Experts agree that this year’s festive shopping season is set to be a bit different, with the latest shopping trends impacting how, when and where consumers will shop – even on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It’s all part of the shift into a new era of hyper-scalable commerce that’s fueled by ever-evolving consumer demand – and it brings challenges and opportunities that retailers must stay one step ahead of to succeed.
To help merchants understand the changes and opportunities taking place, we recently hosted a free webinar called Beware Festive FOMO.
Moderated by Chloe Thomas, host of the eCommerce MasterPlan podcast – and joined by Nick Ernst, Co-Founder at Snap Supply and Jessica Floyd, VP Marketing & Business Development at trueCABLE – the panel explored the major shift in this year’s holiday shopping habits, and the steps retailers can take now to avoid leaving money on the table.
Didn’t catch it live? Here’s a handy rundown of the top takeaways…
#1: The need for speed
This festive season the channels where customers are most likely to shop include Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest – so retailers need to set up and ready to sell on those platforms in order to cash in. But the top sales channels today won’t be the same in 12 months time. Retailers need to have the right operating system in place as quickly as possible, so they can easily and quickly adapt as trends evolve.
As Chloe pointed out, “Hyper-scalable commerce is a huge opportunity for retailers. It’s all about being able to adapt to new channels and to bring them on quickly – without a six-month lead time or a 100 page integration doc. It needs to become business as usual to adapt to different channels – not a huge quarterly project each time.”
#2: The customer knows best
In the Hyper-scalable Era, where customers lead, retailers must follow. Consumers have already indicated where they are headed this festive season, with 54% revealing in a Brightpearl report that they plan to spend most of their cash this Black Friday and Cyber Monday on non-traditional channels, such as TikTok and Pinterest.
During the webinar, Chloe explained: “If we listen to our customers and we give them what they want, we become more successful — and consumers are telling us they want to buy in different ways. That’s not to say it’s the death of your website, but you need to sell in more places.”
#3: Sky’s the limit
With the right operating system at its core, businesses are free to grow in any direction – without limits.
As Nick shared in the discussion, “We used to spend 40-60 hours a week transferring data from Amazon into our ERP system, printing out bits of paper and scrambling to figure out what had been shipped – it was an absolute nightmare, and I had to put a cap on Amazon orders to cope. Today, orders go from Amazon to Brightpearl to ShipStation automatically. It’s cut out all the manual labor, which has given us the time to be able to expand into Canada (and I was able to connect the new Canadian Shopify website to Brightpearl in just 20 minutes).”
#4: The magic of automation
In the Hyper-scalable Era, when staying abreast of the latest channels is essential, it’s never been more important to eliminate time-consuming manual tasks. Automation saves the average Brightpearl customer two months every year, as well as cutting labor costs in half and reduces errors by 60%.
As Jessica shared, “Automation is part of our strategy for retaining staff. Nobody wants to do repetitive, boring work. Brightpearl handles lots of manual tasks that we no longer have to touch. It leaves the people in our team to focus on the ‘brainy’ work. Our new starters can’t believe that our orders come from Shopify into Brightpearl and then into ShipStation, with the tracking info added back into Shopify, without any manual input. It’s pretty incredible.”
#5: Timing is everything
Research by Brightpearl revealed that retailers are way behind on the latest shopping trends – just 25% of retailers in the US and 20% in the UK are yet to adopt the key channels where consumers plan to shop this year. So is there an optimum time to take action to get up to speed with the Hyper-scalable Era – or was the only better time yesterday?
As Nick revealed, “Looking back with what I know now, I would have streamlined my tech stack when I was hiring my first employee. If you can afford to employ someone, you should really look first at how you can improve your tech – because Brightpearl doesn’t take sick days. Right now, lots of my warehouse staff are off with Covid, so it’s especially great to have Brightpearl that I know I can trust to keep things running”