Despite everything that was said about the so-called Retail Apocalypse in 2017, the retail industry performed exceptionally well during the holiday season last year. In particular, online shopping continued to see enormous growth during the holiday shopping season - and sold more during the 20 days before Thanksgiving and Black Friday than ever before.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday becoming synonymous with daily deals and lower prices, consumers have responded by taking advantage of the offers earlier and finishing up their holiday shopping before the holidays even begin.
What does that mean for you? It means you should be preparing for peak season now, before you end up in trouble.
1 | eComm Sales are up 27% for Early November
eCommerce sales through the first 20 days of November (before Thanksgiving) were up 27% in 2017 over 2015. This is due in large part to the lower price points and huge bargains that brand retailers have been offering to supplement slower than average retail sales. Bottom line, you need to be prepared for an uptick in sales and fulfillment earlier this year.
Make sure your online shopping experience is sound for your consumers and that you have strict pick-pack-ship processes in place in terms of fulfillment of large volume sales.
Ask yourself: Is your warehouse ready? Is your staff ready? Are your products optimized within your warehouse for bestsellers?
2 | Amazon processed over 7.14 Million Transactions on Black Friday Alone in 2017
Think about this - Amazon processed over 7.14 million transactions in one day in 2017. Of those 7.14 million transactions, 49% of them were from products sold via third-party sellers just like you.
Since consumers are shopping earlier in November, you need to have your products to Amazon earlier than you did last year. Realistically, if you aren't ordering your inventory now to stock FBA, then you likely won't make the deadline to get your products into the fulfillment centers for Amazon to process in time for the early November holiday selling season.
Ask yourself: Have you stocked up your FBA products? Do you have the products currently in inventory to stock up your FBA? Do you have the data that you need in order to make those projections?
If not, it may be time to upgrade your inventory management system to SkuVault and get the data you need now to make early Amazon cut-offs.
3 | Technical Glitches Cost Companies Millions
Technical glitches cost companies like Macy's and other retail giants millions upon millions of dollars in the past couple of years. Now is the time to make sure that the systems you're using to sell and fulfill goods online are sound and ready for large volumes.
Third-party integrations – which most eCommerce sites depend on – represent a huge vulnerability. During times of peak traffic, the workload these sites experience (as they support hundreds upon thousands of eCommerce sites) grows exponentially, and if one of them crashes, it can effect the success of all the sites depending on it. Make sure the software you're using to handle your online sales, accounting, warehouse management, inventory management, shipping, etc. are being measured and monitored constantly for potential problems, and always to make sure the companies you are using have contingency plans in place for when there is trouble.
Ask yourself: Are all of my internal and third party systems ready for the Holidays?
92 official days until Black Friday, 2018. Make sure you are ready for it!