The Easter shopping season: Innovative Logistics Solution
It’s official: there is now an Easter shopping season, and a peak demand period for Australian businesses is about to strike.
Over the last few years, consumer spending has boomed over the Easter period, with a significant shopping season growing in place of the typically modest increase in sales that we’ve always had. With this general increase in spending behaviour, e-commerce’s share of total retail sales is moving upwards of 10%—which means a much heavier demand on businesses’ transport and logistics systems to service their customer bases.
It also means it’s time for innovation, if Australian businesses are going to be able to deliver to their customers on time and capitalise on the changes in Easter sales. With a short seasonal holiday period, and staggered public holidays that can disrupt deliveries and opening hours, forward-thinking logistics providers can help both traditional and e-commerce businesses navigate their way through the peaks and troughs of Easter sales—and get their cut of a growing market.
Easter FMCGs: what’s moving right now
Easter sales for brick-and-mortar stores have always been predictable, with traditional items like chocolate, greeting cards and other seasonal gifts moving into place a few weeks or months before the holiday period. But if you’ve been thinking lately that Easter seems to be coming earlier and earlier every year, you’d be right:
What we’re seeing now is the official beginning of the season at the start of January.
You read that right. Even the major supermarkets are stocking hot cross buns and chocolate eggs before the last of the Christmas stock has even left the building. While this has raised more than a few eyebrows, spokespeople for the chains argue that consumer demand for the products is driving the shift in seasonal availability, and they expect to be selling more than ever. Whether consumers are trying to spread the cost of the holiday over several weeks, or it’s simply the fact that irresistible temptations are there, Australian businesses will do well to start moving perishable seasonal food items in now.
While it might seem risky, Easter food items are primarily chocolate—which is stored at ambient temperatures, so there’s no extra cost for cold storage on top of food grade storage fees. Easter food typically doesn’t need a hard sell—and if you wait, you could be missing out on some solid trade in the next couple of months.
Easter spending trends you wouldn’t expect
While food is always at the top of the list in Easter trade, e-commerce is showing some surprising trends.Many businesses have been gathering digital information to establish the financial impact of the Easter shopping season on online businesses, and they’ve found that hot on the heels of food—and above gifts and greeting cards—is clothing.
Analysis of search engine terms and results has revealed that clothing is second only to food in the Easter shopping onslaught, most likely due to celebrations during the holiday. While Easter gatherings have traditionally been limited to low-key religious observance, Easter parties are on the rise, and people are making the most of the holiday period with higher-key events than the customary family camping weekend that was once the hallmark of the season.
Another unlikely finding is in Easter gifts and decorations: people are now spending more on decorating for Easter events.
But they’re buying more gifts that aren’t specific to the season. In effect, all businesses retailing FMCG’s and general merchandise should be ready now for peak sales—with flexible warehousing solutions, innovative inventory management, and reliable transport providers.
Flexible logistics for the Easter sales peak
If the Easter sales peaks over the last few years are anything to go by, Australian businesses will need to be flexible to meet demand this season. Good 3PL providers will have flexible storage options to accommodate bigger inventories as they service their markets in peak demand, and they’ll be able to taper it off when the season passes so there’s no money wasted.
Many businesses find that offering free shipping incentives encourages sales in peak periods,and to make sure this doesn’t translate into lost revenue, they need a good 3PL to ensure the large volumes of stock are transported fast and professionally. And with large volumes of clothing predicted to be moving, they’re going to need to be ready this season for the returns: logistics providers who are efficient in reverse logistics will help to keep customers happy, and stock where it needs to be.
There are also a few important public holidays over the Easter period, and with variable opening hours and weekends, businesses will need some innovative logistics solutions to avoid cutting off potential sales—particularly e-commerce, who won’t be able to rely on the post.While the shopping season has already started, there will always be last-minute shoppers looking for service, and temporary services like hot shot deliveries can help them stretch their trading hours and make the most of the seasonal rush, allowing them to service their market regardless of distance or public holidays.
If you’re a business owner looking to make the most out of a growing peak sales season, G&D Partners can be a reliable partner in your Easter trade.