The Holiday Shopping Season is 12 Months Long

With all the hubbub, commercials, and pageantry of holiday shopping, you’d think that much of the retail world lives and dies by their sole performances on the month of December. But an interesting statistic from Google says otherwise.

48% of holiday shoppers did the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday.

That number is a 40% jump from 2013. To further this argument, 25% had their holiday shopping all done by Halloween. This is a crystal clear fact in understanding what holiday shoppers are doing. They’re holiday shopping year round.

Perhaps that is why 2015 Black Friday numbers were down more than $1 billion. To complicate things, there was a 14% jump in online sales on Black Friday, and generated a record breaking $3 billion in sales on Cyber Monday.

The bottom line is if you’re a retailer, you can’t rely on one day, one season, or one channel of sales to make your year profitable. Holiday shopping occurs all year long.

Some people claim that “omnichannel” retail is a buzzword. But dismissing the reality that shopping is now done a much broader scale is a huge mistake. Not having a certain item in store in August may equate to a lost sale in the holiday season. Only having XXL sized shirts available on your ecommerce page in May can almost guarantee a customer will not return to see what deals are available on Cyber Monday or during the holiday season. For retailers to succeed in all facets of retail, online and in store, they must be willing to take on the challenge of developing an omnichannel operation.

And, that starts with an increase in inventory & supply chain visibility.

This probably is not news to you. A recent survey by GS1 and Aberdeen Group showed that 85% of those surveyed plan to increase their current level on end-to-end supply chain visibility.

But of that 85%, only a smaller percentage will likely implement a strategy, and even fewer will get the results they want. What could be more frustrating. Investing the time and money to implement a high tech strategy that’s supposed to give you a better handle on your inventory numbers and supply chain efficiency. Unfortunately, when this happens, brands tend to blame the technology, not the implementation.

If you are sold on supply chain visibility strategies and technology, then it’s time to do your homework to find the right solution. In the fewest words possible, you should look for a solution that is easy to implement within your own business. Every business is slightly different, so something that is flexible is necessary. Not only that, it will need to be easy to maintain and durable. Something that won’t cause more hiccups in your supply chain, and is easy to make changes to when the time comes.

There are tons of solutions like that on the market inventory management software is commonplace. ERP’s and WMS’s can offer heightened visibility, but often times require major changes to companies’ current day-to-day activities. And remember, the whole point of gaining heightened supply chain visibility is to improve inventory accuracy year round. After all, the holiday season is 12 months a long.