How to Prepare for the Insanity of the 2020 Holiday Retail Season

Q4 is always guaranteed to be insane. But because of coronavirus’ effects changing the market, 2020’s Q4 will be the most insane in history.

Out of all the things you could possibly do, what should you prioritize?

Here’s what to focus on:

1. Spread Out Your Offers to Longer Time Frames

Both Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass and Target CEO Brian Cornell recommend this and will be doing it in their own stores.

Kohl’s is anticipating early holiday demand to be higher than normal in October.

Another market dynamic to be aware of is that more baby boomers will be shopping online than ever before.

Historically, they have resisted buying online. But the threat of coronavirus has been enough to convince them to shop online.

So, all your special offers must also be clearly communicated online too.

2. Keep Customer Service on Red Alert

It’s no secret that with the increased online ordering volume FedEx, UPS, and USPS have been losing more packages and not making expected shipment arrival times.

From a business perspective, you can understand why.

But your customers? They won’t quite be so understanding.

So, make sure you have customer service prepared with the power to make customers happy.

Many companies do not give customer service the power to do the right thing for their customers.

While customers get annoyed when something bad happens, they become ecstatic when you fix it.

So this could be a huge opportunity for you to swipe market share from your competitors!

3. Your Store Will Nonetheless Essentially be a Fulfillment Center

No one knows how long online shipping times will be delayed. During the coronavirus pandemic’s explosion in the US in March and April, Amazon’s shipping times expanded from 1-2 days (via Amazon Prime) to 4-6 weeks in some cases.

It all depended on the item purchased and the fulfillment center it had to be shipped from.

Since then, however, Amazon hired 175,000 workers in June. And they’ve gone on another hiring wave that will add 100,000 more.

…But who knows how the lead times will actually play out?

To compensate, your store should offer curbside, inside, and drive-through pickup for customers.

Some estimates show that stores which offer these options will increase online sales by nearly 100% year-over-year!

4. Increase Last Mile Delivery Options

We’ve already discussed many of the problems traditional carriers will face. And, of course, you have to add to that the potential that shipping delays will happen too.

So, what can your retail store do to make the last-mile delivery success rate higher than it would be otherwise?

To start, partner with more carriers to make delivery times more consistent (Shipt, Rodei, and anything else available in your area).

Train your store associates and build out your own shipping infrastructure so you can keep as many customers as you can as happy as possible.

Finally, we wish you the best of luck. Q4 won’t be easy for anyone. But with these tips, you can make the most of it!