Retailers must plan for big November and Christmas Day sales

Online retail sales in November will outstrip December this year, while Christmas Day will grow as an important shopping day in its own right, according to James and James Fulfilment (based in Ohio).

The eCommerce fulfilment specialist analysed order data from hundreds of online retailers it works with, to uncover the trends in a new infographic.

Key findings and predictions from the James and James data include:

  • November online sales could grow nearly 60% year-on-year, as Black Friday to Cyber Monday deals spread out throughout the month, becoming bigger than December.
  • Friday 21 December – the last day for guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery – is likely to see a spike in panic buying online.
  • Christmas Day orders exceeded Boxing Day orders in 2017, with consumers only taking a break from online shopping at dinner time.
  • Christmas Day will be one of 2018’s biggest shopping days, alongside Black Friday (23 November), Cyber Monday (26 November) and Green Monday (10 December).
  • The hard work will continue well into the New Year for online retailers, with returns expected to hit their peak in the third week of January.

James Hyde, Co-founder of James and James, says: “The ever-longer Black Friday to Cyber Monday period is a boon for consumers, but can pose a real headache for retailers.”

“Not only do they now have to prepare for all of the key shopping dates in November, they have to run their operations at full capacity throughout the festive break and into January, as consumers’ appetite for mobile shopping deals – and the returns this creates – grows.”

To help retailers get ready, James and James has created a free white paper – Plan for Peak: Maximising Your Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Christmas Sales. It outlines the four key steps that retailers can take in the run up to November and beyond:

  1. Understand dates: as well as the big shopping days in the retail holiday calendar, there are manufacturer, warehouse and courier deadlines to consider.
  2. Review operations: now is the time for retailers to identify pinch points that prevent them getting the right order to the right customer in the shortest possible time.
  3. Reduce returns: there are simple steps that can reduce return rates even at the busiest times – or at least turn returns into a positive experience for customers.
  4. Outsource fulfilment: for retailers who want to take the stress out of peak season, letting someone else handle storage, pick and pack, and returns is a safe option.

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