2021 eCommerce Peak Season Trends and Challenges

Peak season brings many challenges for eCommerce business owners. Here’s what several retailers had to say about their preparation plans for holiday sales.

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
-
eCommerce Strategy
Holiday Fulfillment

As the peak season looms, so does Shipocalypse 2021. Many sellers are trying to prepare their businesses for the uptick in customer orders along with the supply chain issues that have been plaguing the industry for most of the year. As a result, they are anticipating a very busy holiday shopping season. 

We talked to several store owners about their preparation process. Here’s how they are preparing for the season.

Shopping Trends

Customer Demand

This peak season is predicted to hit another record-setting number of sales for eCommerce. More consumers are turning to online stores to fulfill all of their needs. One CEO shared how their company is preparing for the rush.

“Peak season for us starts ramping up in November and reaches a fever pitch later in the month and in early December”, says Christen Costa, the CEO of  Gadget Review “The biggest challenge for us will be keeping up with this demand, something we've taken strides toward. But our team will have to work hard to ensure nothing below our standards slips through the cracks.” 

Convenience of Returns

Another challenge facing many business owners is shoppers' need for convenience when returning unwanted items. They want the ease of dropping of an item in-person from an online business. 

Patrick Franklin, eCommerce Manager at Lucky Voice, shares his thoughts.

“Online returns have been a challenge for retailers since the beginning of eCommerce. This is because the convenience and choice of eCommerce comes at the price of not being able to ‘try before you buy’ for customers. This problem proved more critical than ever in the wake of Covid-19. Now that we are approaching the holiday season, it may become even more challenging.”

Related Article: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Busy Periods

Customer Loyalty 

The eCommerce market is flooded with endless shopping choices. For many retailers, loyal customers are more difficult to come by. If an item is unavailable or takes too long to arrive, shoppers are comfortable moving on to another shop. 

One retailer,  Damian at Adult Diapers 365, shares what his business is doing to improve this loyalty for peak season.

“Another challenge that I think my eCommerce business is facing is a decrease in repeat and loyal customers. With so many new entrants in the market, it will be difficult to maintain long-term loyalty with the customers. Therefore, we are focusing on establishing long-term relations with our current clients rather than pushing short-term sales only.”


Shipping Challenges

Inventory

Getting materials moving through the supply chain has greatly impacted many business owners. Unfortunately, their retailers are anticipating this struggle to last throughout the year. 

Briam Lim, CEO INTO THE AM and iHeartRaves, shares how his business has been affected and what they are doing to mitigate these challenges.

“Supply chain issues continue to be very difficult and we don’t see an end in sight. In addition, labor issues with our eCommerce fulfillment warehouse are limiting our top-line growth. We all have to work together in order to run the business in the most efficient manner with constant curve balls being thrown at us.” 

Darren Litt, Co-Founder of Hiya Health, has also been experiencing these same supply chain challenges. Here’s his advice on what business owners can do to stay profitable during peak season.

“Since the beginning of COVID-19, as with any company who gets any supplies from outside the country, we’ve been dealing with shipping constraints and challenging lead times, which requires companies to dip into their cash reserves to have extra supplies beyond what was previously anticipated. It’s up to every eCommerce business owner to adjust to these shifting variables, all while remembering to be transparent and timely in communication with your customers. Keep them updated about shipping delays.”

Delivery

Getting orders delivered on time can be a challenge - especially during peak season. One business owner, Stacey O'Neill of Nationwide Courier Service, gives us her insight on what’s in store for sellers in the coming months and what they can do to deliver efficiently.  

"One of the biggest challenges that eCommerce sites face during the peak season is the delivery of their goods. The trouble is, as these peak times come into effect, retailers become overwhelmed by the number of orders that they receive and, in turn, they struggle to deliver every order on time no matter their size. By partnering with an experienced courier and logistic service you're much more likely to fulfill your order on time. This is going to keep your customers happy which should be your focus because, without happy customers, your eCommerce site will end up failing." 

Related Article: 3 Ways to Reduce Peak Season Shipping Costs 

Storage

As retailers stock up for the peak season, new storage challenges face them for the biggest shopping days of the year. Retailer Brian Anderson of My Supplement Store

tells us his plan for achieving successful holiday sales.

“We are a large nutrition retailer and have run into supply chain issues already. Many of our top sellers will not be available for previous shopping days earlier in the year. If we run into the same or worse supply chain issue around Black Friday that we are in right now, we could potentially have one of the worst years ever for our business. Our plan is to over-purchase stock in order to stay well supplied for the holidays. We normally order in runs of 30 days, but now we plan on doing 90 days to try to combat these issues.”

As the holiday season approaches, many things remain in flux for eCommerce sellers. Between preparing for customer demand and combating supply chain challenges, retailers need to have a strong plan in place.

Get your ship together NOW before it’s too late! Partner with the peak season eCommerce experts at Rakuten Super Logistics and achieve 100% order accuracy on every shipment. Get a quote today and secure the success of your business this holiday season.


Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of fulfillment centers across the US, including Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Carlstadt (NJ) Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Olean (NY), Reno (NV), Salt Lake City (UT), and Scranton (PA). Their state-of-the-art technology allows for integration with popular shopping cart platforms and online marketplaces including Amazon, Big Commerce, Channel Advisor, eBay, Magento, ShipStation, Shopify, Volusion, Walmart Marketplace, and WooCommerce.

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Rakuten Super Logistics is a leading eCommerce order fulfillment company that provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand.

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