Like almost everything else this year, holiday shopping will be anything but typical. Typically, around this time, companies are and stores are already gearing up for the influx of customers in shops and stores.
Since holiday shopping — under normal circumstances — is very big business, a lot of establishments, especially in retail, depend on a strong 4th quarter sales performance to end their year and help set them up for the next.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the holiday shopping landscape will look a lot different this year. Retailers need to make the necessary adjustments to their operations if they want to hit their annual goals. They need to make sure that everything is in place, especially the eCommerce aspect of their business — from making sure their inventory is full to the RMA application processes. The adjustments that these businesses do for this non-typical holiday season will spell the difference for them this year.
A lot of people will do their shopping earlier.
Because of the pandemic, plenty of people have started preparing for the holidays a lot earlier this year. This means that a lot of folks already have their Christmas decors up and have already begun their holiday shopping to avoid and beat the crowds in stores and in online shops. Due to physical distancing, some folks have started their Christmas shopping as early as August so that they no longer need to go out and risk contracting the disease by being around crowds.
Most transactions will be done online.
Since more than half of the world is still stuck at home — students with their distance learning classes and adults working remotely — a lot of the transactions will take place online. Payments for utilities and other bills online have become the new normal. There’s still very minimal physical interaction and a lot of companies will replenish their inventories via online transactions with suppliers and logistics companies. Because of this, most businesses have made great improvements with their online systems to allow them to still take advantage of this season despite the present global health crisis.
Online sales will be greater than physical in-store shopping.
Not only are companies transacting with each other virtually to continue to provide goods and services to their consumers, but even the consumers are also transitioning to eCommerce for their holiday shopping to avoid the risk of getting infected.
While a lot of people are flocking to online retail shops, this doesn’t mean that bricks and mortars are going to lose customers. Plenty of people still prefer to do their shopping in-person but the number of buyers involved with online shopping this year will be significantly greater than in-store customers.
There will be shipping delays.
With the volume of people shopping online growing by the day, logistics and delivery companies are anticipating a heavier workload this year compared to previous years. Most of them have already taken this into consideration and already reinforced their operations.
Realistically, this expected spike in online shopping activity will inevitably create a bottleneck that will cause delays. A lot of companies such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS expect an excess of 5% of their global capacity. Some are hiring seasonal workers to help accommodate the volume but shoppers can help lighten their load and ease the bottlenecks by getting their shopping done as early as possible.
Some people will spend a lot less this year compared to previous years.
Following the economic crisis that COVID-19 brought, folks are still wary about how they will spend their money on the holidays. A lot of companies have lost significant transactions because of the lockdown season and are still trying to regain their momentum as the economies opened during the third quarter. That being said, folks are less likely to spend much this holiday season and would most probably set the money aside for more important matters.
People will think outside the box when it comes to presents.
The pandemic has caused a lot of us to look at life differently. For the first time in a long time, most of us have learned to appreciate what we have rather than whine about what we don’t. People are giving a lot of thought to the way they want to show their loved ones how much they appreciate them. For this reason, folks are carefully selecting what to get their loved ones. Some even have started to make their own presents and cards to give it a more personal touch to make it more special.
Even though things will be different this year, the holidays will still push through and people from all over the world will still celebrate it, albeit in slightly different ways. The most important thing this year is that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. It may not be the type of Christmas you have in mind but we can still make the most out of the present circumstances.