Peak shipping season. These three words can evoke excitement or stress for many retailers, and sometimes both. Shopping during this time of year can account for 40% of annual sales for retailers. This puts stress on ensuring inventory is in stock, e-commerce sites are ready to handle the influx in shoppers and warehouses can optimize fulfillment. While retailers will typically look to last year’s peak shipping season as a way to plan for the next year, 2020’s holiday shopping season is different.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the brick and mortar store closures it caused, retailers have already experienced some peak shipping season sales this year. While at the time this was a stressful event managing reduced workforces and an influx of customer orders with little time to prepare, retailers can take these lessons learned and increase efficiencies ahead of the 2020 holiday season.
Some of these “areas for improvement” are new challenges that arose from COVID-19. Before the pandemic, retailers didn’t think about social distancing requirements or what would occur if warehouse labour was greatly reduced. Now, they must learn to adapt to these new challenges and new consumer demands that arose from the pandemic.