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Holiday Season Challenges eCommerce Sellers Face

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
August 18, 2020

As the holiday season approaches, eCommerce sellers are facing a variety of challenges when it comes to managing seasonal merchandise and creating a full-proof plan to accurately ship and fulfill every customer order. More customers are turning to online retailers to solve their everyday needs, and that demand will continue during holiday sales. 

Online business owners are faced with potential delays and inflated shipping costs from carriers, earlier shopping sales, and overall increased customer demand. Below, we explain how to handle these eCommerce holiday season challenges.

High Carrier Fees and Potential Delays 

As a result of the current pandemic, eCommerce sales have soared for many online companies. That same trend is predicted to continue through the holiday shopping season and could result in delayed deliveries and increased carrier costs. UPS recently announced new surcharges for holiday shipping. For retailers with a large customer base, this could mean prices rise to $3 - $4 per package. Other carriers like FedEx are following suit with similar increases.

In addition to new shipping charges, eCommerce retailers are learning to juggle double the amount of orders and inventory. For businesses that quickly grew in the last several months, their current in-house methods may not be able to keep up with customer demands. This could result in delayed packages, and many may not make it home for the holidays. It is important for retailers to make any shipping and fulfillment changes before holiday sales have begun. Once the season has arrived, it’s likely too late to begin working with an outsourced partner. 

Ideally, you want all of your inventory loaded with your shipping carrier before fall has begun. This gives you and your partner time to get everything stocked and ready for fulfillment.

Increased Online Shopping

The typical eCommerce holiday season kicks off with the biggest shopping days of the year - Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. However, 2020 may change all of that. For years, shoppers have lined up outside of brick and mortar stores ready to take advantage of the seasonal deals. Due to limited store capacity, social distancing, and the need for safer shopping experiences, crowded stores are becoming a thing of the past. Some local stores are even choosing not to open on Thanksgiving in an effort to eliminate hectic shopping.

This year, more shoppers will be turning to virtual shopping events instead. 76% of customers intend to purchase more than half of their gifts online. Businesses will spend the typical high-shopping holidays packing and shipping instead of checking out at registers. The competition will be even higher for retailers during this time as well. In previous years, many eCommerce shops made their highest profits during Cyber Week. In 2020, however, all retailers will be vying for customer’s attention, and the businesses with the best deals will win them over. Make sure your business stands out above the rest by ensuring your online store can easily manage the holiday sales rush during these annual shopping days and efficiently meet all of your customers’ needs.

Earlier Shopping Habits

As 2020 holiday shoppers lean more towards digital experiences, the holiday orders will begin coming in sooner than in previous years. 51% of shoppers expect to begin holiday shopping earlier than normal this year. As a result, retailers will need to start planning to run their holiday campaigns as early as November 1 instead of waiting for traditional shopping events like Cyber Week. In addition to having sales locked down before fall has arrived, eCommerce sellers should also be securing their holiday merchandise earlier. Waiting too late in the season could result in issues with selling out of products, customer complaints, and not meeting shipping deadlines. 

Although many shoppers will be making purchases earlier in the season, there will still be the need to support last-minute shoppers. An additional 62% of holiday shoppers plan to purchase more stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts online. It’s crucial that your business is able to manage all of these customers throughout the holiday season. Recruiting outsourced or even seasonal employees can help your business stay on track and sleigh the holiday shopping season.

Although many eCommerce stores have experienced massive growth during the last few months, having a successful holiday shopping season can make or break your business. Combat a variety of challenges by partnering with a professional shipping and fulfillment company like Rakuten Super Logistics. Our experienced team will pick, pack, and ship all of your holiday merchandise accurately and on time. 

Contact us to see how you can sleigh the season by wrapping up your holiday shipping with Rakuten Super Logistics.


Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL) is the leader in eCommerce order fulfillment services and freight brokerage. RSL offers national fulfillment services and a network of 15 US fulfillment centers located in Anaheim (CA), Atlanta (GA), Austin (TX), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Miami (FL), 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. RSL offers modern fulfillment solutions for leading eCommerce retailers focused on reducing shipping costs, improving order accuracy, decreasing shipping times, and increasing customer satisfaction.