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Buckle up for a 2021 holiday season like no other.

2020 was a stellar online holiday shopping season—with online sales increasing 45.2% year over year during the prime holiday shopping period—but 2021 is a new year with its own set of challenges.

A more open U.S. economy and vaccinated consumers continue to fuel retail sales. But the world continues to grapple with the pandemic. Periodic manufacturing shutdowns, transportation backlogs and labor shortages have disrupted supply chains for months with no end in sight.

The August Strategy Insights “2021 Holiday Planning” includes survey results on how merchants are preparing for the 2021 holiday season and features the following articles written by Digital Commerce 360 editors:

In “Will shipping supply chain obstacles stifle holiday sales?” Digital Commerce 360’s fulfillment beat reporter James Melton details the headwinds merchants are facing within their supply chains and fulfillment operations and what that means for the holidays.

Several merchants weigh in on their strategies to adequately staff up this holiday season in “The peak season hiring push.

The omnichannel holiday hustle” showcases several retailer examples about how they are using omnichannel to their advantage for the holiday season.

Merchants share how they are ensuring their websites and back-end systems are in top condition for the expected surges in traffic they will see around the Thanksgiving weekend in “Keep it up: Why site performance matters.”

In “4 ways online merchants can prep for holiday shoppers,” Digital Commerce 360’s digital editor Stephanie Crets summarizes tips from Forrester Research’s recent holiday prep report, along with supporting retailer examples of implementing these practices.

Senior consumer insights analyst Lauren Freedman shares more tactics to implement to spur consumers to purchase over the holidays in her column “Ho, Ho, Ho, are you ready for the holidays?”

Shoppers favor e-retailers that make returns free and easy” shares more reasons why merchants should give their return policy a second look.

In “Supply chain snarls put holidays at risk for Toy maker MGA,” MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian discusses what these unprecedented supply chain challenges mean for its business, as the toy maker of L.O.L Surprise!, Bratz Dolls and Little Tikes relies on holiday sales.

Don’t miss out on the important insights you need to know about to have a successful holiday season!

Compliments of: GlobalPost, Webscale, Melissa Data, GEODIS, Algolia, Bolt, Radial, Locus Robotics, Akamai, Ekata, Amplience, Avalara, PerimeterX, Qubit, Loqate, SEMRUSH, Logicbroker, Commercetools, 6 River Systems.

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