• Andrew Harper

A Holiday Story: What Could Save This Christmas For Retail

Updated: Mar 18


Coca-Cola is running traditional ads, and goods delivery services are already offering me to buy deer mugs. The holiday is in the air.


It's the most wonderful time of the year, which also became a reason for the retailer's happiness. A couple of months ago, news sources predicted a shopping holiday boom. It was a holy truth. Recently Deloitte reported that, on average, each person will spend $1463 for these holidays, among which $501 to purchase gifts. Before the crisis, in 2019, the figures were similar. The total shopping cart value was $ 1,496, and presents took $ 511.

Average expected holiday shipping spend

Just look at these numbers! It seems that Santa brings a post-pandemic recovery for retail. But the industry should not dive into the festive atmosphere, just like Kevin McCallister on Christmas Eve. You need to be alert because challenges ready to steal Christmas from buyers are waiting at every turn.


How can companies fight back and save happy holidays? Arm themselves with the robust software, of course. Let’s see below what exactly.


Four Grinches Striving To Steal Christmas. What Should Retailers Do?


What’s on Your Wishlist?


Nobody knows for sure what buyers will prefer this winter. Perhaps those who implemented IoT technology before or during the pandemic deal smoothly with it. They collected the necessary data over a long period, created predictive models, and trained them following changes.


But for companies mastering the Internet of Things, the anticipation of consumer preferences is a real challenge. Legacy data models are no longer relevant. It is necessary to collect terabytes of information for years to make an accurate prediction. Therefore, a margin of error can be significant.


By the way, many businesses have not migrated to new assortment management systems yet. Meanwhile, small businesses use spreadsheets for this purpose. This circumstance increases the risk of late ordering and empty shelves.

IoT for right Assortment planning

Thus, the first Grinch trying to steal Christmas is the difficulty of assortment management. Retailers risk not guessing customer preferences and deprive the audience of the festive mood.


How to avoid it?


First, it is necessary to create a flexible strategy for IoT implementation and write in-house policies on information processing. You should provide your Data Scientists with clear tasks for accurate data model creation. In this case, you can get the most relevant forecast of consumer behavior and comply with it. Nobody says it is a safe bet. But it will allow creating predictions with a minimal margin of error.


Moreover, don’t forget to modernize your assortment management system or replace it at all. Spreadsheets and legacy software don’t provide your business with desirable results. If you have thought about it, now is the time to act. In this case, a quick response will improve the customer experience and prevent a shortage or surplus of goods.


You may also like: Notes About The Assortment Management In Retail


Small Discounts: How the Supply Chain Issues Fit


One more retail headache is the supply chain. If demand depends on customer behavior, then goods availability depends on timely deliveries. Usually, this process needs transformation and optimization. Bad-organized logistics increases the operating costs.


Following CityA.M., U.K. retail enterprises expect $ 7.5 bln of total losses because of ongoing supply chain issues. The media reports that such an obstacle led to fewer discounts on the recent Black Friday. 76% of responded retailers said they have no opportunity to offer more this year. The same concerns the Christmas holidays.


It means it will be difficult for us to enjoy discounts. It can't be helped. The industry also needs to survive. But it's so sad that many retailers sacrifice shoppers' Christmas mood instead of investing in supply chain improvements.

Retail Supply Chain Processes

Many, but not all. Some companies know about their weaknesses and try to eliminate them for client satisfaction. Now they prefer to use the digital twin technology. Businesses implement it to create a dynamic copy of their supply chains. This approach allows them to track the existing processes in real-time and test ideas for their optimization with minimal risks.


“The Supply Chain Twin enables customers to gain deeper insights into their operations, helping them optimize supply chain functions from sourcing and planning to distribution and logistics,” admits Hans Thalbauer, Managing Director of Supply Chain and Logistics at Google Cloud.

If you are wondering how to create such a complex product from scratch - no worries. Vendors like Bell and Google have already designed relevant SaaS ready to operate. All you need is to dig deeper into your business process and discover what solution will be suitable for you.


You may also like: Digital Twins: Engines Of Business Transformation


H3 All I Want For Christmas Is Steady Software Operation © Retail


To rephrase Mariah Carey's song in the retail's way, it will look something like that. It is reported that this year people will continue to make the majority of their purchases online despite the brick-and-mortar stores shopping boom. Average online holiday spendings will be $924 per person, while the offline ones - only $440.


E-commerce growth requires a company to use scalable and convenient order management software. Meanwhile, businesses continue to operate legacy systems and place additional burdens on them. Consequently, the software solution can fail at the worst possible time.


You may also like: How Outdated Software Leads to Retail Opportunity Loss


Last year, our client came to us with such an issue. A large flow of buyer requests caused the legacy system to crash on Black Friday. The company has lost a part of its audience and projected profit.


You are probably wondering how we solved this problem? - We modernized its order management system (OMS) and this Black Friday was happy for the retailer.


The case is its legacy products couldn’t cope with a flow of customers, purchasing goods simultaneously. Our engineers boosted the existing solution, making it scalable and clear for employees. They created a middleware, integrating with legacy ERP to proceed with all order data before its finalization. It allowed the company to reduce the burden on outdated software and ensure seamless system operation. Now the updated OMS can process over 10,000 orders per day.


I bet it’s not a one-time thing. Therefore, all retailers developing online sales need steady software operation this Christmas. Unfortunately, far not everyone gets the desired results because of legacy software.


You may also like: OMS Retail Business Processes From The Inside


Santa, Where are My Presents?


Have you ever experienced delivery failures of presents for nearest and dearest? If so, welcome to my team. Last Christmas, I purchased a gift through an online store. Following delivery calculator data, it should be delivered on 24 December. I received it on 26 December. Surprise!


The case is legacy online delivery calculators can provide you with wrong details. It can spoil the holiday and plans. If your company uses outdated software for this purpose, you probably heard about such issues. They affect client experience, and most likely, a disappointed customer will no longer buy from your online store.

Simplified Delivery Calculation process

So, you should care about the exact operation of your delivery calculator. Every e-commerce retailer has it, but few can boast of 100% positive results.


Recently, our team developed a robust delivery calculator for the national chain store. Through joint efforts, we have created a product used by over 10,000 mln clients. It calculates the exact delivery time of any item from the product catalog in just ⅕ seconds. Buyers can choose any delivery option: BOPIS, in-house delivery service, or national courier ones.


This approach allows everyone to receive their purchases on time and become a punctual Santa for family & friends.


I believe that each company feeling insecure here should improve its software. It will help save Christmas from the last Grinch - late delivery.


You may also like: Farewell to Legacy Technologies: Delivery Calculator Case Study


Afterword


The holiday is in the air. It means that your customers have already rushed to stores or to your sites to stock up on purchases. Hence, there is no time to eliminate all the above obstacles in full measure.


But don't be upset! Your strategies and active actions for software improvement can already make your buyers happy.


If you need professional assistance, contact us. Our experts will analyze your current conditions and advice on how to boost your digital solutions to ensure all following Merry Christmases for clients.



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