Almost one year ago to the day, Australia Post was bracing itself for its busiest day of parcel deliveries in its 210-year history as Black Friday and Cyber Monday created a shopping boom. Australia Post weathered the storm admirably and consumers received their parcels as expected.

However, in recent months Australia Post has struggled to deliver with the same consistency and steadiness as disruption at the ports, Covid-19 and strike action from staff at delivery partner StarTrack created unmanageable backlogs, resulting in pauses to parcel delivery.

Just this week it was reported that FedEx’s Melbourne staff are threatening strike action which could have huge ramifications for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping.

While Australia Post has announced extended hours to address the large volume of parcels, the cut-off date for domestic Christmas delivery of 13December still leaves a tight window for shoppers to get their gifts delivered in time for Christmas.

One knock-on effect from the disruption is the huge demand for couriers who are making up for lost time. It is creating a void which is impacting many retailers who can’t rely on their usual couriers to deliver goods to customers on time.

On-demand delivery and convenience apps are one solution which Australia Post and the bigger delivery entities could look at to ease pressure on their supply chains.

On-demand shopping app, Gimme is currently being used to help ensure businesses fulfil their orders. Originally created to service consumers, it is now being increasingly utilised by small businesses in Melbourne and Sydney to complete orders.

Gimme co-founder Matt Bartalotta said, “In recent weeks we have seen a huge uptick in small businesses using Gimme to organise deliveries to customers.

“As an industry, we have developed the infrastructure and the driver numbers to fill a void in the last-mile delivery space and ensure consumers receive the goods they are expecting. Originally Gimme was a consumer app, but this has changed over time and businesses are using our platform to organise deliveries to their customers.

“Larger entities such as Australia Post or StarTrack could and likely should be leaning on companies like Gimme to reduce the strain on their systems and ensure timely delivery of goods, especially at this time of year.”

One businessperson who has seen the demand for couriers increase in recent times is Fantastic Framing founder and CEO, Avi Efrat, a nationally recognised art framer who works with celebrated artists around the country to bring original pieces into people’s home.

Efrat explains, “I have had issues with deliveries due to the same supply chain issues impacting many SMEs. The Christmas shopping period will heap pressure on an already struggling delivery system across the country.

“I would encourage other retailers to be agile and seek alternative solutions like delivery apps to remedy the situation and make sure their December orders are fulfilled.

“After recent disruption to my business, this is something that I would consider adding to my delivery framework.”

There are several on-demand delivery apps and alternate courier services in the market at present which could provide a timely solution to supply chain stresses including Gimme, GoFetch and FlashMarket.