Most merchants are operating at pandemic-driven peaks already and say that a holiday spike will push peak-season demand to fill and ship orders to unprecedented levels, according to a survey by on-demand fulfillment and warehousing platform Ware2Go, a UPS company, released this week.
The survey of more than 250 merchants with annual revenues between $2 million and $200 million found that 77% have had to change their selling strategies due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many (35%) launching an online store for the first time and dealing with the resulting demand for fast shipping—an existing trend that has not subsided since the pandemic hit, the survey showed. With peak season shipping upon them, merchants are looking to start sales early and will need to inject some flexibility into their operations, according to the survey results and analysis.
Survey results showed that:
56% of merchants reported an increase in new customers in the last six months.
Merchants have adjusted their fulfillment strategies by offering no-contact delivery (56%); adding two-day shipping guarantees (34%); and beginning to ship direct to consumer (28%).
74% of merchants expect to see an additional spike in sales for the holiday season.
77% of merchants plan to offer two-day shipping guarantees around the holidays, compared with 41% that offer two-day shipping year-round.
50% of merchants say they will begin holiday promotions in September or October.
The results highlight a fast-growing “digital-first” economy that demands flexibility, Ware2Go said.
“The current situation requires merchants to prepare for a holiday season where historical trends are not as relevant, while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to today's new economy,” Ware2Go CEO Steve Denton said in a statement announcing the survey results. “Today's market conditions require merchants to leverage a flexible supply chain as a strategic asset for commerce.”