In July/August, a Ware2Go survey of 1,000 SMBs and a second survey of 1,000 US consumers revealed changes to their holiday and shipping preferences. The results show that SMBs are not prepared for peak season, with no clear steps towards improving inventory woes, and citing supply chain issues, increasing costs and a change in consumer habits as ongoing factors.
- 59% of SMBs are facing smaller margins due to supply chain costs, with 80% agreeing that costs have risen.
- 95% of merchants have had to adjust their planning in response to supply chain disruptions and market conditions.
- Inventory challenges include overbuying (23%) and investments in the wrong inventory based on a change in consumer buying habits (19%) where 67% of SMBs have faced these issues and 68% are changing their inventory strategy this holiday season.
What is the consumer perception on these topics? Consumers are also aware of supply chain disruptions, with 68% planning to start their holiday shopping earlier this year. They also plan to adjust their holiday spending by prioritizing lower price gifts, purchasing less overall, or purchasing different types of gifts, 74% say, due to a possible recession on the horizon.
Prior shipping grace periods due to COVID-19 are now a thing of the past. In 2021, 57% of consumers said they had lowered their expectations for timely shipping, while this year only 16% have lower expectations surrounding 1 to 2 day shipping. This is important considering consumers still prefer to shop online for holiday gifts and, with 81% reporting they will purchase some gifts online at the last minute, no business will get a pass.
Regaining trust and customer loyalty in the current climate is a main component to success. Consumers say they are more likely to make a repeat purchase based on a fast shipping experience, at 76%, and about 74% report that sustainability remains an important factor in their purchasing decisions. According to consumers, some of the ways merchants can entice them this holiday shopping season include:
- Offer free shipping
- Offer deal days, coupons or promotions on online products
- Offer 1 day or 2 days shipping on all purchases
- Reward customers with extra loyalty points