A guide to eCommerce Supply Chain Management for the upcoming Holiday Season

A guide to eCommerce Supply Chain Management for the upcoming Holiday Season

During the holiday season sale, ecommerce websites see up to 63.3% more website visits than expected. Shopping for this year’s holiday season is set to begin earlier than normal, with the outbreak of COVID-19. Reports suggest that, around 72% of shoppers believe that the holidays are going to be different than what they have seen in the past due to the widespread unemployment and a recession which can lead to constrained expenditure for many shoppers. In 2019 , a consumer spent an average of $1,048 for items such as home decorations, gifts, and other purchases for themselves or their families. Now, in 2020, Despite the ongoing pandemic, shoppers around the globe are finding ways to safely mark the occasion. Regardless of how people plan to celebrate this holiday season, brands should be prepared to safely serve customers to meet their holiday needs.

Every holiday is an opportunity to drive sales, while some of these holiday seasons might not be for every business, but in order to succeed, brands need to have an understanding about leveraging holiday seasons. Otherwise, they will end up scrambling at the last second to throw something together which will result in disappointing sales. As the holiday season opens up a massive opportunity for a brand in bringing more customers and making them keep coming back for more. Before optimising  supply chain management for the upcoming holiday season let us have an understanding about consumer behaviour this year.

Factors Impacting Purchase

As businesses are expecting to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic and start 2021 with a positive note. Numerous shoppers are looking forward to sending gifts to their loved ones they haven’t seen all year, but what influences shoppers purchasing decisions? That’s the million-dollar question. Based on the survey of PowerReviews on nearly  5,383 consumers, we have your answer. The below image helps in understanding the driving factors of shoppers, such as price, rating and reviews, shipping costs, speed of shipping, trustworthiness of brand,. Etc.

Factors Impacting Purchase​

When does a consumer start purchases?

Consumer holiday shopping timeline: Let us now have a look at when can a brand expect consumers to start holiday shopping this year? When can a brand expect to have the majority of holiday merchandise in stock? And When do a brand plan to start advertising their holiday sales and promotions this year? The below image will answer the above questions. With the help of the below data, it is clear that the majority of consumers start their shopping from October.


Surge in Online Shopping:

This year has been dreadful than any other year in the past, whether it be for businesses or consumers. In the coming months businesses and shoppers are looking forward to the holiday season more than ever. As brands are hoping to make up for lost revenue due to pandemic. As we move forward in the future, we can see a surge in Ecommerce when it comes to retail which would have a great impact on the 2020 holiday season. The below image shows that around 64% of respondents believe that online shopping will increase this year, check the below image to get a better understanding. 

Holiday shopping stats

Now that we have understood about the preferences from a customers perspective, let us have an understanding about the challenges faced in cross-border. The below image shows the challenges faced by supply chain operators. This data is based on a survey conducted on 195 respondents, which shows that nearly 46% of the respondents are facing challenges related to delivery, while 24% are facing challenges related to returns and nearly 22% are facing challenges relating to working with partners across borders.

Challenges in cross-border ecommerce

In today’s global marketplace, the effects of a disaster can be felt throughout the supply chain long after an event takes place. While some are finding the best way to manage a supply chain disruption, others are utilising it to the fullest. Now let us have an understanding on how brands can explore the Ecommerce supply chain management for the upcoming holiday season this pandemic period.

  • Choosing the Unified solutions: Brands need to identify the top e-commerce channels in every country that they want to sell in. Choosing the right technological solution can help the brands in tackling all possible challenges that brands face when going global. Brands need to find a solution which can help them in maintaining order management, inventory management, and customer service so that they can fulfil the customers demand with speed and efficiency. Selecting the right solutions provider can make the entire cross-border sales a breeze.
  • Warehousing And Fulfilment: Today’s customers want one day or even same-day delivery of their products, and warehousing solutions is a critical aspect for brands in achieving this goal. After entering the global market, brands have to ensure whether or not they are successfully able to fulfil their customer demand on time. To ensure that, many of the fulfilment solutions provide fulfilment options from one central hub to serve all global demand with a fully localised approach. Finding the perfect business model depends on several factors and brands should select a fulfilment approach which can details listing, provide cataloguing, identify the SLAs for operations, order fulfilment, managing out of stock and understanding payment terms. These globally accepted workflows are essential not only to reduce cost, but also adhere to marketplace and government regulations.
  • Shipping Choices: One of the crucial aspects of cross-border sales is shipping. Shipping may be the most unglamorous part of cross-border sales, but at the same time it is the most essential part of e-commerce. According to the International Maritime Organization, “We live in a global society which is supported by a global economy—and that economy simply could not function if it were not for ships and the shipping industry. Shipping is truly the lynchpin of the global economy: without shipping, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials and the import/export of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible.” As per a survey conducted by Deloitte, nearly 68% of shoppers who opted for free shipping wanted the product to be delivered to them in 3-7 days, and nearly 67% of shoppers who opted for fast shipping wanted the delivery in less than 2 days. This survey explains to us the importance of how shoppers are ready to wait if they have been given an option of free shipping .Offering the right shipping choices has been proven to be an essential aspect in getting more customers
Returns Management
  • Returns Management: A well-managed return management can increase customer loyalty and grow sales revenues. Study suggests that nearly 86 per cent of customers expect to be allowed to return online orders, which makes it difficult for the brands to handle return and refund. Having a well planned returns management system will increase brand’s visibility and reach.
  • Logistics and Inventory Management: Running a retail business means that you have to deal with a high volume of sales orders every day and having a well-functioning inventory management system is crucial as real-time inventory visibility is key to buy-anywhere and fulfill-anyware experience of the shopper. The pandemic has caused brands with overstock situations from the enduring shutdowns, which means more stock in the warehouse. By having an end-to-end view of inventory across the supply chain, you can better optimize inventory levels according to unique store profiles and needs.


The above points are used to showcase how organisations can leverage the upcoming holiday season sales. To succeed, sellers have to take a strategic approach, they first need to find the most attractive consumer market and understand the current demands. After having the understanding of existing demand, sellers need to find the availability of products similar to that of the brands, after doing the competitive analysis brands should have a source, differential than that of their competitor. After analysing the above-said factors, brands have to understand their funding capabilities and also the changing customer demand to sell in other countries.

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