How Ecommerce companies should prepare for the Holiday Season amid the Covid 19 Crisis
Coronavirus recession and pandemic holiday
Most of us know the impacts of Covid 19 on the world economy. There is currently a major global economic crisis going on, causing a recession in some countries while depression in many others. The world witnessed the first sign of recession when the 2020 stock market crashed earlier this year, leading to high rates of unemployment worldwide.
However, there is still some light towards the end of the tunnel (or year rather!). Despite the world facing the worst economic crisis ever since the Great Depression, the e-commerce sales this pandemic holiday season are forecasted to rise. By holiday season we mean the period from November 2020 to January 2021. Analysts have predicted sales of around $1.15 billion during this period.
However, as seen during the earlier months, there will be limits on the numbers of people that will be allowed to shop in stores so that social distancing rules can be followed. This is good news for e-commerce business owners, as more people will prefer shopping online. Deloitte has estimated that e-commerce sales will rise by 25% this year during the holiday season. In the previous year, e-commerce sales increased by approximately 15% only.
Is Black Friday Cancelled 2020?
With the holiday season coming so close it is time to start preparing for it. This year, retailers and consumers alike prepare earlier than the previous years. This year 2020, as most things were different so will be the pandemic holiday season!
To answer the above question, Black Friday 2020 is definitely not cancelled. However, there will be many things different, such as the black Friday being held earlier, consumers will shop more online via e-commerce sites and many in-stores black Friday events might be cancelled. This year is and will continue to be the game-changer for the e-tailers. So it is high time the e-tailers prepare their e-commerce companies for this year’s pandemic holiday season.
Plan for a successful pandemic holiday season
Time is running when it comes to preparing for the upcoming holidays season for e-commerce sites. 2020 will be challenging as retail will be a lot different than it was in the previous years. There is stress and pressure for supply chains worldwide, and unpredictable changes in digital commerce have affected shipping capacity. Moreover, there is an underlying threat of the second wave of COVID 19 cases rising during the winter season. All these issues have caused uncertainty for retailers and consumers alike.
As a retailer/e-tailer, you have to manage the balancing of the marketing mix, forecast demand, and make arrangements to fulfil orders successfully.
Steps to take to prepare for the holiday season:
Prepare your e-commerce sites for high digital traffic:
Since record levels of sales are anticipated as more consumers will prefer buying online, your site should be up to date. Make sure your site has all the relevant information about the products. Your website must be able to handle high levels of traffic and orders. For now, you can conduct load testing, and plan for unusual changes in digital activity.
Deals and vouchers:
As a retailer, you have to try and understand your consumers. In 2020 your consumers are different. They are people who are shopping on a tight budget; hence you should plan your holiday season sale keeping this in mind. One way to manage this is to add more products to your e-commerce site that are at affordable prices. Second, your site can offer deals for family or a large number of people. Or you can offer custom deals where consumers can choose the products they want at a fair price. Lastly, email marketing has always been the “in” trend. Send promotional emails offering discounts or vouchers to your email subscribers list.
Operations and fulfillment capacity:
Retailers have to plan and think of different ways of expanding their fulfilment operations during the last quarter of 2020. The demand for warehouse has become higher; hence many companies are altering their stores into fulfilment centers. This step will allow companies to effectively deliver products to customers on time and also enable the stores to be the pickup locations. Many stores are offering buyers to order online and pick their product from the nearest pickup location possible. It is advantageous to have a pickup store that is nearer to the demand.
As an e-tailer, it is important that there is a detailed inventory management system in place for your site especially during the holiday seasons when you have to manage more sales than at any other time of the year. Proper inventory management will prevent issues of stocking, delays in delivery of products, and increase in costs. It is also recommended to look for a software solution that will integrate and provide information on all sales channels and fulfilment techniques.
As people prefer staying at home rather than travelling, this has taken a toll on companies such as Uber and Careem. Some retailers have found this as an opportunity to utilize these services to deliver their products around the city.
Lastly, good customer service is always essential whether there is Covid 19 or not. More number of sales can sometimes lead to customer’s expectations, not being appropriately met. Hence, as an etailer, you should get in sync with the rest of your employees, set consumer expectations and train your staff on how to meet them during the holiday rush. As satisfied customers become the return customers. hese steps might be the solution for you and your customers. You, as an etailer, have to ensure proper execution of these steps in order to have satisfied customers and your business thrive.