Peak season 2022: What your business can expect

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From changing consumer buyer behaviors, to supply chain challenges, here's what to expect this peak season – and tips on how your business can prepare.

Black Friday is nearly here, and as any savvy online business knows, it marks the start of the very lucrative sales period (hurrah!). But – there’s a but. This year, the e-commerce sector will have to contend with unprecedented global inflation, unstable supply chains and new consumer buying behavior.

Panic not though – we’re here to share our international logistics and e-commerce know how to ensure you still have a very merry sales period.

Here are the challenges that lie ahead – and how your business can adapt.

Consumer shopping habits in peak 2022

1. Consumers’ budgets will shrink

With global inflation continuing to bite, 42% more shoppers worldwide plan to start buying gifts earlier this holiday season before prices rise further1. Many intend to reduce the amount they spend, too. 

What your business can do

  • Now’s the time to review your pricing strategy to ensure it’s competitive. Look at your competitors’ price points – can you match or go lower?
  • Do you have some excess inventory lurking in a warehouse somewhere? It’s the perfect time to offer some discounts to help shift it.
  • Offer lots of flexible payment options – including a “Buy Now, Pay Later” solution – at checkout, so customers can find one which suits their needs.
  • Don’t forget to offer free shipping – this is always a huge incentive for shoppers, and will be even more so during these tight times.

2. Value for money will be a priority

According to eBay’s Spend Trends 2022 report3, 60% of consumers said that good value for money is the most important factor when it comes to this year’s Christmas shopping.

What your business can do

  • Be prepared for people taking their time before committing to buy. Provide inspiration – such as gift guides – but don’t be too pushy.
  • Highlight the quality and unique selling points of your products within the listings so customers know they’re getting something special!
  • Shoppers will be spending more time on marketplaces like Amazon where they can easily compare prices – here’s how to set up a store there.
  • Product bundling – offering multiple items together for a reduced price – will be appealing to shoppers looking for value, while giving you an opportunity to upsell.



3. Brand loyalty will wane

With price now a priority, consumers will become “brand promiscuous”, shopping around for the best deals. For e-commerce businesses already facing rising costs, there’s a dilemma: maintain current pricing but risk customers switching to lower-cost brands, or lower prices in the short term but see profits plummet.

What your business can do

Put the customer experience at the heart of your sales campaign this peak season to keep existing customers and attract new ones:

  • Think personalization – whether that’s sending customers personalized gift guides (you can use their browsing history to inform this), emailing loyal customers exclusive holiday discount codes, or little touches like addressing customers by their first name across communications.
  • Engage with customers on social media, and respond to questions quickly. Be an active presence – you are your brand’s best salesperson after all!
  • A well-polished e-commerce website ensures a great customer experience. There’s a lot to consider – our golden rules of e-commerce will help you tick them all off.



4. Green shopping will trend

This year, sustainability is set to play a central role. 83% of shoppers will seek out eco-friendly brands and products this holiday season, whilst 42% would even consider paying more for sustainable shipping options4.

What your business can do

  • What are your brand’s eco-credentials? Integrate them into your marketing communications, and shout about them on your e-commerce website.
  • Remember the packaging. If your customer’s small order arrives swathed in layers of excessive packaging, they won’t be impressed – worse still, they might “package shame” your brand on social media! Here are some tips to get it right.
  • Introduce a carbon offsetting scheme. DHL Express offers a range of climate-neutral shipping options through its GoGreen portfolio, allowing businesses to offset their shipments’ carbon emissions with investments in climate protection projects around the world – including planting one million trees a year!



5. Businesses will face a perfect storm of supply chain challenges

There’s the war in Ukraine, rising gas prices, global inflation and lingering Covid border policies delaying exports from China. It’s no wonder 67% of US SMBs say they have already faced inventory challenges in 2022, whilst 80% have seen their supply chain costs rise5. With e-commerce’s busiest season just around the corner, pressures are only set to increase.

What your business can do

  • Diversify suppliers: relying on just one is risky in the current climate. Working with several means your business will be more resilient to market changes.
  • Explore digital-first solutions like inventory-tracking software and automated warehouses. These can help your business better predict consumer demand, drive down marginal costs and reduce waste.
  • Be ready to pivot your sales strategy at a moment’s notice. If you’re experiencing a delivery delay from a supplier, for example, switch to push other available products on your website. No customer likes an “out of stock” message!
  • Many retailers are having to cut costs across their business, but offering customers free shipping and returns are huge sales drivers, so should be safeguarded. Instead, look at other areas of your business to see where savings could be made.

Last, but by no means least, trust the DHL Discover platform as your go-to resource for peak season tips, tricks and insights. As the world’s most international company and an e-commerce logistics leader, we will be sharing lots of dedicated guides over the coming weeks to help you navigate the busy sales period. First stop, the Peak Season Toolkit. Happy selling!