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The e-commerce sector is expected to experience a robust boom in the wake of the pandemic. Last year, more people than ever were purchasing online to minimize exposure to the pandemic. However, e-commerce sales would have been stronger if the economy hadn’t been hammered by lockdowns, supply shortages and business failures.
The e-commerce sector is likely to perform a lot better this year, even though lockdowns have mostly ended. More people are interested in buying things online than ever before, because they experienced the huge benefits of buying online during the pandemic. Deloitte projects that holiday sales will increase 11-15% this year.
Unfortunately, things aren’t perfect for e-commerce businesses trying to expand this holiday season. They are still going to have to cope with a number of other issues. One of the biggest challenges they will need to deal with is the recent shortage of goods.
There are some things that online merchants can do to help deal with the problems brought on by the pandemic, such as working with companies like All Forward. Here are some ideas worth considering.
Expand your options for suppliers
There are a lot of different places that you can purchase goods to meet the needs of your customers. You will want to consider looking to alternative options if you are worried that your main suppliers won’t be able to meet them.
Some e-commerce merchants focus on servicing customers in specific regions. They often work exclusively with local suppliers in order to tap into the base of customers that are interested in the Go Local movement.
Unfortunately, this might not be an option if local suppliers are hit especially hard. You might need to reach out to larger, regional or national suppliers instead. They might have an easier time meeting your needs. However, you are going to want to make sure that you are transparent about this with your customers. You could say something like:
“We will always appreciate the importance of local businesses and give priority to our local supply-chain partners. Unfortunately, in light of our recent supply-chain concerns, we have had to temporarily work with some external suppliers. We mention this in the spirit of transparency in light of our commitment to work with local businesses, but pledge to work with our regular partners again as soon as they are able to overcome their own obstacles placed by this difficult economy.”
Pay extra to hire logistics and shipping employees and ensure social distancing measures are available
Supply-chain shortages aren’t just going to be the result of issues with your suppliers. They can also occur on your own end.
You need to make sure that you have enough employees to handle the shipping and logistics challenges that you will face. Many people have expressed that they would be more willing to work for companies that are willing to pay them more in the face of declining wages. They have also stated that they would be more comfortable working again if an employer had enough social distancing measures in place, because they are worried about getting sick or spreading the illness to their friends or family members.
Project inventory needs long in advance
Unless you are buying perishable goods, you are going to want to make sure that you buy plenty of goods long in advance. Supply chain issues are going to be a much bigger problem in the midst of the holiday season. You are also going to want to avoid having to wait for inventory to be delivered to your business and then have to get your employees to send it out on time to your own customers before Christmas.
It will be a lot easier to avoid these problems if you are going to make sure that you will be able to order your inventory as early as possible, because you will minimize logistics issues on at least one front. The only issue is that you have to accurately project demand, because you don’t want to waste money buying too much inventory. You will want to look at historic sales data and use it to forecast sales for this holiday season.
Dealing with inventory issues will be easier with proper planning
E-commerce businesses are going to need to be as strategic as possible this year, because supply chain issues are inevitable. You are going to want to plan your needs as carefully as possible, so that you will be able to address these problems beforehand.
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