As the holiday season approaches, ensuring your digital sales channels are ready to optimize potential sales and commercial growth should be your #1 priority. Preparation is key to ensure eCommerce success and now is the time to consider what needs to be done to ensure you stay ahead of the game. From up-to-date inventory and product details, images to shipping information and customer service, now is the time to make sure you are ready for the potential sales that are predicted this holiday season.
What Did the 2021 Holiday Season Look Like?
Looking back at last year, even though the 2021 holiday season was still affected by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the total holiday retail sales in 2021 increased 8.5%, the largest annual increase in 17 years. eCommerce sales increased 11% compared with 2020 and 64.1% compared with 2019. This undoubtedly reflects the accelerated shift to digital platforms based on consumer retail shopping behaviors partly due to the COVID but also the changing demands of modern day consumerism in general.
Amid rising inflation, anticipated supply chain shortages, and increased consumer demand this holiday retail season, being eCommerce holiday ready has never been more poignant.
Key eCommerce Concerns for Holiday Season 2022
According to a Shopify report, the top concerns for eCommerce business owners are:
- Inventory and Supply
- Shipping and Fulfillment
- Returns and Refunds
- Customer Service and Support
Effective planning and preparation go far into developing a successful digital experience strategy for the holiday season.
Drop ship and marketplace automation can save your online business from bottlenecks, repetitive tasks, customer churn, meeting retailer’s SLAs and many other issues that can cause your sales to decline. eCommerce automation is the overlooked magic ingredient to satisfied customers and a successful digital strategy.
Automation Is The Key to eCommerce Holiday Success
The holiday season is always unpredictable and most of the time chaotic; spending time on things you can easily automate gives you more time to do other strategic tasks. As the season draws nearer, chances are you’ll be understaffed and little things like sending shipping notifications or printing labels on orders can disrupt your workflow.
Without robust process automation, it’s likely your business will experience unnecessary chaos this holiday season. What may seem like a quick and easy manual process now, could cripple your eCommerce operation during the holiday rush.
When you automate simple tasks, you minimize the risk of workflow disruptions due to labor shortages and you’ll be better equipped to process an influx of holiday orders.
To maximize the benefits of automation, make sure you invest in multi-channel commerce solutions such as Cymbio – to automate the synchronization of workflows between your back-end systems and the retailers you sell on. This ensures real-time, consistent data is available to your employees, partners, and customers–saving you time and headaches.
eCommerce Checklist for Holiday Season 2022
Given that the holidays are just around the corner, we want to make sure you have everything you need for a successful holiday season. So in hopes for optimal sales and a smooth start to the season, we’ve compiled a checklist of everything you’ll need to think about for a killer – and incredibly successful holiday season.
What Should You Be Thinking About Right Now As a Brand?
- Is your holiday assortment finalized with each retailer?
- Understand promotional strategies – ask retailers about any special promotional opportunities that you could take advantage of.
- Think about your social media strategy – can you incorporate any of your drop ship or marketplace partners?
- Think ahead about inventory! If you can anticipate a product being sold out, product delays or supply chain issues, make sure to plan ahead so you won’t lose any sales.
- Send all assortments at a SKU level, including any information that may not be included in your system
- Keep retailer requirements in mind. Oftentimes, retailers will pause any changes prior to the season starting, so make sure you are on top of deadlines.
- Work on as many products as once – handling assortments piecemeal will lead to delays and potentially missed opportunities with retailers.
What Should You Communicate to Your Retailers?
- For optimum clarity, communicate with retailers when you and your team will be out of office and unresponsive to emails.
- If there are any warehouse closures or delays, which may cause shipping delays – make sure you communicate this directly with retailers to plan accordingly.
- Make sure to discuss potential SLA updates for shipping to not incur any late fees with the retailers.
Looking Ahead Beyond the Holiday Season
Given all the effort you will put into ensuring you are eCommerce holiday ready, why not utilize the positive energy and drive to propel growth beyond the holiday season. Some key aspects to enjoy could be..
- Make sure to think about your resort and spring assortment (yes, even now) – it’s important to continually plan ahead to keep a consistent flow of sales.
- Think of retailers who might fit or be relevant for different seasons such as resort season, spring and summer holidays.
eCommerce Preparations for the Holidays: The Take Home
Despite higher prices, fewer promotions, product shortages, and uncertainty around the COVID-19 omicron variant, consumers opened their wallets this holiday retail season and spent at record-setting levels.
As the holidays loom closer, companies have to “do more with less” to ensure sales don’t fall. With predictions suggesting that the retail industry will continue to suffer from negative factors such as significant labor shortage, supply chain issues and a demand for higher wages, eCommerce solutions will need to be creative and adaptable to stay afloat during the holiday season.
By automating the repetitive parts of running an eCommerce business and selling on retailers, companies free up time to sell more products, and grow in other areas keeping customers happy and returning for more.
Discover How Cymbio Can Help You Prepare for the Holiday Season
Cymbio is the leader in brand-to-retail connectivity to help boost digital sales and visibility. We provide one holistic hub to automate and scale the entire process for drop ship and marketplace setup to ensure you stay ahead of the competition this holiday season.
We are happy to lead the way to help you be holiday eCommerce ready! Working with Cymbio provides the ease to know that all your retailer connections are handled with care and your eCommerce systems are fired up and ready to go.
Reach out to email@example.com to learn more about how Cymbio can help you this holiday season.