For small business owners, retailers and eCommerce everywhere, the holiday shopping and shipping season has already arrived. While consumers start to buy more holiday gifts early in the season, retailers need to be ready now for a smooth season. As we all know, two of the busiest days are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and typically, retailers offer increased discounts to consumers on these days. And with the pandemic causing added financial stress, consumers will be looking for the best deals which could mean an even bigger increase in shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here are some best practices and tips to help your business prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shipping now.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Predictions You Need to Know
First, let’s talk about a few important holiday sales predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As a retailer, anticipating consumer behavior will help you optimize your sales and shipping strategies. Here are some key Black Friday consumer behavior takeaways from a recent survey done by BlackFriday.com:
- 88% of respondents agree that retail stores should remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, and only 12% prefer retailers to open their doors.
- 30% of consumers want in-store doorbusters on Black Friday.
- 39% of respondents said stores can be open on Black Friday but shouldn’t have doorbusters.
- 31% of those surveyed stated they believe all stores should be closed for in-person shopping on Black Friday.
- 45.5% of shoppers surveyed do not feel safe returning to a store for holiday shopping.
- 55.5% of consumers surveyed stated they do feel safe returning to a store for holiday shopping.
Many retailers are offering online sales as well as curbside and contactless pickup options to their customers. In an additional survey on Cyber Monday also performed by BlackFriday.com and SurveyGizmo, consumers surveyed stated they are more likely to do the following this holiday season:
- 30% of consumers plan to shop Cyber Monday sales, followed by Black Friday sales (24%), Small Business Saturday sales (18%), Thanksgiving Week sales (15%) and Fall/Pre-Black Friday sales (13%).
- 56% of shoppers surveyed plan to shop online only, while only 44% plan to shop in-stores.
- 50% of those surveyed plan to use curbside and contactless pickup
- One-third of shoppers plan to start holiday shopping earlier this year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shipping
In addition to the data above, people participating in the survey were asked if they were concerned about shipping delays this holiday season. Surprisingly, over half (60%) of consumers stated they are not worried about shipping delays, followed by 28% of consumers who are concerned about shipping delays and will start shopping earlier, and 12% of consumers who are concerned but will not shop earlier.
This is a little glimmer of good news for business and eCommerce shippers. While consumers have their concerns about shopping in-stores, financial stress and public health, most are planning to make this holiday season a busy one as usual. Start preparing your holiday order fulfillment strategy early. Here are some Black Friday and Cyber Monday shipping tips to get you started:
- Inventory and Supplies are key to shipping success during the peak holiday season. Go over inventory and supply data from the previous year. What inventory sold the best and what shipping supplies did you use the most? Consider having more of these items in stock, and be sure to download our free Guide to Freight Packaging to make freight packaging a breeze.
- Communicate with your suppliers early. This is important because your suppliers will also be impacted by holiday season demand along with capacity restraints caused by the pandemic. You don’t want to be stuck without the items you need, especially during peak shipping times.
- Return policies can be a big player in customer satisfaction even when the customer is returning an item. In fact, consumers who have good return experiences are more likely to do business with you again, so use reverse logistics to your advantage.
- Prepare for disruptions to shipping and to business. With unpredictable winter weather on the way, you need to plan for potential disruptions. Go over your current disruption strategy and identify any holes or places you need to update.
- Partner with a 3PL for expert shipping and logistics help. A 3PL, like FreightCenter, can help you with all your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shipping needs, providing discounted freight rates, LTL and truckload shipping options, and access to innovative transportation management system
Work with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shipping Experts
We’ve helped thousands of businesses just like yours prepare and ship during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Our expert shipping agents can help you source capacity, find the right freight rates and track your holiday shipments and more.