2020 Holiday Shopping – What Retailers Need to Know

Santa Claus hand with little shopping trolley cart with stars on the red background
Featured image credit: Sinicakover/iStockphoto.com

According to one report, 66% of shoppers plan to increase their online purchases during the 2020 holiday season. Also, 39% of shoppers plan to start shopping for the holidays in October or early November. Another 30% want to start on Black Friday or Cyber Monday at the end of November. But these were projections.

And the reality is online sales on Black Friday hit $9.03 billion, a 21.6% year-over-year increase from last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

According to Salesforce report, Thanksgiving Day experienced a 20-percent uptick in online sales, and Cyber Monday digital sales in the US shot up by 10 percent compared to last year.

This means despite the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers didn’t reduce their holiday spending this year. In fact, most of the shoppers altered their shopping methods, making purchases online instead of visiting the stores.

Yet, retailers need to know how they can provide their customers with a seamless shopping experience. Below we provide some tips to help.

Get Your Website Ready for a Traffic Surge

Facing an influx of traffic to digital properties when seasonal demand cycles peak may not be new, but the prospects of online holiday shopping this year are quite good.

Salesforce predicts that there will be a new precedent in eCommerce penetration as up to 30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this holiday season.

No matter how good your deals and promotions are, if customers don’t get a good holiday shopping experience, they will feel dissatisfied.

Getting traffic on the eCommerce website is good news, but a sudden increase in traffic can also cause problems. With the sheer amount of holiday shopping, the chances of human error and slowdowns occurring are high.

So, as you prepare to put your digital properties to the test, you must toss the existing benchmarks out of the window and ensure that your website and the mobile app can withstand the forthcoming surge.

You simply cannot afford your website and app to crash when you only have digital buyers. Now, is the time to perfect your website before the Christmas season shopping frenzy begins.

Make sure none of the pages are too heavy as this can prevent quick loading. Use Google’s PageSpeedInsights or other web speed testing tools such as GTmetrix or Pingdom to identify what you need to optimize and where you need to improve.

You can even opt for a better web hosting if your budget permits it. Also, try to improve the user interface and user experience to ensure a smooth checkout. And do not forget to update your mobile app as well!


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Optimize Last-Mile Delivery

Changing customer delivery demands are forcing businesses to rethink their strategies. Many are looking for solutions to overcome last-mile delivery challenges.

For example, customers now expect prompt delivery. And, during this holiday season, your drivers may have to make tons more deliveries each day than usual at times that are convenient to the customers.

This is impossible without a delivery scheduling software. Such software will help you plan well-optimized and 100% accurate routes, while factoring in traffic congestion, weather conditions, under-construction roads, left turns, and many other factors that may negatively affect a delivery driver’s productivity.

Long story short, last-mile delivery software will ensure your routes are the fastest, shortest, and most fuel-efficient.

As a result, your drivers will be able to make more deliveries as they’ll need to cover shorter distances and you’ll save a lot of money normally spent on transportation and payroll.

The best route planners also offer a GPS tracking feature that allows you to monitor your drivers in real-time as they follow the directions from one address to another.

When your drivers know that their movements are being followed closely, they will also try not to waste company time or use the vehicle for personal conveyance.

Also, if they drive unsafely by speeding, braking harshly, or turning quickly, you’ll immediately know about it and can tell them to stop the bad behavior.

This is particularly important during the holiday season as, despite the pandemic, there could be more people on the streets.

Since there will be extra stress on your drivers during the holiday season, they may get distracted from driving which may increase the chances of accidents. The route optimization software is the perfect tool to keep your drivers distraction-free. Learn how an AI-powered driving technology can help drivers stay focused.

Also, an advanced delivery route planner like Route4Me comes with a customer portal that allows your customers to check their package delivery statuses on their own.

This ensures that the customers can pick up the packages which will reduce the chances of failed deliveries and help your drivers stay on schedule. Maintaining such transparency will also satisfy your customers.

But, that’s not all a route planner app has to offer. Here are the nine benefits of investing in dynamic routing technology.

Be Thorough with Inventory Management

According to a report, the average daily sales in the holiday season in the US was over $1 billion in 2019. Retailers need to be equipped to meet such demands this year as well.

Inventory management can be a headache. The worst possible scenario during the holiday season is not having enough popular items in stock while having too many unpopular items.

To solve the problem, you should be equipped with inventory management software. Such software will allow you to maintain just the right amount of inventory for each product. It will also send you alerts when there is over or under stocking beyond a defined threshold.

Inventory management software also generates reports. This enables you to view the sales history of your most popular products. You can even find out which items in your inventory have not reached the expected sales levels; you can then offer discounts on them to ensure profitability.

Also, if you need to manage multiple warehouses and points of sale, all locations can be integrated into a single inventory management system.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you aim to be profitable, which is only possible if your customers have a great holiday shopping experience and feel good about being associated with you as a retailer or eCommerce business. And, adopting advanced technology solutions, such as a delivery route planner app, will be your perfect companion to run a seamless operation, including vehicle routing and scheduling.

So, how do you plan to counter the upcoming holiday shopping surge? Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below.


Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.