Halloween Supply Chain: 3 Treats To Sweeten Your Business
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 2023 Halloween spending is anticipated to reach a record $12.2 billion. That’s a scary amount of money spent on candy, costumes and decorations. There’s no doubt Halloween is a treat for many, but it can also be a spooky time of year for keeping store shelves stocked.
Is your business ready to handle the impact of influencers, surges in demand, and waves of shoppers? Let’s dust off the cobwebs and shine a lantern on three tips that can sweeten your business.
#1 Anticipate Volatility
If you think ghosts, monsters, and witches are the scariest things about Halloween, think about the amount of neon skater Barbies and Kens we will jump from the shadows. Will there be enough costumes to meet demand? Or will a specific candy get a celebrity endorsement on social media, and with it, a ghastly surge in popularity?
“During these times of seasonality, it is all about predicting trends,” said Sadi Fieldsend, Managing Director at PwC. “Leveraging historic weather trends to predict candy and pumpkin spice latte sales, and social media trends to predict costume preferences are just a couple of ways advanced analytics and machine learning can be applied to Halloween.”
With seasonal and regional demand fluctuations, supply chains need sophisticated forecasting techniques to anticipate demand to confirm customers aren’t left empty-handed and retailers aren’t left with a overloaded inventory they cannot move.
“During the holiday season, some of the more common supply chain challenges tend to be inventory shortages and/or inventory bloat,” said Fieldsend. “These challenges in addition to managing the peak demands of the seasonality workforce supporting the execution of the supply chain can cause additional pressure on the end-to-end process.”
Agile and responsive planning creates the risk resilience required to handle unexpected tricks or treats that jump from the shadows.
“Allowing for the sourcing of raw materials, the manufacturing time, the shipping time, and the “popularity effect” of the coolest costume to make it nearly impossible to achieve complete perfection with supply chain predictions, but SAP solutions and intelligence around AI help drive efficiencies through every step of the process,” said Fieldsend.
#2 Embrace Ethical Standards
As governments ‘encourage’ the use of sustainable materials and make single-use plastics a nightmare of the past, businesses take more responsibility for knowing where their materials came from and where it ends up—long after leaving the factory floor. To stay competitive and fulfill the expectations of conscious consumers, businesses should adapt their production practices to align with sustainability goals.
How can businesses ensure Halloween costumes and candy are ethically sourced and manufactured, enabling sustainability every step of the way, and delivered through a supply chain that leaves behind minimal waste and emissions, confirming they won’t meet a haunting fate in a landfill?
The answer is a digital supply chain.
Transparent supplier relationships and traceability helps reduce the fears of unethical practices, allowing consumers to indulge in guilt-free treats.
“Modern supply chain technologies from companies like SAP help businesses track their carbon footprint from raw material sourcing to the store,” said Fieldsend. “Feeding that information back to the design process to adjust their designs and manufacturing processes to meet their environmental, social, and governance goals.”
#3 Collaborate with Business Partners
Collaborating with business partners is the key for businesses to run an efficient flow of goods, information, and services throughout the supply chain, ultimately leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.
“It is sometimes hard to imagine the impact of chocolate as a ‘raw material’ to a bite-size candy bar, or the popularity surge of a new movie to the color of pink dye, or that our weather may impact the price of the pumpkin sitting by my doorstep,” said Fieldsend. “This connected network of raw materials, processes, entities, and people are what helps the magic of Halloween come alive.”
Navigating through a web of logistical challenges requires a business network of suppliers, logistics providers, and other partners to confirm an efficient flow of ghoulish goods, information, and services throughout the supply chain.
Let’s make sure to keep the ghosts, goblins, Barbies and Kens happy this Halloween.
To embrace the spirit of risk-resilience, and conquer these terrifying supply chain nightmares, make sure to read the Oxford Economics Research report.