435

Orders picked, packed, and shipped:

2022: 349,959

2023: 466,011

Total Cost of Goods Sold:

2022: £24,833,936

2023: £39,788,237

As you might expect, we measure loads of KPIs across our fulfilment centres. Amazingly, practically every KPI was record breaking across Peak. The standouts were:

  • Record number of units picked in an hour
  • Record number of orders packed in an hour
  • Record number of orders shipped in day
  • Record number of orders shipped in a week

None of this could have been done without our fantastic people. Speaking of which…

It’s our people that make the magic happen

None of this could have been achieved without the passion, hard work and dedication of our people. Every department across each of our locations pours their energy into making sure our clients have the best Peak possible.

Our culture is the heart of James and James, and we attribute their amazing efforts to both our company and our clients.

One of the best business decisions I made three years ago was switching to James and James Fulfilment.

Hanna Sillitoe, Founder, Hanna Sillitoe Skincare 

In typical James and James style, our People Team went the extra mile to ensure that our teams were in high spirits across the Peak period. From handing out goody bags and sugary treats, to hiring a DJ and providing free massages through Healthshield, we made it a priority to ensure our people were well taken care of as they picked and packed a record number of orders!

Write the next chapter with us!

If Peak 2023 is anything to go by, the future is bright. We’re just talking about our own future either; so many of our clients broke records too, and the eCommerce industry as a whole is going from strength to strength.

Peak doesn’t need to be chaotic, and it doesn’t need to consume your life while you try to get to the other side without issues. Whether you’ve had a stressful Peak and want to see how things could be better, or you’re simply interested in learning more about our industry-leading fulfilment solutions, we’d love to talk to you about your current fulfilment set up.

To get started, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on +44 1604 968 820, or book a call with us through our online form.

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