August has come and gone, and while for some, it's the last month before school starts, for others it was the first week back. Either way, people took big advantage of end-of-summer sales. We've done our homework and we're ready to tackle the upcoming peak season. Here is some industry news from last month.
Ahead of the start of school, back-to-school shopping was in full swing. As the second most significant shopping event of the year, following the winter holidays, summer sales are the high point for those shopping back-to-school. In the news, Uber Eats partnered with Office Depot to deliver on-demand office and school supplies in an effort to diversify its delivery beyond takeout and grocery. Uber has acquired a number of startups like Postmates to help broaden its selection and compete with rivals. Back-to-school spending is expected to reach an all-time high of $37.1 billion, with the top categories being electronics and apparel, according to the National Retail Federation. Preparing your shipping strategy for the back-to-school season can be tough. That’s why in August, DesktopShipper and Pitney Bowes released the Back-to-School Shipping Guide to help e-commerce retail shippers navigate this busy season. Read it now for free!
Pricing Issues and Strategies
According to experts, the US Consumer Price Index has been rising faster than expected. Consumers are spending more and more on necessities, which leads to consumers buying fewer items from fewer retailers. Rob Garf, VP of Salesforce explains that this is a signal for a larger consumer behavioral shift to values and convenience. Retailers must consider finding channels to work symbiotically to attract and retain loyal shoppers. Because of inflation, consumers are likely to shop for holiday gifts earlier this year when costs are relatively lower. One of the things to keep in mind is delivery speed, in addition to costs. For frequent online shoppers, delivery speed is just as important as shipping cost. According to X Delivery’s "State of Shipping" report, 62% of shoppers expect free shipping to arrive in less than 3 business days. X Delivery also reports that 54% of abandoned carts are blamed on delivery concerns. While consumers want free shipping, they are not opposed to paying for faster shipping, so long as it does not cost more than $7. While the price of necessities has risen, consumers are taking every consideration into their purchases, and that includes shipping.
Fraud cost e-commerce merchants $27 billion last year, reports Retail TouchPoints. This is especially because fraudsters have gotten more and more sophisticated. But retailers are focusing on the wrong priority when it comes to fighting fraud. If all the time is devoted to stopping fraud, then you lose out on customer relationships. By framing the fight against fraud within the context of customer relationships, retailers can focus their time, money, and energy on building customers' trust. Protecting your business is important, but not at the expense of real, paying customers.
Preparing for peak season
As we prepare for the coming months, experts predict what this year's peak season will bring. The last few years struggled with limited capacity and earlier ordering activity. Although the pandemic e-commerce buzz has ebbed, shipping costs are still elevated. According to experts on Supply Chain Dive, getting ahead of the curve will be essential: "For peak 2022, an important strategy is for shippers to start early on their forecasts and work with the last-mile delivery providers to ensure they have capacity allocated for the expected volumes." Forbes reported recently that the Amazon Effect, or, the ongoing disruption of the offline retail industry resulting from the increased use of e-commerce, has forced sellers and carriers to offer faster shipping and lower pricing. Year over year, this has compelled carriers to increase surcharges, which peak during busy periods in October-January. Keeping an eye on invoices, reducing package sizes to eliminate waste, and switching to a multi-carrier strategy are just a few of the ways businesses can decrease shipping charges in Q4. With our real-time rate shopping feature, DesktopShipper can provide you with the right shipping rates for your unique business needs.