With all the uncertainty in the world, one thing we can always count on is the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It’s a time of normalcy and nostalgia for many—finding the perfect gift, getting up early to beat the lines on Black Friday, or scrolling for deals during Cyber Week.
Here’s a look at some of the 2022 predictions and how an OMS can help retailers capitalize on these holiday spending trends.
2022 Retail Holiday Sales Predictions
Spending windows will increase
Last year we saw retailers extending their Cyber Week deals to be more like Cyber Month deals. Concerned about supply chain delays and delivery uncertainties, consumers appreciated these extended deadlines as they started their holiday shopping in the fall.
The same looks to be true for 2022. When surveyed, 57% of buyers say they will start their holiday shopping in early November (with 36% planning to shop even earlier in September/October) [Google Research].
The moral of the story? Brands that get ready for the holidays early will come out as the winners in 2022.
Omnichannel is a must
While ecommerce is having its day in the sun, don’t count brick-and-mortar out just yet. In 2021, physical store revenue outpaced ecommerce sales for the first time ever recorded. And many experts believe the 2022 holiday season will set the stage for what the “new post-pandemic" normal is for holiday shopping.
According to Coveo’s 2022 Holiday Shopping Report, 54% of shoppers say they’re likely to look at a product online and buy it in-store and 53% say they will look at a product in-store and buy it online. Consumers expected more than ever for their physical and online experience to be seamless—making omnichannel strategies even more important for brands.
And remember, omnichannel strategies also include providing easy and convenient returns. In the same Holiday Shopping Report, 35% of shoppers said they won’t shop at a brand with restrictive return policies.
By the numbers:
While overall holiday sales are expected to climb above 2021 numbers, it won’t be as dramatic as the growth we’ve seen in previous years.
- E-commerce is predicted to grow +4.2% YOY (compared to a +15% growth in 2021) [Mastercard Spending Pulse]
- In-store sales expected to grow +7.9% YOY [Mastercard Spending Pulse]
- Holiday sales overall are likely to increase between 4% and 6% [Deloitte’s Holiday retail forecast]
- 74% of shoppers say they will spend the same or more than they did in 2021 but will do more research to find better deals.
6 Ways an OMS Can Help Retailers Prepare for Holiday 2022
Now that we’ve walked through the predictions, what can retailers and brands do to help them have a successful holiday season? With labor still being hard to find (and expensive to train) and consumer expectations at an all-time high, brands need to lean on their technology to help them navigate peak seasons. Here’s how an order management system can help brands prep for the holidays.
1. Do more with less
Every moment is critical when fulfilling an order. An order management system allows retailers to automate up to 98% of order processes, saving countless hours of manual work. Employees are no longer buried in administrative tasks but can focus on serving their customers well.
2. Offer convenient delivery methods
Consumers want options when it comes to delivery. Some want their item in 3 days or less, some prefer to pick it up at the store or curbside, and some change their mind mid-process. (They didn’t realize they’d be right next to your retail store when they selected home delivery). With an OMS, retailers can highlight all the available delivery methods right on your storefront as well as make any last-minute changes.
3. Extend holiday sales / deadlines
While many shoppers plan to get a jump start on their holiday shopping, we can’t forget about those last-minute shoppers. Highlighting which items you can offer via in-store pickup or curbside gives brands the ability to nab those last-minute shoppers or provides the option to extend promotions “in-store only”.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to promote your digital items (e-gift cards, ebooks, extended warranties, etc.) as they make great last-minute add-ons.
4. Have a centralized view of your inventorySixty percent of logistics professionals are concerned again this year about inventory shortages making it more important than ever to have insight into all inventory sources.
When brands have clear visibility into all their inventory, they can make better business decisions. Knowing how much is allocated to which selling channel or how much is available at each fulfillment center gives retailers the ability to move inventory to where they need it most. For example, your OMS allows you to allocate more inventory to a channel that’s selling faster than anticipated or showcase on your storefront what items are available at local stores.
5. Meet your delivery deadlines
One in three shoppers says they expect their ecommerce holiday gifts to be delivered in 2-3 days according to Radial’s customer insights study. Which makes it no surprise that 82% of logistics professionals are worried about missing delivery windows this year.
Set capacity levels at each fulfillment center (whether that’s a warehouse or a retail store) so as to not overwhelm the facility and staff and meet fulfillment KPIs.
6. Keep your customers informed about their order
There’s peace of mind that comes with staying informed. And in arguably one of the most stressful times of the year for people, communication is key to building consumer loyalty.
Let customers know when their order was shipped, when it’s on the way, and delivered. Over communicating is better than silence (no one complains about getting their tracking number). With an OMS, these communications can be automated to keep customers informed about their order every step of its journey.
While the holiday season may be stressful to some, it doesn’t have to be for retailers. Retailers that invest in their technology can provide their customers with the most wonderful shopping experience of the year.