The fourth quarter is undoubtedly the most challenging time of year for retailers and shippers. Here are four ways to navigate Q4 2021.
Christmas in July
There are only a few months left for e-commerce sellers to prepare for the busiest time of the year. Many are getting a head start on holiday planning.
We’re halfway to the holidays! There are only a few months left for e-commerce sellers to prepare for the busiest time of the year, yet many are getting a head start on holiday sales by taking advantage of a tradition known as Christmas in July. While many traditional holidays are celebrated in December featuring cold, winter weather, for the southern hemisphere, these events fall right in the middle of summer. For those in the northern hemisphere, Christmas in July is a fun-themed tradition to keep the magic of the holidays (and spending habits) alive during hot, sunny July. A variety of holiday-themed activities and entertainment, including small gatherings, seasonal music and specials, and, of course, shopping, are planned to get the public in the spirit of Christmas during the summer months. It is a way to get in on some sales before the busy holiday season.
As mentioned before, for e-commerce businesses, July is about preparing for the busy season. With inflation in America at its most extreme in more than 40 years, the big question remains if consumers will focus on purchases they really need vs want as prices get more expensive. During this period, businesses can test logistics and shipping concerns in advance, see customers' reactions to promotional costs and shipping charges, and determine what inventory consumers will require.
Here are three ways utilizing a Christmas in July promotion can help ease some of the holiday burdens:
Shipping Surcharges: During the busy season, from October to January, shipping rates tend to increase. Peak season surcharges are implemented by carriers as a means of reducing operational costs when there is an increase in demand. In 2021, e-commerce holiday sales made up almost 21% of total retail spending. By running sales now, during Christmas in July, sellers can avoid peak season surcharges from carriers, and customers can save money on shipping orders.
Inventory Planning: With the expansion of e-commerce, consumers and retailers alike are becoming more comfortable with spending money online. The use of early holiday promotions allows retailers to pace themselves during the hectic holiday season by registering interest in advance. By doing so, they will be able to apply the appropriate amount of inventory and space when the time comes. Preventing problems later in the year can be accomplished by planning inventory during the summer.
Package Protection: During the holidays and busy season, delivered packages increase, and so do porch pirates. Unfortunately, sellers can’t really stop the poachers, but you can beat them to the punch. While packages go missing all year long, by encouraging early holiday shopping with deals and promotions during the summer season, sellers can reduce the risk of porch pirates stealing gifts during the holiday season, when dealing with missing packages can clog up an already busy supply chain. Additionally, shippers can save themselves heavy expenses that come with stolen orders by taking advantage of tools such as package insurance, automated tracking emails, and signature confirmation. Getting these items in place early means there is plenty of time to test these features before it matters most.
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Christmas in July, while a bit silly, is an effective reminder that consumers want something to celebrate, and celebrations lead to more spending. It has been a trying time the last few years and getting the chance to focus on the holidays, even in summer. Pay attention to consumer desires. Remind consumers that the holidays are coming sooner than they think and that now is the right time to make plans for the future.