How Retailers Should Prepare for it?
For retailers, 2021 has been a challenging year. Some businesses have seen sales plummet as formerly popular product categories become less relevant to consumers who were unexpectedly stranded at home, while others have struggled to keep up with a surge in demand for gym gear, games, and home decor.
As a result of the pandemic, many customers are facing financial hardship and uncertainty, which is expected to affect seasonal buying. According to most forecasts, overall Festive spending this year would be significantly lower than the previous year. Travel and entertainment spending is expected to suffer the most cuts. Retailers should think outside the box when crafting marketing messaging to appeal to the shifts in customer preferences brought on by the epidemic and stay-at-home orders.
The kind of presents people plan to give may also be influenced by the pandemic. Consumers are increasingly drawn to casual apparel and loungewear, as well as self-care categories, games and entertainment, as they spend the majority of their time at home. These types of gifts are likely to be popular. Many consumers are also more ready than ever to shop locally, which may provide a much
needed boost to local businesses.
How Retailers Should Go for Facing the challenge.
Prepare for a high amount of traffic.
Though it is expected that overall expenditure will be down this year, fears about the virus will motivate more individuals to shop online than ever before. That means ensuring your website is ready to handle an increase of visitors is one of the most crucial things you can do to prepare for the Christmas rush. A delayed or, in the worst-case situation, a crashed website is the most likely cause of lost revenues.
Stress tests your applications as soon as possible to ensure they can handle the extra traffic and transactions expected during the shopping season. In these situations, cloud-native solutions with elastic scaling and consumption based on current load are perfect. Those that use on-premise or private cloud solutions should coordinate with internal teams or suppliers to ensure that mechanisms for managing increased load are in place.
Be open and honest about policies.
We’re all aware that the spike in demand for online delivery has resulted in shipping backlogs and delays. While most shippers are hiring extra drivers to assist meet seasonal demand, we still expect shipping times to be slower than usual in the weeks after Eid or any other occasion.
Even if you presume your consumers are aware of the pandemic’s shipping issues, it’s still crucial to be entirely upfront with them about holiday delivery expectations. Be proactive in informing them of assured delivery cut-off dates well in advance, and once those dates have passed, provide alternatives (e-gift cards or curbside pickup, for example).
This year, the volume of online orders is likely to increase, as will the volume of online returns. Make sure you have an alternative plan for this and return on factors into supply chain forecasting. Let your customers know about your return policy at the time of purchase.
Provide options for last-minute customers.
If you have a retail store, now is a good moment to adopt buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) if you haven’t already. Consumers preferred BOPIS and curbside pickup during the epidemic because it allowed them to avoid shipping expenses and delays. This is a fantastic option for last-minute shopping over the holiday season.
The pandemic has prompted retailers to be more flexible with their product lines, internet features, and marketing techniques. With the Christmas season approaching, it’s time to prepare your applications to manage more traffic and give the experiences that customers want.
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