This post is part one in a two-part series. Read part two here.
The holiday season is upon us! If you’re in ecommerce, this means that you’re ready to see an increase in business.
Is your ecommerce store ready for the busy holiday season? Are you ready to fulfill all of those new orders? Most importantly, what changes do you need to make now?
Holiday Ecommerce – Looking Back and Ahead
Industry statistics show that retailers of all kinds see 20% of their annual retail sales within the weeks between Black Friday and Christmas – and over half of all shoppers will cram their shopping into the last two weeks right before Christmas.
For ecommerce retailers this means that accurately taking, fulfilling and shipping those orders is of prime importance. Customer expectations are high and there are firm deadlines for delivery in place.
In addition, the 2014 season may be even more hectic than normal. eCommerce sales are expected to increase by 8.4% this year and mobile commerce is expected to grow to 37.3%. It’s estimated that 61.9% of shoppers will be buying on mobile devices – which makes it easier to place orders and is likely to increase the total number of ecommerce orders in this year.
The previous year’s ecommerce delivery rates weren’t so hot either. Many stores including Amazon.com, Kohls and Walmart promised to deliver by December 25, 2013 – and missed those deadlines. UPS reported that they saw a last-minute shopping spike that completely overwhelmed their systems.
The pressure is on for Christmas 2014. Across the U.S., consumers are more likely to buy products online during Christmas time than any other time of the year. Web sales jumped 37% between 2012 and 2013 and if the trend continues, ecommerce sites and shipping companies will be under even more pressure to go above and beyond so people can get their purchases.
Consumer Expectations and Holiday Shopping
Since so many consumers are heading online to complete their holiday orders, it’s important for businesses to understand exactly what is expected of them when it comes to taking and fulfilling orders.
- Consumers look for “guaranteed delivery dates” when they shop – 96% of shoppers said that a guarantee of this type is essential when comparing online retailers for holiday shopping.
- Over half of shoppers are wary of order cancellations and back-order notices after experiencing these problems in 2013.
- Nearly half of all customer service calls during the holiday months are related to delivery and shipping problems.
Customers want to shop online, but have their reservations. The more that you can do to ease their worries – and have the fulfillment logistics to back up your promises – the more successful your holiday season will be.
You can read more in part two of this series here.