Online shopping hit $20 trillion in 2016 worldwide, but the really big money was spent in the last four months of the year. In Asia Pacific 40% of online sales* were generated between October and December. 2017’s year-end shopping spree is set to break new records – are you prepared?
By Charles Brewer, CEO DHL eCommerce.
You might think Christmas is the highlight of the retailing calendar. But when it comes to e-commerce, the biggest online shopping sprees start in October. From India’s Diwali sale, to China’s Singles Day, through to Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US, billions will be spent online in the coming months.
Running from October 18-22, Diwali symbolizes the victory of good over evil and sees families coming together to light lamps as a sign of celebration and hope. This year, India’s two biggest e-commerce giants Flipkart and Amazon, will be turning Diwali into an online shopping frenzy. Indian e-tailers could ship as many as 35-40 million products over the Diwali period.
Taking off like a rocket
The biggest shopping day of the year in China is Singles Day on November 11. Established in the 1990s, it’s turned into a massive shopping bonanza for e-commerce giant Alibaba, clocking up some $17.8 billion in sales last year over 24 hours.
108.5 million Americans shopped online over the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend
Over in the US, the big year-end shopping sprees are Black Friday and Cyber Monday on November 25 and 27. The National Retail Federation estimated that 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend, much more than the 99.1 million who hit the stores.
Preparing for the boom
It’s an exciting time for shoppers, but an extremely challenging one for e-tailers. How can they cope with the massive increase in sales volumes?
Planning a shipping strategy in advance is crucial, as well as being aware of domestic deadlines, especially when it comes to cross border orders. Understanding tariffs, taxes and duty payments is critical. All of which need to be sorted out well in advance of the peak holiday shopping season.
Making sure sales and fulfillment teams are ready and prepared is also vital. Sales teams need to make sure the orders reach fulfillment fast and the warehouse team needs to be certain there’s enough stock available and enough employees around to pick and pack it. Even couriers need to be prepared for the peak to ensure the goods are delivered before customers can change their minds about their impulse bargain buys.
How can e-tailers cope with the massive increase in sales volumes?
Getting the basics in place
Online stores also need to have their returns policy in place in time for the holiday shopping bonanza. Will they be offering free shipping, even for cross border orders? And what about packaging? It’s vital that the goods arrive in perfect condition and that the price is right for the sizes they’re sending.
These are all areas where DHL can help. Our unparalleled worldwide network provides cross-border shipping, fulfillment and last mile domestic delivery services, all helping us to deliver the smile in the last mile to very bargain-hungry online shoppers.
So, get prepared, this year’s ‘peak’ is sure to be significantly bigger than last year – are you ready?
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