Holiday shopping campaigns are starting – how can you prepare?

holiday shopping
Published on: Nov 16, 2022

It might seem early in the year, but e-commerce brands and retailers are already looking ahead to peak season 2022.

The holiday shopping season starts earlier every year. And this year brings some extra challenges, too: rising inflation, persistent supply chain problems, and an uncertain outlook.

So it’s more important than ever to prepare for success. This Golden Quarter is a big chance for e-commerce retailers to bounce back after a tough year.

We’ve picked 3 key action areas that can help you make the most of peak season 2022.


Prepare for a supply chain surge

So it’s more important than ever to prepare for success. This Golden Quarter is a big chance for e-commerce retailers to bounce back after a tough year

This year, e-commerce retailers and brands had to get smart with thr supply chains. Better tracking, communication with suppliers, exploring alternative routes, and using stores to fulfil online orders were all effective strategies.

The situation has already started to stabilize. But holiday shopping means there be a surge in demand, so your supply chains need to be ready to take the strain.

Most US consumers start their holiday shopping by early November at the latest. Then they’ll keep shopping until well into January as their attention turns from gifts to New Year sales. And over 50% of consumers now plan to do their holiday shopping online, so a lot of the pressure will land on e-commerce.

So you can expect an increased demand on your supply chains from as early as October, to as late as February. Start planning now so that you can handle the challenge as smoothly as possible.


Strengthen your returns systems

Returns are a headache for many e-commerce retailers. Just as online shopping has become more popular, returns have risen too – bringing higher costs with them.

Demand for returns is particularly high around peak season, because so many people are purchasing gifts which get exchanged or returned. And past years have shown us that the peak season for returns continues into February or even March, because there’s a time lag after the holidays and the New Year sales.

E-commerce retailers need to plan for this surge in returns:

  • Make sure that their returns policies are clear and up to date.
  • Make sure that their returns processes are ready to deal with a high volume of requests.
  • Have a plan to turn returns into repeat customers.

That final point is the most important. Research from parcelLab has shown over and over again that customers value fast, efficient, and friendly returns.

Simply updating your messaging around returns, or offering more proactive customer service, could make a big difference to your bottom line.


Check in on sustainability

Sustainability might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to holiday spending. But we know that modern US consumers care about sustainability – and they care about it all year round.

Holiday shopping involves a lot of online orders, deliveries, returns, and packaging. It’s worth looking at every step of the customer journey to see where you can make changes or show off your green credentials.

For example, you could…

  • Offer a range of delivery options, including more sustainable options.
  • Offer recyclable gift wrap and packaging options.
  • Highlight any seasonal donations or community events that your business is involved in.
  • Encourage customers to reuse packaging when they return items.
  • Share tips for recycling packaging or reducing holiday waste.

E-commerce retailers are also in a strong position to offer digital gift cards, which can have less environmental impact than delivering physical gifts. Gift cards are one of the most popular gift types with consumers and they are easy to add to your online store.

What’s the biggest challenge that your e-commerce business faces for the holiday season in 2022? Have you started preparing yet?

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