How to prepare for peak season already

[Updated post from August 18, 2022]

It’s never too early to start preparing for peak season. The holidays might be months away, but consumers are already gearing up to start spending – and that means your business needs to be ready for high demand.

Not only is the holiday season starting earlier than previous peak seasons; consumer expectations for a positive holiday shopping experience are higher than ever. Whether it’s affordable shipping, a seamless returns process, or a flawless customer experience in-store and online, retailers need to start getting their ducks in a row if they’re going to retain new customers beyond the holiday season.

Here is our checklist to help you to prepare for peak season:

Fulfillment and logistics

Be ready to meet customer demand earlier

It used to be the BFCM shopping weekend heralded the start of peak season and the holiday rush. But over the past few years, there has been a gradual shift towards a longer, more spread-out peak shipping season. 

Back in 2018, a consumer survey by Facebook found that 1 in 5 consumers started their holiday shopping in October – long before many e-commerce businesses start putting seasonal stock on the shelves. In the years since a unique combination of pressures – including inflation, supply chain challenges, and growing competition – has pushed peak season further forward.

During 2021, concerns over supply chain shortages and stockouts drove many consumers to get a headstart on their holiday shopping. According to ICSC forecasts, 75% of shoppers said they started shopping earlier, with nearly half (45%) doing so to ensure desired products were available. During last year’s peak season, it was rising product prices that sparked high demand, with many shoppers concerned that waiting too long to sort out gifts would make some items…

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