We’re approaching that time when retail and eCommerce businesses are finalizing their grand plans for the holidays. It’s always seen as the make-or-break period for businesses and in this respect 2020 will be no different.
But this year is going to be the most unpredictable, unprecedented peak season we have known. Uncertainty abounds around lockdown measures, consumer confidence, and wider economic concerns. In this climate, businesses must adjust their marketing, merchandise, in-store measures, and logistics operations.
Much of this will seem like guesswork. We don’t know how many will celebrate the season, whether we can travel, if we can visit stores and what the experience will be like, what we will want to buy or how much we are prepared to spend.
But three things are certain: The 2020 holidays will be unlike any other year. They are approaching fast. The time to prepare is now.
Fortunately, there are certain measures brands can take to ensure they meet the expectations of customers during this vital time. To help with this preparation, LiveArea has compiled these Top 5 Predictions: Preparing for Peak Season in a Year of Deep Disruption.
Download this ebook for insight into what’s expected in an unpredictable holiday selling season.
Key Numbers to Consider
Last year will not signal what brands can expect in 2020 when it comes to holiday shopping and how consumers buy. Salesforce predicts that up to 30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this upcoming holiday season.
The pandemic has weakened links in supply chains and inventory is not as easy to find, and shoppers know this. Close to 50% of online shoppers said they experienced both out-of-stocks and shipping delays.
Offering alternative fulfillment options this year will be more vital than ever. Brands offering pickup — curbside, in-store, drive-through — are estimated to see a 90% increase in digital sales compared to the previous holiday season.
Contact-free checkout options will gain further traction with concerns around hygiene and distancing measures. In a recent survey, 87% of shoppers said they would prefer to shop in stores with touchless or robust self-checkout options, giving rise to Scan & Go solutions.
Shoppers will likely make fewer trips to stores, but when they do venture out they may be buying more. Walmart same-store sales rose in the second quarter by close to 10% and customers spent about 27% more when they shopped in-store.
Tips to Prepare for Peak
- Expect the migration to the online channel and plan for it. Anticipate an earlier start for online shopping this year.
- Notify your customers about what’s in stock, peak delivery times, returns policies, and any BOPIS or curbside safety regulations.
- Create customer segments – demographics, product preferences, preferred communication channels, spending power –to target customers with specific products, and raise AOV.
- Be agile, don’t rely on previous years’ campaigns.
- Consider contact-free fulfillment in stores, including curbside pickup and Scan & Go. Enable research tools that will bring shoppers to stores, but make sure inventory data is transparent and accurate.
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