Was 2020 was just a one-hit wonder for shopping online for the holidays? All signs point to no. Predictions for 2021 indicate that this year shopping online is likely to be bigger and better than last year. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual holiday forecast, online and other non-store sales are expected to increase between 11% and 15% to a total of between $218.3 billion and $226.2 billion driven by online purchases. This is up from $196.7 billion in 2020. And eMarketer is predicting $10 billion in ecommerce sales on Cyber Monday and Black Friday alone.

Consumer shopping behaviors have changed dramatically in the last year. While the shift was accelerated by the pandemic, consumers have found the convenience and ease of shopping online along with the peace of mind of staying safe to be the primary reasons they’re sticking with ecommerce. In fact,  62% of holiday shoppers are planning to make most of their purchases online. Retailers that are able to offer the best of both physical (buy online, pickup in store, curbside) and online delivery to home are at a significant advantage again this holiday season.

One of the biggest concerns this season is out-of-stock and inventory issues, especially in physical stores. Consumers are seeing more empty shelves as retailers continue to grapple with supply chain disruptions. In most cases, holiday promotions started before Halloween in the hopes of enticing shoppers to start shopping long before Black Friday. Discounts and promotions are lasting longer and most major retailers plan to have stores closed for Thanksgiving. Making online the place to be to snag Black Friday deals. Once again, Black Friday is expected to take a different tone this year with most shoppers still trying to avoid crowds.

A recent CreditCards.com poll found that consumers are favoring online for convenience, better deals, safety and a wider product selection and inventory.

How Rithum can Help Retailers Avoid Inventory Issues this Holiday Season

According to analytics firm, Nielsen IQ—out of stocks cost retailers more than $3 billion in sales in 2020. While this problem causes stress and frustration for consumers, it is something that retailers can easily avoid with the right approach. By tapping into digital (distributed) inventory enabled through drop shipping, retailers gain valuable visibility into inventory availability and can execute more targeted delivery that is closer to customers. With drop ship, retailers could potentially have no sell outs at all, enabling them to keep customers happy and deliver a great customer experience.

Drop shipping also gives retailers the ability to add more product selection in key categories quickly. This helps eliminate the guesswork of where consumer purchasing will shift as well as avoid the capital expense of housing inventory that may not sell.

Rithum provides the strategies and capabilities retailers need to elevate their commerce presence and ensure consumers find what they want, when they want it wherever they choose to shop.