#SmallBusinessAdvice

Small Business News: 1 December 2023

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover Content Team
3 min read
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This week’s SBN explores the new era of sustainable packaging, and the payment service retailers should be considering this holiday season to boost sales.

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Thanksgiving holiday weekend breaks records

It was a bumper year for e-commerce sales over the Thanksgiving period, according to data from the National Retail Federation1. In the US, a whopping 200.4 million consumers shopped over the five-day holiday weekend – which encapsulated Black Friday and Cyber Monday – up from 196.7 million last year.

Trends retailers should be aware of as they gear up for Christmas include a large proportion of sales made on mobile, and a new entry to the popular category list alongside clothing and accessories, and toys.

“This year is the first time personal care and beauty items were among the top five most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend, with nearly one-quarter of shoppers purchasing these items,” a spokesperson from the study said2.

Furthermore, 25% of shoppers reported buying gift cards for their loved ones – something holiday retailers should consider offering to incentivize buyers.

hand writing on calendar

BNPL spending to hit record high

Do you offer a Buy Now Pay Later service at checkout? As we head into the competitive festive weeks, you might well consider doing so. According to research from Adobe, online spending via a BNPL plan will be 17% higher this holiday season than last year3. One in five shoppers plan to use an installment plan to buy gifts.

“Consumers are very price conscious,” Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst Vivek Pandya told Bloomberg4. “Because of inflation, we’re seeing their debt levels increase and their savings level decrease.”

In fact, the more payment options you can offer at checkout, the better: online shoppers are 70% more likely to finalize a purchase if their preferred payment method is available5. Here are the ones your business should consider.

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More retailers adopt “keep it” returns policies

As any e-commerce business knows, product returns can be extremely damaging to profit margins. Amidst this, many online retailers are now offering “returnless” policies for unwanted products. This is when allowing a customer to keep the product along with a full refund is still more cost effective than return transportation, storage fees and other reselling expenses.  

Data from goTRG found that 59% of US retailers now offer such a policy – up from 26% last year6. Sellers of products with hygiene considerations – such as underwear and food – have been the first to adopt these policies.

Understandably, this option won’t be popular with all retailers. Instead, they can consider offering store credit or charging for returns. It can be a tricky subject to navigate, so check out our dedicated guide to returns management to help your business choose the right route.

recycle sign

EU packaging gets new sustainability targets

With e-commerce continuing to grow at a rapid rate, the European Parliament has recently voted in favor of a revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

The new rules dictate that by 2030, all packaging must be reusable or recyclable. Furthermore, 10% of all shipments should be sent in a “closed system” – where end customers will be required to return the packaging (to the retailer) once they have removed the products from it.

The details of the revision are still being finalized; whilst the European Parliament has voted in favor, the European Council has yet to agree. The move comes amidst growing awareness of the importance of sustainable packaging amongst e-commerce users – in fact, 90% of Gen-Z consumers showed a willingness to pay more for it7.

woman smiling at mobile phone

And finally…

It’s now December which means the countdown to Christmas is officially ON! Your business is no doubt in the throes of the seasonal rush, so be sure to check out our dedicated peak season guides to help you manage the logistics demands.

Don’t forget Super Saturday either – the last Saturday before the main event when last-minute shoppers really splurge the cash. This year, the day falls on the 21st December. By offering Express shipping, you can secure some extra sales. Don’t miss out!

Open a DHL Express Business Account to help your business grow.