KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Radial, the leader in omnichannel commerce technology and operations, today announced the results of a consumer insights study which surveyed 1,000+ consumers across the United States to determine their holiday shopping plans. Radial uncovered that despite the impact of COVID-19, shoppers do not plan to significantly change their holiday spend compared to 2019. However, the data did reveal a stronger preference for online shopping, with 66% of shoppers anticipating they will increase their online purchases during the 2020 holiday season.
While consumers are shopping more online, the survey found their habits aren't changing significantly in terms of how much they plan to spend on holiday gifts and when they plan to buy. This means the 2020 holiday season will look as busy as ever – and even more hectic when it comes to the demands on ecommerce driving the need for scalability amongst retailers. This could spell disaster for many retailers and brands who have been facing incredibly high levels of ecommerce demand ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 but have not prepared to offset that demand and scale through omnichannel solutions.
"The 2020 holiday season will reward omnichannel retailers. Instead of the recurring and seasonal demand cycles retailers are used to, in the wake of COVID-19, brands must contend with consistent high demand for ecommerce year-round. This year, peak season levels essentially started in March," said Tim Hinckley, Chief Commercial Officer for Radial. "Retailers must leverage unique strategies like using stores as fulfillment centers and creative order management techniques paired with advanced technology in order to keep deliveries flowing by embracing curbside pickup and other emerging consumer expectations."
To put the high demand into context, across the Radial client network there was a 70% spike in online orders during April 2020, compared to April 2019 levels. In May 2020, orders were up 218% YoY. In fact, during this two-month period the amount of orders more than doubled from 2019. While the Peak season takes place over a five-week period, in comparing it to the period in April and May 2020, there were 1 million more orders shipped than the 2019 Peak season underscoring the unprecedented high-levels of demand.
Given the continued high demands and online orders retailers will experience, scaling up for peak season will be more difficult than in years past. Specifically, the survey found:
The pressure is on for retailers to meet the demands of the holiday season, but there is some good news: consumer expectations have eased up in terms of what's an "acceptable" delivery time. While a Radial survey in 2018 found that in the U.S., over a third of consumers (34.6%) expected to receive packages in two days or less, this 2020 survey found only 14% expect their holiday gifts within two days. What is considered a reasonable timeframe for holiday gift deliveries has shifted, with 50% of respondents saying 5 days for delivery is reasonable, and 28% stating one week was acceptable. This leeway in delivery expectations will allow retailers to focus on implementing practices that prioritize COVID-19 safety precautions and help them manage the influx of orders.
Ahead of the holidays, retailers typically have more time for planning, re-stocking, product updates and more. This year, due to the consistently high volume of online orders, that won't be the case. Managing inventory and deliveries will require a strong omnichannel fulfillment strategy. Retailers should consider strategies like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and buy online, pick up at curb (BOPAC), which ensure a safe transaction during COVID-19 and provide shoppers with immediate gratification and products in-hand instantly.
For retailers struggling to keep up with deliveries, Radial offers support with more than 11.7 million square feet of purpose-built warehouse space to increase order fulfillment capacity, seasonal pop up locations, innovative technology, and proprietary fulfillment & transportation solutions. From order management to fulfillment and customer care, Radial arms retailers with the tools they need to keep up with the current ecommerce climate and drive ROI – all while lowering peak season costs. To learn more about how retailers can scale operations to meet increasing demand, please visit the Radial website.
Radial, Inc., a bpost group company, is the leader in omnichannel commerce technology and operations. Premier brands around the world confidently partner with Radial to deliver their brand promises, anticipate and respond to industry disruption, and compete in a rapidly evolving market. Radial's innovative solutions connect retailers and customers through advanced omnichannel technologies; intelligent payments and fraud protection; efficient fulfillment, supply chain services; and insightful customer care services – especially where high-value customer experiences are critical. We are flexible, scalable, and focused on our clients' business objectives. Learn how we deliver today's retail for you at radial.com and follow us on Twitter @radialcorp.
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