With the Christmas shopping rush now well underway, it is clearly an incredibly busy time for firms in the retail sector, so it will be more important than ever for them to have the right systems in place.
If companies do not have the correct solutions, they may find it difficult to handle the increase in sales, so the ability to quickly scale up systems to handle the rush is vital, particularly for e-commerce companies.
According to IMRG, the first two weeks of December are set to be the busiest of the year. The firm stated £4.6 billion will be spent online in this period, with the biggest days being Monday 3rd and Monday 10th. In fact, on December 3rd – dubbed ‘Mega Monday’ – department store John Lewis reported sales of £7.3 million through its web site alone.
However, there is still great potential for firms that have not yet upgraded their solutions to get involved. Research conducted by NPD Group found only 15 per cent of consumers have completed their holiday spending, with 41 per cent having not even started theirs.
Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, said: “The positive news is with the majority of consumers still on the search for that perfect holiday gift, there is still plenty of gas left in the tank to fuel a strong holiday.”
There are several tools that retailers can use to improve their operations in the next few weeks. For instance, supply chain management software will be crucial for firms, as it will be important they have adequate inventory on hand to meet demand, while not running the risk of being overstocked, as this could cost significant amounts of money – both in terms of the storage needed and any heavy discounting that has to be applied after the holiday to clear merchandise.
Additionally, tools to effectively manage a multichannel retail environment will also be important, as large numbers of customers will interact with businesses via multiple platforms, such as online, in-store and through mobile devices. It is therefore vital businesses can offer a consistent and reliable experience whatever contact method consumers choose.