It may feel as though Christmas is approaching much faster this year, and the truth is, for many in retail it may be. The IMRG (the industry body for online retailers) has already warned stores that the upcoming holiday season could see sales increase by up to 30%, with a further increase if physical stores are forced to close as they were in the summer.
With these massive spikes in sales on the horizon, it’s never been more important to ensure that your business is prepared for Black Friday and beyond. The final few months of the year are often the busiest time for the entire supply chain, from manufacturers to retailers, and this year will likely compile the high sales expected between Black Friday and Christmas, with the COVID online shopping boom.
Many retailers are expected to start their Black Friday sales offerings significantly earlier this year, and these sales are expected to last for much longer to cater for the increase in online ordering demand. This is perhaps the best way to go from a customer experience perspective, as it allows customer to spread out their online shopping, making deliveries more likely to arrive on time and preventing the risk of site crashes. This is also likely to be a better approach for physical stores due to the need to maintain social distancing and minimise customer numbers in-store.
The summer also saw in influx of smaller home-based stores opening in reaction to the lockdown to help people supplement their income, and so it is likely that these stores will also be gearing up for their first Christmas of sales. This will likely put further pressure on suppliers and manufacturers, increasing lead times and limiting delivery services (which may already be experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic and local lockdowns).
All of these factors combine to increase the importance of stocking up and getting prepared early, regardless of whether you’re a supplier, online retailer, or a physical retail store. Online deliveries were already ramping up pre-COVID, and it is expected that this year online shopping will be the biggest it has ever been.