The Holiday season is around the corner, for E-commerce companies it is the best time to turn around the balance sheet. They say, the holiday shopping season can be a make-or-break for retail companies. A strong online sales season can bring great success to your financial year, while weak holiday sales can spell disaster.
Few interesting and encouraging data points
- In US the holiday season contributes 2-20% of the total retail annual sales
- In 2016’s holiday season the retail e-commerce revenues were nearly $ 94.71 billion, a 17.2 percent increase from the previous year. While the total retail sales increased by 4.8 %
- Ecommerce accounted for 10.6% of total retail sales in the US during the 2016 holiday season
(source – www.statista.com)
According to Deloitte research, In 2017 retail sales could touch $ 1 trillion between November to January. The total retail sales is expected to grow by 4.5 percent which was 3.6 percent in 2016. The e-commerce sales growth rate could be staggering between 18 to 20 percent. (source – www.cnbc.com)
The sales are not uniform all the days, few decisive days for e-commerce companies are
- Thanksgiving Day – In US it is 4th Thursday in the month of November, this year 23rd November is thanksgiving day.
- Black Friday – The next day after the Thanksgiving Day, this year it should be 24th November
- Cyber Monday – The first Monday after the Thanksgiving, promoted by online retailers as a day for exceptional bargains. It’s the highest revenue generating day for E-commerce companies.
- Green Monday – The term was coined by eBay to describe its best sales day in December, usually the second Monday in the month of December.
- Free Shipping day – Free Shipping Day is a one-day event held annually in mid-December, it is a day to support Christmas celebration with guaranteed delivery by Christmas.
- Christmas – It’s the most important day, but most of the sales happen before Christmas.
Opportunities are big for E-commerce companies but it also has a lot of challenges. You should start planning for all the activities to get most of the season.
Most of the activities will multifold in short span. How will you maintain all the functional units Operations, Customer Service, Marketing and still remain customer centric?
First Option – Access the projected need of each department and hire the required resources, train them with required technology. The option is financially risky and not scalable
Second Option – Segregate the core and non-core activities of each functional unit, outsource the non-core activities to an ecommerce partner.
Outsourcing is an efficient way of running all functional units without too much stress on the balance sheets. It’s also a scalable solution. Most of the outsourcing companies keep high bench strength to meet the seasonal demand.
Below, we have segregated the activities of four functional units, you can also add other functional units.
|Department||Core Activities||None-Core Activities|
As you decide to outsource the non-core activities, prepare a dashboard for all functional units. It will help you track the performance of all departments.
Hand hold the partner in the initial days so that the partner gets gelled with your company culture and vision. Initially, track all activities on daily basis as the partner settles down and meets your expectation, move from the daily meeting to the weekly meeting.
Third Option – Outsource all the activities with an E-commerce partner, if you are a brick and motor company or new to e-commerce, it is better to outsource all the activities and you can just concentrate on P&L statement.
However, you should also keep in mind
- As the holiday season is very near, it will be tough to hire the core team
- E-commerce partners can handle all activities for you
Ending this blog with a quote from Eliyahu Goldratt – “Good Luck is when opportunity meets preparation and while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality”.
If you need immediate help this holiday season, contact us and we’ll get you on your way.