One thing that e-commerce operators can universally agree on is that each holiday shopping season looks better than the last. Once temperatures start to drop in the Northern Hemisphere, retail shopping begins to heat up in anticipation of the busy holiday season. Over the last few years, e-commerce has been a major driving force of the season, and industry analysts believe that online shopping will likely represent close to 20% of total holiday sales in 2021. This translates into a year-over-year increase, and it should not be surprising because we know that the coronavirus pandemic is something we should still be mindful of.
According to the National Retail Federation of the United States, e-commerce growth has been fueled by a growing Millennial population and the ever-present desire for technology. Modern shoppers enjoy the feeling of being connected; when they complete online purchasers, they know that people are working hard to process and fulfill purchases transactions, and they truly appreciate this.
Retailers know that there is a competitive advantage when shopping online versus in a brick-and-mortar store. Many factors go into e-commerce adoption, but one thing they can all agree on is that the overall online shopping experience is superior to shopping in person. Many of today’s retail customers prefer to shop on the web. In fact, some studies have shown that the online shopping experience improves customer satisfaction by up to 40%. The convenience and comfort of shopping online allows shoppers to buy what they want and when they want it, versus having to wait in long lines at the mall or searching for the perfect gift. For businesses and shoppers, the web is an easy, convenient, and low cost method of shopping.
Packaging and the Holiday Season for E-Commerce Operators
With all the above in mind, what should e-commerce operators expect in terms of their packaging needs and processes during the holiday season? There is no question that packaging is more crucial in the e-commerce sector than in the brick-and-mortar world. Packaging is ingrained in the online shopping experience; this is not so much the case at physical retail stores anymore because shoppers are trying to cut down on waste. It is not unusual for shoppers to take their own tote bags and other containers when they visit stores these days. Naturally, this is something that cannot be replicated with e-commerce because of the shipping and delivery factors.
One thing we can tell you to expect with absolute certainty is high demand. We have been serving the online retail industry for more than two decades, and we have seen a sharp increase in orders of packaging supplies from one holiday season to the next. The time to make your sales forecasts in order to figure out inventories and packaging needs should be around the time American students start heading back to school. If you wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get this done, you would be cutting it too close, particularly if you require custom packaging design.
Factors to Consider When Making Your Holiday Sales Forecast
If you are a small business owner just getting started in this competitive economic sector, here are some statistics you should keep in mind when making sales projections for the holiday season:
- During the months of November and December, e-commerce sales typically jump by 30%.
- Cyber Monday shoppers spend an average of $380.
- Sunday nights are very popular among smart online shoppers who expect to receive their purchases the following week.
- Nearly 48% of e-commerce shoppers complete their wish lists before December 1.
Having a solid operations plan in place before Halloween is a must for e-commerce operators, and it must take into consideration the following packaging recommendations:
Clearly Delineate Packaging and Wrapping Processes
In the way e-commerce is supposed to evolve, back-end operations have become more important than digital stores themselves. Take, for example, a third-party fashion boutique seller on the Amazon Marketplace; with regard to competition, she is pretty much on a level similar to thousands of other sellers who also offer fashionable garments. Order processing speed could be the key for this seller to get ahead of her competitors, and this would involve a streamlined packing process.
If you plan on offering holiday gift wrapping options, and you should absolutely do so for the purpose of building customer loyalty, you will need to excel at taping, assembling, filling, and packing. While this kind of excellence can be developed over time, it is better to establish the right processes so that they can be quickly taught to new employees when required. Take a look at all the items you will be selling during the holiday shopping season, figure out the best ways to wrap and package them, and write down the process. Making explanatory step-by-step videos can go a long way in this regard.
Keep Packaging Materials Down to a Minimum
Over-packing customer purchases happens more often than we would like to admit. The use of excessive packaging materials leads to:
- Unnecessary expenses.
- Excessive and unsustainable waste.
- A higher potential of damaged goods.
- Higher shipping costs.
If you are not sure about how much packing materials are appropriate to ship your products, please get in touch with us so that we can guide you in the right direction. Our packaging professionals are very familiar with the various ways you can cut down on the use of materials.
Save on Shipping by Sticking With Standard Boxes
Once you have identified all the products that your digital stores will sell during the holiday season, the next step should involve matching them to the standard shipping boxes used by delivery services such as UPS, FedEx, the U.S. Post Office, and others. These boxes should be used whenever possible in order to keep costs down; otherwise, you will be stuck calculating shipping rates by dimensional weight.
Don’t Forget About Branding
Even though branding is supposed to be a constant process, you should make additional efforts to showcase it during the holidays. Smart e-commerce operators take advantage of the holiday season to make changes to the designs of their packages with adequate themes. If you offer holiday gift wrapping, you are more than halfway there, but you can take extra steps such as changing the colors of your bags and boxes to red, green, gold, and white.
There is no need to completely revamp your packaging design for the holidays. Seasonal branding can be as simple as a nice adhesive label with a holiday version of your logo. Think about what Google does for the holidays when it adds snowflakes, Santa Claus hats, snowmen, and Christmas tree decorations to the logo on its search engine web page. Even including a holiday postcard as a thank-you note will be appreciated as a classy move.
Something else you may wish to consider is giving shoppers packaging as a gift. Nice boxes with holiday color schemes that can be reused for other gifts are the kind of details known to spark customer loyalty. Branded reusable boxes made with recyclable or biodegradable materials will make an even nicer impression.
Choose the Right Packaging Supplies Partner for Your E-Commerce Business
Forging a close business relationship with a provider of packaging supplies is a move routinely made by successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. As previously mentioned, packaging is an essential aspect of the e-commerce business, which is why it only makes sense to view suppliers as business partners.
Mid-Atlantic Premier Packaging started off in the 20th century as a family-owned small business. These days, we provide packaging solutions to companies operating in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. Many of our e-commerce clients have been with us through multiple holiday seasons; this has allowed us to witness their growth as they deal with hectic periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.
We are always happy to help new e-commerce clients who are about to embark in their first holiday shopping season; to this end, we offer products and materials such as:
- Gold perfect bows
- Cello rolls with Christmas motifs
- Gift wrap
- Holiday gift cards
- Holiday shopping bags
Keep in mind that many of our standard packaging boxes, bags, and materials can be custom-designed to reflect your branding. Contact us today and speak to our design team members in order to figure out how your packaging should look this holiday season.