Miami, USA (Market Media), November 18, 2014 – APS Fulfillment, Inc. , one of the nation’s leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, is weighing in on approaching holiday sales forecasts, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and what online retailers need to do to stay competitive.
“Despite muted economic growth, most forecasts are calling for an increase in sales this holiday season,” says Charles Aultman, president of APS Fulfillment, Inc. The general consensus is that retail sales will increase between four percent and 4.5%; if these predictions hold up, this would mark the largest increase in three years and the first time since 2011 that holiday sales have climbed by more than four percent. Over the last 10 years, average holiday sales have grown 2.9% annually. (Source: Marum, A., “With Black Friday just around the corner, most forecasts call for an increase in holiday sales this year,” OregonLive.com, November 6, 2014; www.oregonlive.com/window-shop/index.ssf/2014/11/forecasts_call_for_another_ste.html.)
“While overall holiday sales are expected to be strong, the biggest growth will come from online sales,” says Aultman. “Black Friday online sales are forecast to climb 28% year-over-year to $2.48 billion, while Cyber Monday sales are predicted to rise 15% to $2.60 billion.” (Source: Barnato, K., “Why Cyber Monday may soon be a thing of the past,” CNBC web site, November 13, 2014; www.cnbc.com/id/102180619.)
With holiday sales accounting for roughly 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales, Aultman observes that brands will need to enhance their services to entice new shoppers and stay competitive. That could mean stretching out Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales throughout November and even into December. Brands may also have to slash current discounts even further.
“What retailers want to avoid, however, is the delay to holiday deliveries that plagued U.S. shoppers in 2013. Customers were left in a lurch last holiday season, when millions of parcels were delivered later than promised,” he adds. “Customers didn’t blame the retailers—they blamed the shipping company—but the fact of the matter is that the majority of the issues initiated with those retailers who either didn’t have the proper internal systems in place or failed to upgrade shipping.”
Aultman explains that while offering free shipping can entice online shoppers, if the internal workflow processes are not in place and the orders are late, the brand’s reputation will suffer. This holiday season, companies need to gain a better understanding of their inventory and sales workflow process, from the inbound order, to accurate pick-and-pack, to speedy delivery.
“Competitive prices are one way to attract a customer, but once they’ve purchased it online, the only thing that matters is that they receive it when promised,” he notes. “One way of doing this is by selecting a warehousing and fulfillment company that uses a supply chain strategy that can keep up with seasonal demand and receives orders the second they’re placed, as opposed to being backlogged and sending in batches.”
“Secondly, it’s imperative that brands with an online presence also make sure their fulfillment company is close to all transportation hubs,” Aultman concludes. “At APS Fulfillment, we make sure that products can be received, inventoried, and shipped in two days.”
APS Fulfillment, Inc. is one of the United States’ leading cost-effective fulfillment and integrated direct mail marketing companies, offering affordable and real-time fulfillment services to small, medium, and large companies. Its state-of-the-art technology provides turnkey solutions for high-volume perfect-match mailings, personalized direct mail, snap-pak mailers, postcards, and triple-tabbed booklets. More information on APS Fulfillment, Inc. is available by visiting the firm’s web site at www.APSFulfillment.com or by calling 954-582-7450.