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Are you prepared for the biggest surge in Back-to-School shopping?

Posted by Cara Posey on 8/11/17 10:56 AM

Back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record breaking $83.6 billion this year, surpassing previous figures of $75.8 billion in 2016.

These recent projections from the National Retail Federation include spending for both college and schools – the expected rise of $7.8 billion is due to greater confidence in the state of the economyOn average, parents are anticipated to spend $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes, and $114.12 on school supplies.

Trends reveal back-to-school shopping searches begin as early as two months before the school year starts. What’s more, 46% of back-to-school shoppers and 44% of back-to-college shoppers will buy supplies online.

The expected rush of school supply purchases over the coming weeks is a big eye opener for retailers in this space. As demand soars, retailers must ensure they have the right measures in place to meet demand and customer expectations.

Preparation is key, but there is still time to make a difference. Here’s what you should be doing right now to streamline operations for one of the busiest times of the year.

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Topics: News, Strategy, Holidays

Retailers Triumph with 97% Fulfillment During 2016 Holiday Season

Posted by Cara Posey on 1/6/17 10:54 AM

With expectations set high, consumers and analysts alike wondered whether retailers could keep up with unprecedented demand this holiday season. Reports released at the very end of 2016 show that retailers successfully delivered 97% of orders that were guaranteed by December 25th. According to a study released by Kurt Salmon, a part of Accenture Strategy, this is up from previous years where retailers achieved 95% in 2015 and 87% in 2014.

Why is this such a big achievement?

We shared in November that major carriers UPS, FedEx, and USPS were expecting unprecedented volume this season and took steps to prepare by hiring workers, expanding facilities, and investing in automation. With the infrastructure in place, the next steps were left to retailers, who didn't disappoint. In December, we were able to see Black Friday and Cyber Monday blow away projections with a 21.6% increase in online sales.

Shoppers have made significant shifts in their buying behavior, relying more on online shopping and mobile to place orders, compared to waiting in long lines at brick-and-mortar stores. This put increasing pressure on retailers to deliver on their promises, which is difficult in the age of Amazon and the expectation of 2-day shipping, courtesy of Amazon Prime-conditioned shoppers. This is one of the major reasons why a 97% fulfillment rate is so important, along with the critical role holiday shipping plays in customer satisfaction.

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Topics: News, Holidays

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Blow Away Projections

Posted by Cara Posey on 12/2/16 10:49 AM

Black Friday started early this year, and apparently it paid off. The former one day event turned into Black Friday weeks for many retailers and blew past last year’s ecommerce numbers. Adobe Digital Insights reports that Black Friday online sales passed the $3 billion dollar mark for the first time to reach $3.34 billion. This was an increase of 21.6% from 2015, with special deals and mobile use driving the growth.

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Topics: News, Holidays

What You Need to Know About Amazon This Holiday Season

Posted by Cara Posey on 11/11/16 9:59 AM

Amazon is a key selling channel for many online retailers, whether your company is Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) or Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP.) In fact, 55% of online retailers expect to generate their biggest percentage of sales on Amazon this holiday season, according to a survey from ChannelAdvisor and Morar Consulting featured in Internet Retailer. With so many sales flowing through Amazon, the company is working hard to keep up with demand.

Here's what you need to know about Amazon this holiday season.

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Topics: Carriers, Amazon, Holidays

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