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The New Normal of the eCommerce Holiday Shopping Season

By:
Rakuten Super Logistics
August 25, 2020

Months after initial shutdown measures, online retailers are still experiencing increases in customer orders. As the holiday sales season approaches, customers are predicted to continue utilizing eCommerce stores to make all their purchases. 66% of shoppers anticipate they will increase their online purchases during the 2020 holiday season. This season may look very different from previous years as consumers and retailers learn to navigate the new normal of holiday shopping.

Traditional Holiday Shopping

In past years, the holiday shopping season began for online retailers in June and July as they planned for upcoming sales like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Orders for holiday inventory were placed and retailers would traditionally have several months to get ready for the season’s largest sales. This year, however, retailers may be struggling with manufacturer complications with shipping. This poses a large challenge for the change in consumer buying habits.

The average consumer spends over $1,000 on holiday shopping alone, and much of that at one time was dedicated to in-store purchases. In past seasons, consumers lined up outside, planned post-Thanksgiving shopping trips, and pushed to be the first to make a purchase on Black Friday at brick and mortar stores. If they couldn’t find what they were looking for, they headed to an online shop. The expectation was for retailers to have all of their biggest items available for purchase. Unfortunately, retailers that have been struggling with storage limitations and delayed manufacturing deliveries will not be able to keep up this holiday season as consumer shopping habits increase.

2020 Shopping Expectations

As the holiday season approaches, consumers are expecting eCommerce sellers to complete all of their shopping needs. Online retailers should anticipate even more traffic than brick and mortar stores experienced in past years. Due to the need for social distancing, masks, one-way isles, and limited capacity, 60% of consumers plan to shop less in-store. Some bigger businesses are also choosing to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s important for eCommerce sellers to prepare ahead of time to successfully manage their customers’ needs this season. Everything from warehousing to fulfillment, shipping, and even returns will be challenged in these upcoming months.

Consumers are also coming into the season with bigger budgets. In 2019, consumers spent nearly 10 billion dollars on online Thanksgiving day and Black Friday sales. This year, shoppers are expected to spend 135 billion dollars. Ensuring your orders are picked, packed, and shipped on time is the key to success this season. For retailers that are still using a hands-on fulfillment approach, it’s a good idea to instead consider working with a reliable shipping partner. 

In addition to having bigger shopping budgets, consumers are wanting to check items off their list sooner. 39% of shoppers begin shopping as early as October. However, they are more accepting of longer delivery times.  50% of consumers expect their packages to be delivered in less than five days. Although this timeline may help retailers juggle incoming orders, this doesn’t leave much room for delivering packages on-time for orders placed in December. It’s important to utilize a shipping method that can handle last-minute orders and still ship gifts home in time for Christmas

As an online seller, the pressure is high to achieve accurate and efficient holiday fulfillment and shipping for all of your holiday merchandise. (Download our 2020 Holiday eCommerce Fulfillment Guide for expert advice.) Whether you’re dealing with warehousing restrictions or already overwhelmed by your customer orders, your business can benefit from working with an eCommerce expert like Rakuten Super Logistics.

Contact us to see how you can sleigh the season by wrapping up your 2020 holiday shopping season 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.