Toronto, Peel Region companies under lockdown brace for spike in online sales, delivery delays

Click to play video: 'Canadian companies and delivery services brace for online order spike ahead of holiday season' Canadian companies and delivery services brace for online order spike ahead of holiday season
WATCH ABOVE: Many companies say they are bracing for a spike in online sales. Some say they are worried about potential shipping delays and are using a variety of strategies to ensure orders get to customers in time for the holidays. Katherine Ward reports. – Nov 22, 2020

Small business owners in Toronto and Peel Region are bracing for the second COVID-19 lockdown, set to start Monday at 12:01 a.m.

The new measures are in response to the rising number of coronavirus cases.

For many, this means no in-store shopping and focusing on online sales.

Jessica McDonald said the team at Mini Mioche is working around the clock to fill orders.

Read more: Ontario puts Toronto, Peel into lockdown; curbside retail, restaurants move to takeout only

The Canadian clothing company has hired more people for the season and is encouraging customers to shop early.

“The biggest thing is that you have to go day by day,” McDonald said. “Delays, especially with the season, are going to happen.”

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The company has had online sales for sometime. During the spring lockdown they learned more strategies to ensure their company was not hit hard by delivery delays.

Part of the key to their success has been to diversify the companies they use to ship their clothing.

“We have made the decision to work with multiple carriers,” McDonald said. “This way we can avoid delays as much as possible, and get the packages that our Mini Mioche customers are waiting for to them as quickly as possible.”

Read more: Here’s what you can and can’t do in Toronto, Peel Region during coronavirus lockdown stage

As more restrictions are imposed for in-store shopping in Toronto and Peel Region, Jon Hamilton, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said they too are bracing for a busy season.

“We expect it to be an unprecedented Christmas,” Hamilton said. “We are going to see high high levels.”

As of the end of September, Canada Post had seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of domestic packages compared to that period last year.

Hamilton said they expect that trend to continue into the holiday season.

“Over the next few weeks we will see a million parcels over the weekend, and then close to two million, if not more, on Mondays, and then 1.5 to two as we go through the week,” Hamilton explained.

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A spokesperson for Amazon said packages ordered through their platform are not currently experiencing any delays.

Read more: After spending to navigate coronavirus, Toronto-area businesses face uncertain future with lockdown

The company said they are in the process of hiring 10,000 additional employees to handle the seasonal rush. Six thousand of those jobs will be in Ontario.

Some companies have already launched their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Hamilton said if more people do their online shopping earlier, than it will spread out the holiday rush and increase the chances packages will arrive in time.

“If everybody does their shopping online this year all within next weekend, that is going to cause one big glut no matter who is delivering,” Hamilton said.

McDonald says she remains confident that their team will make the most of this unusual holiday season.

“We faced it before, and we know we can get through it,” McDonald said. “With the support of our community we are sure that we will come out the other side stronger than we were before.”

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