Australia Post has already admitted it’s struggling under the increased volume of mail – mostly parcels – making its way from A to B across the country.
These unprecedented times are resulting in unprecedented retail spends.
Coronavirus-induced lockdown laws mean shoppers are doing the majority of their spending online, which is resulting in an 80 per cent increase in parcel deliveries, compared to this time last year.
The national postie service is putting its letter delivery on the back burner, focusing on parcels instead, pulling some 2000 bike-riding employees off two wheels and into vans to cope with demand.
It has also dropped its next-day guarantee for express post parcels.
Now, we’re two weeks out from Mother’s Day: In a “normal” time, a relatively small spending event compared to Christmas or Black Friday yet big enough to force retail experts to caution shoppers to buy now, or risk disappointing mum come May 10.
Now do the pivot
Retailers are already preparing for the impending influx.
Myer has re-opened its click and collect service at 20-odd stores nationwide. (Its bricks-and-mortar stores are slated to re-open the day after Mother’s Day.)
Kmart has even tried a virtual queuing system, retail industry expert Gary Mortimer said.
Every year, Associate Professor Mortimer, of Queensland University of Technology said, there’s a cohort of shoppers that leave present-buying until the last minute.
This year, that’s going to be very hard for them to do.
“… When you think about the key products people buy, it’s going to be challenging to access them this year than ever before,” Associate Professor Mortimer told AAP.
“Fluffy slippers, bathrobes and sleepwear tend to be big sale items, but when you walk through shopping centres, key retailers that specifically target Mother’s Day, they’re closed.”
Associate Professor Mortimer suggested looking at alternatives to traditional gifts – like home-delivered gourmet picnics or cook-at-home meals.
We’ve already seen the hospitality switch up its modus operandi to adapt to changing circumstances: Many restaurants and cafes have quickly jumped on the home-delivery wagon, often banding together to cut out all-domination share economy platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
Woolworths and PetBarn have already teamed up with delivery platforms, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see more retail businesses striking similar deals to circumvent the Australia Post delivery lag.
Top picks for mum
Last year, IBISWorld estimated Australians spent an average of $78 each on their mums.
This year, Finder.com.au rates the new Kindle Paperwhite, a L’Occitane pamper skin duo, and Ugg’s next-gen scuffette slippers as the No.1 gifts for mothers this year.
The site picks Myer, Gourmet Basket and The Iconic as the best places to buy goods from to spoil mum.
Of course, a good book is always a solid fallback.
Hot titles at the moment include:
Beyond the Sea, Paul Lynch (Bloomsbury): “Beyond the Sea tells the tale of two South American fishermen, Bolivar and Hector, who go to sea before a sudden storm. Cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean, the two men must come to terms with their environment, and each other, if they are to survive.”
Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin): “Grace is a Victorian orphan dreaming of the mysterious African father she will never meet. Winsome is a young Windrush bride, recently arrived from Barbados. Amma is the fierce queen of her 1980s squatters’ palace. Morgan, who used to be Megan, is blowing up on social media, the newest activist-influencer on the block. Twelve very different people, mostly black and female, more than a hundred years of change, and one sweeping, vibrant, glorious portrait of contemporary Britain.”
The Loudness of Things Unsaid, Hilde Hinton (Hachette): “If you loved Boy Swallows Universe and Lost and Found, you will love this debut novel. A stunning story about family, loneliness and isolation that will make you laugh, cry and be a bit kinder to those who are lost.”
If you need more inspiration, check out what some of Australia’s favourite authors are reading here.
There’s also the classic breakfast-in-bed start to the day, which can be complemented with a hand-drawn card and maybe a wobbly attempt at a knitted beanie.
Don’t underestimate the power of a home-made gift, straight from the heart, especially in these times.
Just make sure you keep up to date with social distancing regulations – it might be better, if you don’t live with mum, to FaceTime for now and save the face-to-face time for down the track.