Christmas may still be months away, but smart retailers are gearing up for the 2017 holiday shopping season now.
The 2016 holiday season wasn’t cause for celebration for many major retailers. While overall ecommerce sales generated $91.7 billion (an 11 percent increase from 2015), some retailers saw a significant drop in sales.
The culprit? Industry experts blame factors like the explosion of mobile commerce and changing consumer tastes and spending patterns. While those factors definitely contribute, another important reason behind declining retail sales is heightened consumer demand for wide product selections and fast shipping – and retailers’ failure to keep up.
Fortunately, there are strategies retailers can implement now that can help mitigate some of these issues come November.
How retailers can prepare for the 2017 holiday season
As consumer demand for faster shipping and greater product choices grows, retailers can no longer afford to rely on traditional shipment and fulfillment strategies. Retailers need to experiment with new tactics to meet changing consumer needs or risk another disappointing holiday season.
- Expand assortment through drop shipping: In an Amazon-dominant world, consumers expect wider product selections from retailers. But before blindly investing in costly inventory, consider more cost-effective strategies like drop shipping.
Drop ship enables brands and suppliers to ship products directly to consumers, allowing you to skip the upfront inventory investment. Smart retailers then utilize market data to determine which brands and products are worth adding to their assortments, and which to avoid.
- Grow demand: Experiment now with new sales channels and marketing strategies to gain visibility and grow demand before November.
For some retailers, this means expanding on marketplaces to gain greater visibility and offer customers an additional channel to engage with your business. For others, it means implementing new marketing strategies, such as digital ads and paid search.
- Offer fast shipping: Thanks to Amazon, the modern consumer expects fast shipping. Perfect your shipping strategies now, so you don’t lose customers over the holiday season due to delayed shipping.
Drop shipping is a great way to ensure faster shipping, as the process involves brands or suppliers directly shipping products to your customers. Other ways retailers can improve shipping speed involve using technology that offers a clear view into the entire supply chain. That way you can monitor shipments, flag late deliveries and choose the lowest cost shipping option for each customer while still meeting your delivery promise.
Why the right commerce technology is crucial
Retailers understand the benefits of these strategies, but many lack the resources to execute them on their own. Thankfully there are tools available for retailers to connect with suppliers and brands to quickly expand product assortment and gain greater visibility into the supply chain.
Don’t get caught off guard this holiday season. Take the time to meet changing consumer demands now to maximize sales come November. For most retailers, this means investments in the right commerce technologies.
Take advantage of CommerceHub’s solutions for retailers today.