During the holidays, retail giants and eCommerce giants alike are curious about what the holiday season will have in store in terms of supply chains, shopping habits, and more.
Clint George, the CEO and Founder of Brand Focus Digital shares the top trends in eCommerce during the holidays for buyers and vendors to look out for.
The main challenges with eCommerce and the holidays are carrier issues and labor shortages. “From my experience with how things have been moving, customers should order gifts early,” says Mr. George.
Mr. George recommends that if products a consumer wants are in stock, they should order them now as they are likely to go out of stock and not be back in stock before Christmas due to supply chain issues.
“An example of this is using Amazon partnered carriers. Our clients pay the shipping on bulk product orders to get them from their warehouse to Amazon’s network of warehouses, and ultimately this allows for the 1-2 day prime shipping to the end-use consumer,” says Mr. George.
Amazon pre-negotiates the rates to be the lowest in the industry. This is great until a labor shortage affects every sector, including transportation carriers, and the shipping rates have gone way up.
“In August, for example, a client of mine used Amazon partnered carriers for their shipment as they have always done. Their shipment went to bid per normal, but no Amazon carriers bid as they could work directly with manufacturers and gain a higher rate. The order was “locked” to an Amazon partnered carrier, but no carrier was assigned to pick the order up,” says Mr. George.
Amazon doesn’t allow people to change carriers simply. So this order stayed in the system for over two weeks until a help ticket unlocked it and allowed George to use one of the vendor’s known carriers, at a higher rate, but where they knew the PO would be picked up on time. This cost the vendor two weeks of sales at least as the current inventory at Amazon sold out before the new shipment was delivered.
According to Mr. George and his extensive team of experts at Brand Focus Digital, they expect labor shortages will continue into Q1 of 2022, continuing to affect warehousing, transportation in terms of carrier’s both delivering to warehouses and consumers, and labor in stores making eCommerce more attractive for consumers to do their shopping early for the holidays.
Getting products to the Amazon marketplace or any marketplace quickly is key for success for any eCommerce business. Amazon has shaped consumer habits to expect 1-2 day shipping and free shipping with Prime. This has influenced every other site that sells products online, as consumers now expect this.
“Our role has always been to cut down this learning curve for Amazon, which speeds up the products getting to the virtual shelf much more quickly. Thus this reduces the time to get the products selling and helps companies more efficiently sell products with speed,” says Mr. George.
Mr. George further advises that vendors order products for fulfillment this year eight weeks in advance, before the holidays. Recently, Amazon’s site was having issues; their internal vendor sites were down; as well as any company using their AWS service had the same problems (i.e., Netflix, others).
With that, Mr. George suggests that vendors and shoppers stay on top of their business this holiday season due to this year’s uncertainty. For vendors, reviews impact products year-round and not just during the holidays. However, since Amazon’s traffic increases during the holidays and Amazon sees “one-time per year” shoppers during the holidays, the reviews are crucial for comparisons.
If a customer is comparing two products with zero or very few reviews, compared to one product with 1,000 four-star reviews, the customer will likely purchase the second product over the first.
For more tips on eCommerce and Amazon, visit Brand Focus Digital.
About Brand Focus Digital
Located in the Seattle area within the shadows of Amazon. Our team of experts has decades of combined eCommerce, Amazon, and industry experience to increase your reach and drive your sales.
Clint George, the Founder and CEO of our business served as a Vendor Manager at Amazon for over five years. While responsible for sales and operations of the company’s North American Grocery business, a few of Clint’s honorable accomplishments include:
Assuming management responsibilities of over $50 million in annual sales, growing at a rate of 80% YOY across six product categories. Leading a successful launch of new and unique products to market using creative targeted marketing techniques to see an increase of over 1240% within this category. Managing successful distributor launches of the 3rd largest distributor within the U.S., bringing over 8,200 new items to the Grocery and Gourmet store.
With Clint leading Brand Focus Digital, he showers his expertise upon other team members, making Brand Focus Digital strategically positioned to help clients achieve their goals and realize their business outcomes.
Brand Focus Digital can help improve the visibility of your eCommerce company, reach more buyers in your industry and drive your sales through the roof.