Last year’s holiday shopping season, aka “Shipageddon”, had online sellers frantic. A mix of delays, high peak shipping prices and increased customer demand plagued the eCommerce space all the way into the new year. After attempting to recover in early 2021, these business owners may be dealing with a whole new slew of challenges for the coming holiday shopping season. Here are the biggest challenges facing online sellers and why your business should start preparing now.
Supply Chain Issues
One of the biggest struggles facing eCommerce peak season is inventory. Last year, many online sellers found themselves running out of top performing productions long before December 25th. To avoid repeating history in 2021, retailers are stocking up early. Unfortunately, massive supply chain disruptions threaten to wreck holiday inventory goals. Despite sellers trying to prepare for the inevitable rush, their inventory levels may remain low. In order to lessen the supply chain impact on your business, you may need to look at alternative solutions for getting your inventory. This could mean bringing your manufacturing closer to home or choosing new partners. It’s important to make this decision quickly and get control of your inventory methods.
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Although 2020 was a demanding holiday season, eCommerce growth has shown no signs of slowing. Experts predict that eCommerce sales will grow another 11% this season resulting in $207 billion in industry revenue. With that anticipated growth, online sellers need to have enough inventory on demand to meet these customer needs. To prepare, some businesses have been stocking up since the spring. Unfortunately, they are quickly running into space issues for all of their merchandise. They no longer have the luxury of using home storage methods and are forced to constantly look at rentable storage spaces. As a result, their overhead cost continues to grow. The only true way to ensure your business has enough room for your current inventory and room to grow is by partnering with a professional. In most cases, professional shipping companies have access to multiple warehouses. They also have more staff to ensure your products are safe and delivered on-time.
As purchases increase, so do returns. With the predicted growth of this year’s holiday shopping season, online retailers can expect to receive an even larger number of mid-holiday returns. In the midst of trying to get orders out on time, your reverse logistics could add more unwanted pressure. Returns must be tackled quickly and efficiently. They are just as important as fulfilling and shipping the original order. If your returns are handled haphazardly, you risk losing or abandoning re-sellable inventory. As a result, you’ll be losing more on returns than you are gaining in sales. Evaluate your holiday returns plan now and ensure you have the right people and systems in place.
It’s apparent that eCommerce will continue to be a major player in these upcoming sales and likely for years to come. Online sellers need to have their supply chain and logistics in order long before the start of the season. This will help sellers anticipate additional peak season surcharges, more supply chain disruptions, and overall customer demands.
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