With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now behind us, let’s take
a moment to look at the online sales results. The early projections on total
dollar sales for Cyber Monday $9.4 billion. Black Friday’s online sales were
nothing to complain about, either add another $7.4 Billion for a grand total of
16 billion in online sales in just two days. As much as retailers love these
numbers, there is one small problem they now face. They now have to fulfill 16
billion dollars’ worth of online sales in a very short period of time.
As total online sales grow year after year, it puts an
increasing amount of pressure on an already straining retailer. The fundamental
issue boils down to timing, it’s one thing to process 16 billion dollars’ worth
of orders over the course of a few weeks, but when you cram this into one week,
it suddenly turns into a monumental task. The maddening part for retailers is
that most of these purchases are not necessarily needed the next day. The
consumer could probably wait a few days if not a week or more for that
purchase. After all, the holidays are still weeks away, but consumers have been
conditioned into expecting delivery the same or next business day, and this is
a hard habit to now break.
Want to break this consumer habit? Offer an incentive! And
this is just what many retailers are now doing. Stores Like Gap and Target have
now started to offer a new no-rush style of shipping often with some added
incentive like a coupon’s or giveaways. Gap’s slow ship program ran this year
across all of its various brands like Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta,
and Hill City from November 27th to December 4th. What was the incentive? The
shopper was automatically entered into an hourly raffle for a $200 gift card.
Gap has not revealed just how many customers have selected this slow ship
option for the chance at the prizes, but it is the third year for this
promotion, so it has to be reliving some of that shipping pressure, not to
mention creating some positive buzz.
Consumers like fast shipping, but it’s not a deal-breaker,
they can be convinced to wait a bit if the incentive is right. This helps to
take some pressure off retailers and shippers alike who have all been put on
the hot seat as a result of online holiday season shopping. Independent
retailers should use these same tools whenever possible. It will not work on
some sales platforms that monitor your processing time, but if you are running
your own online store, it’s quite easy to offer your clients a little reward
for their patience.
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