Retailers hope to manage the peak of the season through more diverse distribution channels

As the peak winter season approaches and forecasters struggle to predict consumers’ quirky, post-pandemic shopping habits, U.S. brands and retailers are hoping to fulfill orders through increasingly omnichannel models. more flexible, according to third-party logistics provider (3PL) Radial.

Weary retailers have already spent two years trying to stay afloat from pandemic and supply chain issues, but now face another uphill battle this holiday season, Radial said. Consumer spending has become more selective, even as shoppers continue to demand faster delivery times.

In response, retailers will seek to meet the explosion in holiday demand through mixed distribution channels, said Radial, Pennsylvania-based King of Prussia. The finding comes from consumer research that surveyed 1,000 adults across the United States to gather information about their plans and expectations for the 2022 peak season.

“The retail industry has seen significant unpredictability and digital acceleration over the past couple of years. Supply chain disruptions and changing consumer behaviors have transformed a formalized market into a vibrant one. The impact of inflation introduces a new variable for brands to plan and strategize around this year,” said Laura Ritchey, Radial’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, in a statement. To ensure peak operations run smoothly, it’s essential that brands focus on inventory management and measure consumer demand.The need for strong omnichannel offerings will ensure customers have a great experience, regardless of the channel to from which their order is executed.”

Survey results showed nearly half (46%) of consumers said they would buy the same amount in-store this year compared to 2021, but 58% said they would increase their use of shopping online, an increase of 8% over last year’s survey.

At the same time, new execution options that have become popular during the pandemic persist. One in three consumers plan to increase their use of Online In-Store Pickup (BOPIS), and 30% say they expect an increase in Online Curbside Pickup (BOPAC) when shopping this Christmas season. holidays.

Regardless of the channel, the total revenue generated will likely follow consumer demand similar to previous years, despite challenges such as rising inflation, shifting gasoline prices and struggling stock markets. Respondents said 38% will change the volume of gifts they buy, but this trend was offset by the 40% who still plan to buy the same amount of gifts as last year.

Other results showed shoppers expect fast parcel delivery more than ever, with one in three consumers (33%) saying the most reasonable time to expect Christmas gifts ordered in line to be delivered is two to three days. This number is up from 23% in 2021 and 14% in 2020 research.

Despite these rising expectations, consumers in the survey still found room to complain about their top frustrations following last year’s holiday shopping spree. The main challenges listed were:

• 66% of consumers found that items were out of stock

• 40% said they did not receive the items on time

• 39% of respondents indicated that the items were not available through the preferred channel they wanted to purchase (i.e. not available in-store, online or through another method pickup)

Carol N. Valencia