What Will Peak Season in 2022 look like after two years of COVID restrictions?
The summer tan is fading, the children are back at school, and we are all having those annual conversations about Christmas. After a tricky couple of years with COVID, and with concern growing about the cost of living, e-commerce retailers are finding it difficult to plan for Peak 2022. We have had a look at what retail experts are predicting and have put together some advice to help you prepare.
What are experts predicting for e-commerce as we approach Christmas 2022?
October to December is a crucial sales period for retailers so how will e-commerce fare in 2022? The Retail Week Christmas Forecast 2022 anticipates that after two years of lockdowns, families will value get-togethers over gifts, and spend on Food is expected to grow year on year. This is largely because of price increases, but it will also be enhanced by more people enjoying getting together around Christmas and around the World Cup. Matches start in November around the time of Black Friday (25 November).
With more socialising ahead, fashion spend is expected to grow, although it will be tough to compete with 2021 when there was strong pent-up demand from lockdowns. Trends within the fashion industry this year include sustainable fashion, clothing rental, like John Lewis’ Little Loop Project, and pre-loved retail such as Vinted.
As we dress up and go out, health and beauty retailers could also have a good “golden quarter”. Cosmetics are predicted to be a popular gift this year.
However tight the budget, Santa always needs to come, so predictions are also positive for revenue from toy sales. This is partly due to price increases in the supply chain, but mainly because gifts for children are one of the last areas families tend to cut back on, especially at Christmas.
Overall gifting patterns are expected to change, as people tighten their belts. All the research we came across believed that people will shop earlier, expecting prices to do nothing but rise. In its own holiday shopping predictions, Salesforce recommends that retailers avoid “playing discount chicken” and go in early with Sales Campaigns focusing on “scarcity, exclusivity and sustainability”. Customers will be more price-conscious than they have been for a long time. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are likely to go on longer than usual, stretching for a week or more.
Another prediction is that families will run “Secret Santas” this year, with each person receiving one carefully planned gift rather than a sack full, so retailers may wish to focus on quality rather than quantity.
Marketing for Peak 2022
To drive revenue even when consumers are struggling, you need to make sure your brand is front of mind. Christmas advertising in 2022 will be less about encouraging reckless spending and more about providing value for money, and empathy with the economic situation. So how can you make sure customers choose you? It is time to do a quick review of your website and marketing channels to ensure they meet your customers’ needs and provide an easy, enjoyable shopping experience.
After some recent adjustments to its algorithm, Google Search is favouring brands who feature reviews and product overviews in their content. Make sure your customer reviews and all the information people need about your products is on your site and easy to find, and that it has been optimised for search engines.
There have been numerous changes to Google Ads themselves this year. By now you should have replaced any Expanded Text Ads with Responsive Ads. If you ran Smart Shopping ads, check you have set up Performance Max Ads to replace them, and that your campaigns have a good range of assets to choose from.
Do check your User Journey – is it quick and easy to find and buy from your site? Do you need to adjust your payment methods? Can you improve any stages of the journey where people drop off?
Preparing Your Warehouse for Peak
The next few months are often stressful for warehouse teams. Now is the time to plan your space so things run smoothly in the run up to Christmas. Consider where you should position popular stock items so they are easily accessible, and how you will fit in any additional seasonal stock. Will you need to adjust your racking and reduce aisle widths? How does that then impact on traffic and flow in the warehouse? Do you need to hire any additional staff?
Where and how will you pack your products? Have you made the switch to eco-friendly packaging this year? If not yet, then is now the time? Salesforce predicts that 83% of shoppers will seek out sustainable brands and products this Christmas. You may also find that new products like the Flexi Hex bottle sleeves we stock take up less space and are quicker to put together.
Have you sorted out the labels you need? Integrated labels will help streamline your despatch process by combining your picking sheet, customer invoice and address label all on one sheet, saving time and money.
Get in touch with us today and we can help put a plan in place to make sure you have everything you need in terms of labels and packaging this festive season. In the meantime, we won’t go as far as wishing you a Merry Christmas quite yet, but we do wish you all the best for the busy few weeks ahead.