What an Early Holiday Shopping Season Means for Supply Chains
Whether or not consumers, suppliers and retailers are ready, holiday shopping season is right around the corner! Experts predict that due to evolving shopping habits, Covid-19, a delayed Amazon Prime Day and general supply chain disruptions, consumers will start shopping for the holidays earlier than usual this year. This newly extended holiday shopping season creates many opportunities for retailers as long as they’re prepared.
One of the driving forces behind the early start to holiday shopping season is Amazon Prime Day. Supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic led Amazon to delay the event (traditionally held in July) until October of this year. Amazon Prime day acts as a catalyst for Amazon’s competitors like Target, Walmart and Best Buy to create their own limited-time offerings. Instead of pausing promotions when Amazon Prime Day ended on October 14th and restarting closer to Thanksgiving, many retailers are taking a more continuous approach. Target has promised its customers “Black Friday pricing all November” while popular hardware store Home Depot has vowed to make their offerings available until the end of December.
Companies that don’t run promotions around the time of Amazon Prime Day run the risk of a decline in business. Starting promotions after the unofficial holiday makes it harder for retailers to ensure they have enough inventory to keep their shelves stocked when they’re running low. Retailers that started early or plan to start earlier in November than Black Friday will be able to identify and keep up with new consumer shopping trends.
Popular Holiday Purchases
With so many different companies offering discounts well into the holiday season, all that’s left for consumers to do is shop. However, the pandemic is expected to have a direct impact on this year’s popular purchases. Instead of luxury items being the focal point of the holidays, consumers are gravitating towards practical purchases. Products like winter coats, snow shoes and fire pits are at the top of many lists because they enable friends and family to gather outside during colder months as social distancing efforts are still in place.
Electronics have always been a popular item on wish lists and this year they hold even more importance. With so many people still working on furnishing their home office or remote learning space, laptops, keyboards, monitors and desk decór are all in high demand this holiday season. Internationally sourced electronics will have an especially difficult time keeping up because of widespread shipping delays brought on by the pandemic.
Making the Most of the Early Holiday Season
Taking full advantage of the early start to the holiday season requires more than launching a new discount. Companies that want to stay ahead need complete visibility throughout their supply chains. Supply chain visibility makes it possible for logistics professionals to view each aspect of their supply chain in detail as moves are being planned, alerts are sent and real-time adjustments are made along the route.
Achieving true supply chain visibility starts with implementing a transportation management system (TMS). Companies that leverage a TMS are able to seamlessly rate, book and track their freight. Visibility makes it possible for users to quickly view the status of shipments and pass-along tracking information to customers and partners. With the power of a cloud-based TMS and supply chain visibility, logistics professionals can improve operational efficiencies, provide better customer service and leverage detailed analytics to make better informed decisions.