Why go to the mall when online has it all?
That appears to be the thinking of increasing numbers of U.S. consumers. Analysts are forecasting that shoppers will do as much as 50 percent of their shopping online.
“Now it’s as much a matter of convenience as it is price,” said Rodney R. Sides, the head of the U.S. retail and distribution practice for Deloitte Consulting LLP in New York.
The data tells the tale. Statistics from the National Retail Federation indicate that holiday sales could be $655.8 billion for the months of November and December, up by 3.6 percent from 2015. Notably, $117 billion of that will be in online and non-store purchases — that’s up about 10 percent from last year, according to business reporters at the Tampa Bay Times.
Savvy businesses who sell online are gearing up for the growth. Many retailers are offering free delivery along with in-store and curbside pickup options.
“We continue to move from brick-and-mortar toward click-and-order,” explained John A. Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas (yes, a great company name for the holidays). “That means that brick-and-mortar fulfillment facilities need seasonal workers.”
A growing number of companies who sell online, however, are leaving the seasonal workers to an outside fulfillment company. Companies like Red Stag Fulfillment, which handles warehousing and shipping for online sellers, already know what’s ahead.
Red Stag Fulfillment is offering tips for businesses who want to get up to speed now for the coming digital deluge.
One tip? Getting fulfillment help and commitments to meet customers demand.
“A shelf space shortage at your fulfillment center could leave your products sitting in pallets on the loading dock when they should be picked, packed, and shipped,” notes Red Stag. “Ask your fulfillment center for a dock-to-stock time guarantee to make sure not a single order is delayed because of warehouse stocking backlogs.”
Red Stag has many more tips for holiday fulfillment planning here