Holiday Challenges Faced by Retailers in the Modern Ecommerce Era

December 16, 2022

by Andrew Stack

For retailers, few other times of the year are as busy as the holidays. While this season provides multiple opportunities to offer discounts, unveil limited products, and redesign ecommerce websites with a festive glow, it also presents several challenges.

Between inflation, heightened competition, and other concerns, many retailers have been apprehensive about the holiday season in recent years. While retailers are bound to face some obstacles as they navigate the season, recognizing these difficulties can help them maximize productivity and potentially increase revenue. Discover several hardships retailers may encounter during the holidays, as well as a content marketing strategy that can help them throughout the season.

Economic Stress Affects Consumer Behavior

Due to widespread inflation, more consumers face limited disposable income. Couple this issue with the 3.9% interest rate hike instituted by Federal Reserve in early 2022, and you have a particularly cautious shopper. Rising interest rates may also discourage people from buying with credit cards, which may draw attention away from ecommerce sites toward brick-and-mortar stores.

Although consumers feel the pressure of inflation with nearly every purchase, savings are surprisingly high for many people. For this reason, online retailers can convince shoppers to choose their products by using strategic messaging that responds to their pain points. This targeted advertising will also show prospective customers your efforts to help them save money while buying gifts.

Gift-Giving Traditions Boost Consumer Demand

In keeping with the generosity of the holiday season, many consumers still plan to give gifts despite inflation and spiked interest rates. To adequately respond to peak season demands, you need to assess your inventory months in advance to identify the most popular products within each category.

Communication with the marketing team is essential to maintaining a strong inventory. If this department plans on promoting particular items, you will know which to keep fully stocked to meet demand.

Staffing Shortages Can Diminish the Customer Experience

More retailers are posting job openings to ensure they have enough personnel to manage customer needs throughout the year — let alone the peak holiday season. While researchers believe unemployment may decline, a lack of staff remains an issue. According to United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national unemployment rate increased 3.7% in October 2022.

The problem with being short-staffed goes beyond stretching existing employees thin. When you don’t have enough people to respond to questions and concerns, it damages the customer experience. As a result, customers may not receive the service they need and take their business elsewhere.

To remedy this issue, more retailers are increasing their minimum pay and expanding employee benefits. Another solution has been securing partners to outsource certain tasks, such as inventory management, fulfillment, and even marketing, to focus on what matters most: giving customers the best possible ecommerce experience.

Surplus Inventories Can Minimize Profits

In 2021, supply chain problems left retailers worrying they wouldn’t have enough stock to get through the holidays. Those same retailers are dealing with excess inventory in 2022. This issue stems from the uncertainty with the supply chain — many retailers bought too much inventory to ensure they had enough in stock to keep products on their websites. However, it’s not uncommon to miscalculate an item's popularity, leading to stock that collects dust in a warehouse.

Retailers may consider lowering the price of items taking up space in the inventories before the holidays to make room for more items when that time of year rolls around. Conversely, if you sell products that will only be available during the holidays, you might want to limit the quantity to keep the product from becoming dead stock in January.

Content Marketing Can Help Retailers during the Holidays

Managing the holiday season is no easy feat for retailers, but investing in proper planning and resources can provide them with more peace of mind. One of the most effective steps retailers can take is implementing a content marketing strategy.

Crafting unique ecommerce content that highlights how your products respond to target audience needs increases the likelihood that prospects see your website and potentially make a purchase. Similarly, landing and location pages and blog content incorporating SEO best practices can draw seekers to your site, showcasing your inventory and expertise. By more effectively engaging audiences with an ecommerce strategy, you can boost customer interaction and conversion throughout the holidays and all year round.

Develop an Ecommerce Strategy with Virtucom Group

For assistance maneuvering the holiday season, retailers can turn to Virtucom Group. For over 20 years, we’ve helped retailers meet the many challenges they face with ecommerce, and we’d be happy to offer a customized content marketing strategy that meets your concerns. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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