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October 2021 E-commerce Wrap Up

It was an uneventful first month of the fourth quarter, with few surprises. Due to the extensive research that industry analysts and experts conducted regarding what the 4th quarter will entail, it seems most were as prepared as possible. Well, as prepared as they could possibly be working through a shipping crisis, global pandemic, labor shortage, and growing e-commerce market. There is no doubt that it has been a "perfect storm." As October comes to a close, it becomes apparent that we are getting closer to the holiday when companies' preparations are truly put to the test. In order to help consumers and businesses move forward gracefully, it is imperative that we reflect on this month's industry news


Peak Season Surcharges

As of the first week of October, carriers have begun charging their peak season surcharges for the upcoming holiday season. With the levy of charging more for deliveries, they hope to offset the costs of hiring more staff during the holidays so as to meet the demands.

#ShipTip: Become familiar with peak season surcharges, including the costs and dates, imposed by major carriers.


Increasing Scams

When something becomes popular or expected, people want to take advantage of the trend. Increasingly comfortable with online shopping trends, consumers are letting their guard down. Due to the shipping crisis and labor shortage, scams have increased even more. The number of empty shelves and out-of-stock messages across the country is driving scammers to set up websites and pretend to sell these high-demand items only so they can either steal customer information or charge them for something that will never arrive. A recent BBB survey indicates that people who purchased items but failed to receive them have lost $102 on average in 2021. The more people are scammed, the less trust they will place in smaller websites on the internet. As a seller, it is imperative to do all that you can to gain your customer's trust as well as keep the consumer informed. In terms of the consumer, it is important to use a credit card that will help reduce fraud and assist you when something needs to be disputed. Whether scamming increases over the holiday season remains to be seen; we are interested in learning if the analysts are accurate. 


Early Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

In the current economic climate, the shipping crisis and labor shortage have put a damper on online sales. Businesses have begun offering early deals as a countermeasure to the typical shopping frenzy that follows Thanksgiving. As early as the second week of October, companies like Target and Walmart started offering "month-long Black Friday deals." These companies rotate what is on sale and different promotional offers and try to spread out the deals as much as possible. Smaller merchants have yet to catch on, and it is unclear how many consumers are taking advantage of these early sales and planning for the holidays so far in advance. Regardless, retailers of all sizes are warning that if you want something, order it now because it is unlikely to be back in stock before the holidays. 


Preparing for the Big Cyber Sales

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have essentially all moved to be massive online shopping days. Despite the enormous problems with logistics, these sales are supposed to grow this holiday season. A recent report by Deloitte forecasts an increase in e-commerce sales by 15% year over year. That puts the projections of e-commerce sales between $210 billion and $218 billion this season. Different companies are focusing on various problems heading into the cyber weekend. Still, we can ensure that consumers want easy-to-navigate websites, communication during and after purchasing, and free shipping. Most Americans are aware of shipping delays and labor shortages which can help make consumers more understanding. Still, with tensions running high during a stressful time, we can't say for sure everyone is understanding. Our best advice for e-commerce companies is to do their research and know their numbers. You can only be so prepared if you don't have the correct information. 


Google Releases SEO Guide

Yes, you read that correctly! Google has released a guide detailing best practices for ranking organically on the search engine. With Google's announcement of its cookieless future, companies have struggled to find a way to reach consumers on their websites. A special focus has been given to e-commerce sales in this guide. Furthermore, Google recently announced its focus on marketplace-style shopping to compete directly with Amazon. Google intends to use this guide as one of the first steps toward strengthening its e-commerce capabilities. 


Check out the guide here: Google SEO Guide.

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