Is it time for holiday planning already? You better believe it. It may seem like overkill to get started in August, but new research from eMarketer shows that 28% of US adults began their 2021 holiday shopping before November last year. 

Coupled with some of the struggles you’re likely to encounter this fall, including continued supply constraints, shipping delays and overall economic uncertainty, waiting until late fall could prove detrimental. 

Our recent webinar, Holiday Prep 2022: Smart Strategies to Implement Now for a Successful Peak Season, gives you a head start on the upcoming holiday season with answers to the challenges you’re likely to face. 

Get a sneak peek at our recommended deadline for confirming your plans, as well as tips for ensuring the best content across all of your digital channels. 

Holiday Challenge #1: Last-Minute Preparation

There’s a new normal for the traditional peak holiday season: an October kickoff to consumer gift searching and buying. Shoppers are eager to get their lists checked off, which means creating a prep list of your own. 

We recommend setting a deadline of October 15 to:

  • Solidify your Q4 catalog assortment
  • Audit your data across all active marketplaces
  • Optimize for A+ content to tell a brand and product story 
  • Review active listings and resolve errors 

To meet your deadline, start gathering and optimizing the priority assortment you hope to sell during the upcoming peak season. Review last year’s top and low performers, identify your existing and ideal inventory levels through Q4 and widen your net to a variety of marketplaces. Just be sure to activate any new marketplaces by October 1 to account for error resolution and inbound shipments if using fulfillment services. 

Holiday Challenge #2: Increased Economic Pressures

Inflation is at a record high, putting constraints on consumers’ wallets. But that hasn’t stopped them yet. Consumers have continued to spend despite rising costs, but they’re more selective about where they buy than ever. That means you need to outpace the competition with:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Positive reviews and ratings
  • Helpful descriptions and data
  • Faster shipping options

Experiencing your own constraints? Overcome supply chain challenges by making note of key Q4 inventory replenishment dates if using marketplace fulfillment services, or try variations and bundles as a second option to keep customers satisfied. 

Holiday Challenge #3: Not Meeting Your Goals

Despite your preparations, it’s still possible to miss your holiday selling goals. But remember: even though the holidays may see the highest sales peaks, the majority of sales occur throughout the rest of the year. Don’t “go dark” after the holidays. Instead: 

  • Extend your seasonality with a more global approach to your catalog assortment and promotions. 
  • Continue to provide excellent customer service, particularly in Q1 when holiday returns are high.
  • Evaluate your top and lowest performers of the season to make better decisions for next year.

Need help evaluating your holiday performance? ChannelAdvisor Managed Services for Marketplaces offers expert guidance to help you execute and iterate your plans at scale. 

Holiday Practice Run?

Amazon recently announced its new Fall Prime Day, totaling two Prime Day events in one year for the first time ever. The addition is most likely due to Amazon’s slowest quarterly revenue growth since 2001 this past April. Luckily for merchants, the day provides a chance to “practice” for the upcoming holiday season. 

To prepare, add deals to penetrate new segments or reach for Best Seller status. You can also ramp up ad spend and lower your return goals to maintain positioning. Fall Prime Day will most likely be in October, amplifying the “halo” effect of driving organic listing growth considering its proximity to the holiday season. 

Has your team started planning for the 2022 holiday season? Watch the full webinar, Holiday Prep 2022: Smart Strategies to Implement Now for a Successful Peak Season, for a deeper dive into holiday planning and find out how to finish the year strong. 

ChannelAdvisor also offers complimentary services like:

  • Multichannel advertising analysis. Optimize for success and product exposures across multiple channels.
  • Marketplace health check. Leverage all the tools and options available before you hit the busiest weeks.
  • Channel expansion analysis. Find out what channels are a good match to add to your bottom line, based on your category.

Contact us today to take advantage of these free services for your business!

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