Believe it or not: Holiday season 2021 has arrived. Smart retailers like Target and Pottery Barn (two examples of many) are cleverly tucking sneak peeks of their holiday shops in all of their fall promotions. Isn’t this a little early? Not anymore. With 51 million adults already starting or planning to start their holiday shopping by the end of September, retailers and brands have to roll out their promotions and begin giving consumers access to all things holiday. If they don’t, they could risk missing out on sales from early shoppers who are trying to avoid traditional peak (November through December) and the prospect of limited gift selection due to supply chain constraints.

Thanks to the media, consumers are all too aware of supply chain bottlenecks and major shipping delays wreaking havoc for retailers and brands. Holiday 2020 gave a preview of what happens when you wait till the last minute to shop for gifts and consumers aren’t interested in repeating this experience this year. In addition to shipping delays, items out of stock or unavailable became a more regular occurrence for many shoppers. In fact, Rithum holiday survey data showed that 35% of consumers experienced out-of-stock issues when shopping online.

To avoid the disappointment of last year’s holiday season, consumers plan to shop and order early to guarantee their gifts are received well before they’re needed or in some cases right on time to celebrate the holidays.

62% of shoppers say they’ve already decided they will make the majority of their Holiday 2021 purchases online. 70% of consumers say a product being in stock along with plenty of choices is their primary reason for choosing to shop a retailer or brand. Retailers who can:

  • offer shoppers lots of product choices along with making them readily available
  • provide convenient options for them to get what they want, when they want it
  • ensure reliable delivery of ordered items

will have the advantage. And those retailers who can leverage multiple channels like buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) or ship from store are also in a better position to meet consumer demand for a hassle-free and successful gifting season.

Don’t let the Grinch steal Holiday 2021: Provide consumers with delivery confidence

While the supply chain gets most of the attention (and with good reason), let’s not forget that shipping plays a vital role and can make/break any ecommerce gains the holiday season can deliver. Consumers have an expectation for fast, reliable shipping and will look elsewhere if they can’t get the assurance their items will be received in a timely manner (3-5 days is typically the norm). Working with a partner like Rithum can take the guesswork out of delivery fulfillment providing you with much-needed visibility into orders and their status and giving you the ability to keep customers informed every step of the way. Rithum’s distributed network of suppliers can also get you closer to your customers and eliminate shipping from centralized distribution centers that may be impacted by high shipping volumes.

So, what’s the best way to get ahead this Holiday 2021?

  • Focus on distributing inventory across multiple channels
  • Expand your product assortment in key categories
  • Maximize your omnichannel strategy
  • Accelerate your digital advertising to start early promotions to increase sales

If you’d like help making your digital supply chain more resilient or making peak season a success, please contact us.