My wife, Kirsten, is notorious for buying Christmas gifts way too early. I wish I was kidding, but she came home from the store a couple weeks ago (in August) with Christmas gifts for our daughters. I always give her a hard time, but this year is different.
I don’t need to remind you of how our world has changed in 2020, but you may not have considered how the world has changed for brands like Parker Baby, and subsequently for you.
April 2020 + eCommerce
In April 2020, eCommerce (online business) sales as a whole jumped a whopping 49%. If you were already dependent on eCommerce for certain items like we were, you probably remember significant delays in online orders, including the ever-reliable Amazon.com. What used to take a day to receive now took a month to receive.
Most people simply adjusted their buying habits, resorting to brick and mortar stores for essential items and waiting a month for those “non-essential” items to arrive at their doorstep. At Parker Baby, we scrambled to get orders to our beloved customers as soon as possible. We learned a lot that month, and it eventually led to us finally getting our own warehouse.
Okay, now imagine all of this occurring between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Imagine trying to order a gift for someone the first week of December and realizing it won’t be delivered until January. Imagine half of the items on your spouse’s Christmas list being out of stock before Thanksgiving (Guys: this is not a valid excuse for coming up short).
Holiday Shopping 2020 Expectations
More Online Shopping
With several stores announcing they will not be open on Thanksgiving, and many more announcing limited holiday hours, expect to shop more online.
Delays, Delays, and more Delays
We saw it in April - we’ll see it again. USPS continues to struggle to keep up with online shopping demand. UPS, FedEx, and other carriers will try to pick up the slack, but will likely come up short. Amazon is running out of space, and new warehouse space won’t be ready in time for the Holiday surge.
Out of Stock
We (the Parker Baby team) regretfully know this all too well. With the increase in demand due to COVID, plus the surge of holiday shopping, many brands will struggle to keep items on their virtual shelves.
How to Prepare
Get an early start!
Like I said, I would love to give Kirsten a hard time about doing her Christmas shopping in August. But I just can’t this year. Just picture all your friends scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping in December while you sit back and watch while drinking a peppermint mocha on your throne of dusty Christmas gifts. Expect brands (wink wink) to get a jump start on Black Friday deals and take advantage of these early opportunities.
2020: The Year of the Gift Card?
When/If the shipping companies throw in the towel in December, don’t forget that many brands offer gift cards. When things (somewhat) normalize in January, recipients will be able to purchase the gift of their choosing (and receive it in a reasonable time).
Be the first to know!
Sign up for email lists of brands you know you will be purchasing from during the Holidays. At Parker Baby, we use our email list to keep our customers informed about products being restocked and the latest deals on our website (hint: you can sign up for our email list at the bottom of this page).
Shop on brand websites directly.
There are a lot of great reasons to shop directly on brand websites (like ParkerBaby.com). For us, we love having more control over the customer experience (compared to if you purchased our products somewhere else). Expect brands, like us, to do more to get you your order in time for the Holidays.
And that’s it! I would normally apologize for posting anything related to holiday shopping in September, but 2020 is not a normal year. Start early, know what to expect, and we’ll see you on the other side.