2019 Holiday eCommerce Logistics & Predictions
The most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us — holiday ecommerce!
Behind the fun tree and snowman emojis in marketing emails, Instagram ads, and promo codes (my personal favorite), there are a lot of logistics that happen behind the scenes of holiday ecommerce, so I wanted to share some key things to look for as you embark upon the 2019 holiday season!
This Year’s Holiday Season Will Be Short…Maybe
Thanksgiving 2019 falls on the latest possible date, November 28th, which means that Black Friday and Cyber Monday will also be later than usual. Combined this means that the holiday shopping period is truncated and there are only 27 days from Thanksgiving to Christmas. By comparison, last year there were 33 days from Thanksgiving to Christmas and in 2017, there were 32 days from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
We expect to see many sales begin well before Thanksgiving, and this year may be even more competitive as brands and retailers attempt to make up for the fact that they’ll be missing nearly a week’s worth of holiday sales compared to last year’s holiday shopping window.
What We Learned From Prime Day
With ⅔ of U.S. households having access to Amazon Prime, it’s likely to be one of the ways in which consumers shop this holiday season. If Prime Day 2019’s popularity was any indicator (70.9% revenue growth), we will likely see increasing numbers of consumers heading to Amazon to buy holiday gifts — especially last minute shoppers that needing 2-day shipping!
No Pesky Holiday Surcharges
Many companies offer free shipping during the holiday season. However, according to Forrester, “Final Price” is the #1 driver that determines which online retailer consumers choose. For many ecommerce companies, offering free shipping and/or looking at the total landed cost they offer to customers is a no brainer.
In past holiday seasons, companies like FedEx and UPS have implemented Holiday Surcharges, but this year those charges only apply to oversized items and or items that require additional handling. Neither company will not be implementing holiday surcharges due to increased capacity within their networks. Where did the increased capacity come from? We don’t know for sure, but Amazon is bringing more of their delivery in-house and the giant accounted for 1.3% of FedEx’s sales in 2018 before severing the cord last month, likely leaving a big gap to be filled in FedEx’s capacity.
Last, But Not Least: Returns!
According to ShipStation, 76% of consumers take ease of returns into consideration and nearly 20% of all returns annually take place in January. Returns and the entire reverse logistics process continue to be regarded as an afterthought for many businesses, so if you’re a brand or retailer trying to gain a competitive edge — get it right and you might just pull ahead of the rat race. As ecommerce becomes the go-to shopping mechanism, expectations of hassle-free returns will rise and companies that don’t offer efficient or user-friendly return policies will likely see shoppers take their business elsewhere. Now is a good time to establish your strategy and truly perfect the entire customer experience.
This concludes my top tips to keep in mind during peak season! For help with holiday ecommerce or general logistics and operations, check out our eCommerce fulfillment solutions.
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Katie WildKatie Wild is the Executive Director of Global Marketing at Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services heading up the Product Marketing & Demand Generation teams. She is focused on comprehensive go-to-market strategies. She is a self-proclaimed logistics nerd. Prior to Ingram Micro, Katie spent a number of years in logistics, as well as, healthcare.