Ecommerce News

Common Holiday Season Challenges + How to Overcome Them

The holiday season is stressful for e-retailers. Learn how to overcome the common challenges and thrive during the 4th quarter.


Every industry experiences a busy season. The summer is usually home to peak season sales for most businesses. Retail, however, is an exception. Q4, which includes the holiday season, is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for retailers and can also be the most overwhelming. This Q4 in particular, online retailers expect significant growth. Deloitte's annual holiday retail forecast has projected that e-commerce sales will grow by 11-15% YOY during the 2021-22 holiday season. That amounts to a total between $210 billion and $218 billion.


Daniel Bauchman, Deloitte's U.S. economic forecaster, noted that last year’s holiday sales were higher than expected, growing by 5.8%. For 2021, the company predicts continued strong growth due to elevated retail sales and recent growth in disposable personal income. The projections for e-commerce revenue are positive, however, Deloitte also notes that the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 is creating ongoing uncertainty, which could result in either more or less than expected e-commerce spending. 


In addition to being exciting for many businesses, Deloitte's projections are alarming for others. Retailers and carriers alike face a great deal of difficulty ahead of them. Along with the uncertainty regarding the Delta variant, there has been a continuous labor shortage in conjunction with high demand. In response to the shortage of labor, some organizations are offering incentives to job seekers to choose to work for them, but even then, there is no certainty that they will have sufficient labor to meet the demand.


While consumers are aware of the labor shortage, they still demand a lot from businesses and their shipping capabilities. 49% of shoppers say that same-day delivery makes them more likely to shop online, with over 56% of shoppers aged 18-34 expecting same-day delivery. On top of that, 80% of consumers are persuaded to shop online when a retailer offers free shipping.


There is no denying that peak seasons are extremely stressful for companies and can prove to be frustrating for consumers who feel their needs are not being met. As a business, how does one overcome these challenges?


6 Ways to Take Q4 by Storm! 


(1) Observe Historical and Seasonal Trends

As stated above, Q4 has traditionally been a busy shopping period for retailers of all sizes. Making informed and intelligent decisions about your business can be made easier by reviewing historical data and shopping behaviors. By analyzing both the overall industry trends and your own company's past seasonal trends, you will be able to sharpen your focus on the correct course of action. 


(2) Be Aware of Sales Promotions

It is no secret that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are significant shopping days during the holiday season. Due to the growth of these sales days, which now include weekends or week-long sales, consumers are flocking to these events. It is evident that this creates a major bottleneck for businesses and carriers. The ability to market sales outside of these event dates would allow your business to deliver packages in a more timely manner and not necessarily run into the same inventory and delivery difficulties that many will face this year.


(3) Take Note of Holiday Inventory

Shipment problems continue to cause massive delays in the importation of manufactured goods from overseas. Due to these factors, businesses in every industry have experienced a reduction in inventory levels, and some are unsure if their products will arrive prior to the holiday season. Being hyper-aware of your company's inventory will help set your customers up for specific expectations. Be realistic about your abilities and do not over-promise to customers. 


(4) Curate a Diverse Carrier Portfolio

Everyone is familiar with the tried and true carriers of the United States. In spite of their efforts to keep up with the demands, it would be unfair to believe they can manage the weight of the world. During this holiday shopping season, the increase in sales of e-commerce products will not allow carriers to fulfill all orders in the same timely manner that consumers and businesses expect. By diversifying your company's carriers and relying on multiple outlets for delivery, businesses have a great chance of meeting consumer demand. In the end, the choice of which carrier to use depends on a lot of factors, but taking time to establish a relationship is essential early on. Don't wait!


(5) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! 

Communication between a seller and their consumers is very important. A customer's loyalty is shaped by the information they receive, including inventory updates, shipping delays, confirmation of purchases, and much more. Studies show that 83% of consumers expect regular communication from companies about their purchases. On top of that, a study by 4Over found that 96% of respondents track their packages after they order. Of those 96%, 43% check the status of their delivery at least once a day. Being informed about their purchases is something that consumers desire (and maybe are addicted to!). 


(6) Leverage smart technology 

Taking advantage of reliable and smart technology is the best way to succeed during the holiday season. You can save money and time with technology like DesktopShipper by shopping smarter, cheaper, and more efficient manner. Take advantage of as many carriers as you wish and rate shop your orders so that you can determine the best price and route of your packages while maintaining inventory control. By utilizing technology, your business will remain successful year-round. 


As the old saying goes, whatever will be will be. Businesses do not always have the capability of determining what to expect from the holiday season. The best thing to do is be prepared. Using historical data, helpful technology, and diversifying your carriers, you can pivot when all other options have failed. 

Similar posts