Can retailers deliver this Christmas?

Christmas scramble as second wave of COVID-19 drives consumers online-only 

Online sales will be critical to retailers’ survival over the festive period, as the second-wave of COVID-19 measures hit, according to new research from logistics platform 7bridges and YouGov.
In the white paper, Holiday Horror?: How to avoid the trading pitfalls of a COVID Christmas, 7bridges lays out consumers’ Christmas preferences and the key levers brands should pull around delivery and returns to make sure they attract customers during this critical period.

The shift to online shopping presents a massive opportunity for retailers to claw back vital revenue in ‘golden quarter’ sales, across Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year.
This consumer shift to online shopping is also a significant challenge for retailers to meet increased demand. During the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions, half of retail businesses ran out of stock items while over a quarter were unable to fulfil sales due to logistics failures. 
Disruption during the most important retail period of the year would be disastrous for those without robust logistics operations. However, just 30% of retailers say they would be able to adapt quickly if their primary warehouse was forced to shut down, while 22% would not be able to operate at all.
Phil Ashton, CEO of 7bridges, said: “Our research shows the many ways that retail businesses suffered during the early months of the pandemic, in particular, due to the vulnerabilities in their logistics.

“It also demonstrates how incredibly valuable online shoppers will be during 2020’s ‘golden quarter’, and the high levels or service that these consumers are seeking. Retailers need to mitigate supply chain risks and swiftly adapt to the demands of their target consumers in order to compete with the dominant players in the ecommerce space.”

Brand recommendations

  • Re-purpose high street stores to improve online sales fulfilment and reduce costs
  • Challenge Amazon’s dominance by improving online customer experience
  • Diversify supply chains

What customers want:

  • 93% – influenced by free delivery
  • 80% – hassle-free returns
  • 62% – GenZ want minimal packaging
  • 169% – more spend online compared to in-store
  • 225% – more online spend with lesser-known brands who have hassle-free returns

Featured image: freestocks / Unsplash