Preparing for the Golden Quarter is a daunting prospect for any retailer, and can quickly become the nightmare before Christmas.
But with many consumers opting to shop from the comfort of their own home, as opposed to battling the high street crowds, Christmas logistics has become one of the most important elements for any retailer to consider.
Let’s take a look at the latest retail trends, and how logistics can support them.
Online shopping proved highly popular prior to lockdown. But since the pandemic, many who weren’t previously converted are now well and truly sold, with 86.7% of UK shoppers now shopping online
It doesn’t seem that online shopping is going to be seeing a decline any time soon. In fact, by the end of 2022, eCommerce sales are expected to reach $5.42 trillion, and Adobe predict 2.5% growth in online sales from November 1 to December 31.
A large proportion of consumers haven’t waited until after Halloween to to begin their Christmas shopping. In fact, 25% either began their holiday shopping in August or planned to start in September.
Additionally, major retailers have been pushing early sales. Amazon launched a second Prime Day, and other large stores followed suit with Autumn sales and savings.
As shoppers are less frequently visiting bricks and mortar stores, there is less opportunity for them to physically view, touch, and hold the purchases they are making. Therefore shoppers are increasingly engaging with customer reviews, photos, and Q&As.
In fact, 48% of shoppers say brands and retailers responding to reviews improves their odds of buying the product.
Therefore, it’s imperative that retailers consider user generated content and engagement into their festive strategy.
Similarly, with more consumers choosing to shop online, they are actively reaching out online and via the phone to get answers to their queries. For example, research has found shoppers generally prefer to ask brands questions via social media.
Whether they are looking at customer reviews and Q&As, or contacting support and customer service. And due to the unpredictability we currently live in, shoppers are being far more thorough than usual.
There’s still time for retailers to get business in order for the festive season. With an ongoing increase in demand, they will need to be more thorough than ever, and ensure there are no bottlenecks or issues to hold the process up.
Here are our suggestions:
With the reduction in bricks and mortar customers compared to the previous festive rushes, we recommend continuing to focus on your eCommerce and delivery offering, where possible. This will help keep customers who aren’t able to come to your high street stores, for whatever reason, engaged and purchasing from you.
But while continuing to focus on your eCommerce-offering is a great strategy, we would also recommend a continuation of strengthening and improving your eCommerce.
Post-lockdown, stores opened up to a very different environment, one that hasn’t fully recovered to what it once was. Most economists now agree that even as stores are continuing to recover, retail spend will be significantly depressed. Where growth does pick up, much will flow through digital channels and eCommerce adoption will continue to accelerate.
By continuing to strengthen your eCommerce offering, you can future proof your business for the ‘new norm’ that many retailers are experiencing.
We live in a time of immediacy. Which means slow delivery is one of the main reasons why customers turn to the highstreet to shop. To help support the reduced amount of customers in bricks and mortar stores, ensure that your delivery process is as fast and reliable as possible.
Despite the difficulties facing businesses, consumers still expect their orders to reach them quickly. 71% of consumers expect their order to be delivered within a week, and 29% expect deliveries to take no more than 3-5 days.
It seems that offering a fast delivery is more important than ever.
By utilising dynamic route optimisation, you can save time with automated routes that are planned daily, weekly, monthly, or however frequently you require your dynamic schedule. Sophisticated algorithms produce efficient and reliable routes, fast, taking into account traffic conditions and known roadworks, as well as vehicle capacities, live order volumes and delivery time windows.
All of this supports you in providing a fast and efficient delivery offering, and can cut operational costs by up to 20%, which is an essential saving in our current environment.
Don’t waste unnecessary time due to bad integrations. Now, more than ever, it is important that all of your business systems are fully integrated and running smoothly. This will ensure no bottle-necks or issues during such an important time.
By using a system that offers an open API, such as MaxOptra, you can easily integrate all of your existing business systems.
Keeping your customers engaged during the festive shopping period should be a top priority for any business. Keeping them in the loop as to where their delivery is and when it will arrive is a further improvement that you can make to benefit your ecommerce offering, as well as keeping them engaged with your brand.
Customer notifications have advanced at a rapid rate. Gone are the days when customers expect to have to stay home to wait for a delivery. Now they want the delivery schedule to work around their daily routine.
Make sure that customers are constantly kept up to date with where their order is by proactively sending out email and SMS ETA notifications. As well as offering customers immediate updates, this also ensures that you are engaging with your audiences that want to interact on social media.
If you are a retailer and would like to discuss your planning and strategy for the festive season, get in touch with one of our experts for a consultation or demonstration of our system. Alternatively, check out our other relevant content, such as our Swan Retail story.