Christmas in July has significantly taken on a new meaning over the past few years. No longer is it the unofficial holiday that mimics most of the beliefs associated with Yuletide festivities. In many online retail circles, it's now the outset of preparing for the forthcoming holiday shopping season. Because without a timely and effective business plan, the chances of not hitting your revenue targets for the year increase.
Take, for instance, something as fundamental as inventory. Determining the specific amount of stock you need to buy and hold is often challenging, as what sold the previous year might not sell at the same levels this festive season. The same applies to allotting the right amount of resources to the proper marketing channels or pricing your promotions.
So, how can eCommerce brands effectively prepare for this year's holiday shopping season?
In this article, we'll talk about what online retailers can expect for this year's peak season as far as possible delays and consumer behaviors are concerned. We'll also discuss what eCommerce retailers are doing differently compared to years before to help you stay ahead of the trends and get into the shopping season ready to make sales.
1. Holiday Purchases Will Come Early
Despite the global pandemic, inflation concerns, supply chain challenges, and labor shortages, 2021's sales for retail (including eCommerce) during the peak season increased by over 14% from the year before, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Another interesting trend we witnessed during the past two peak shopping seasons was their early start. Most retailers were already rolling out hot Black Friday deals, many of which ran weekly throughout October and November. Moreover, Cyber Monday extended into an entire week instead of its traditional single-day slot after Thanksgiving.
Given the significant success online retailers drew by stretching Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, the trend will likely stick around this year too.
2. Shoppers Will Embrace Mobile Commerce
Each year, it seems we just can't get more devoted to our smartphones. But as apps expand their functionality and online experiences improve, we're still getting new ways of using them.
According to Insider Intelligence, mCommerce (retail mobile commerce) sales reached $359 billion in 2021. This was an increase of 15.2% over the previous year. Plus, U.S. mCommerce is projected to nearly double its share of retail sales between 2020 and 2025.
It's also worth noting that these sales, as a percentage of eCommerce sales, increased by 20.6% from 2016 to 2021. This shopping trend is sure to continue during this year's holiday shopping season.
So, what does that mean for online retailers?
You should put mobile commerce at the center stage of your holiday shopping season strategy. Everything from your product catalog to your website, customer support, and marketing should be user-friendly and accessible on mobile phones.
3. Shoppers Want Free Things
Let's face it, no one hates free stuff, and most importantly, no customer will ever want to pay more to ship products they've already purchased.
As large eCommerce brands, such as Amazon, continue to offer free shipping, online consumers are getting more attached to the free shipping services. As such, when retailers slap a $10 or $20 shipping fee onto their product order total, consumers will likely abandon their carts.
So, heading into the peak season, it will be vital for eCommerce brands and 3PL Logistics providers to find ways of lowering their shipping charges to zero, even if it will force them to hike their prices for subscription memberships.
So, How Can You Get Ready for the Holiday Shopping Season?
There's no doubt that this holiday season will be quite different from what we've seen so far. But does that mean your eCommerce brand will be stuck in a vicious cycle of never-ending discounts to win over customers?
With significant changes coming to the 2022 shopping environment, these strategies will help you cope with the holiday shipping and shopping season.
Ensure Reliable Delivery and eCommerce Order Fulfillment
Tighten up your logistics for the peak season shipping, as it can either make or break your online business. With customers yearning for rapid order fulfillment, online retailers must develop business fulfillment systems that fit the demands of their customers. That said, keep in touch with some of the best fulfillment companies in the industry who offer reliable eCommerce order fulfillment services.
Also, be aware of local and international shipping deadlines to help you plan around heavy traffic and avoid delays. eCommerce businesses can also benefit from partnering with a trusted 3PL shipping provider and certified B2B fulfillment company to handle the shipping and holiday order fulfillment piece of the business so that they can focus on staying ahead of the trends this holiday shipping season.
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Online businesses can benefit from partnering with ShipNetwork now before the holiday season starts with our 1-2 day ground delivery network, 100% Flawless or Free order accuracy guarantee, and our revolutionary shipping solution: Xparcel, to get the lowest shipping costs. You can rely on us for all your pick, pack, and ship needs.
Stay ahead of peak season with ShipNetwork while you still have time to prepare. We offer 3PL software solutions and deliver fast and accurate order fulfillment so you can grow your customer base during the holidays.