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4 Steps to Take Now to Prepare for Peak 2024

Blog Post
Here’s what you can do now to get ready for the 2024 holiday shopping season.
person holding credit card holiday shopping on laptop

Online sales increased by more than 3x the rate of physical retail sales during the 2023 holiday shopping season, thanks to mobile commerce taking its first-ever holiday lead, reports eMarketer. eCommerce and mobile are expected to continue to outpace store sales in peak 2024.  

At Radial, we prepare for peak year-round, and work closely with our eCommerce customers to ensure they’re on track and focused on the areas that will drive the biggest ROI in profits and customer experience. We’re seeing some key 2023 trends and lessons learned that will shape the coming holiday shopping season. Here’s what you can do now to get ready for the 2024 holiday shopping season.  

Optimize Your App 

Mobile commerce (mCommerce) accounted for 50.6% of total retail eCommerce holiday sales in 2023, and is expected to account for 52.7% in the 2024 season. Now is the time to optimize your apps to make omniexperience seamless. Focus on user experience and engagement, with loyalty programs, exclusive offers, digital wallets, and personalized recommendations. 

mCommerce is as much about lifestyle as convenience. Think of how people spend their time during the holidays: shopping on their phone while relaxing with their families, on break at work, while in bed, and doing comparison shopping  in store. Your app either contributes to a great customer experience by supporting the way they enjoy shopping or it detracts from it. Build in features and functionality that make it super easy to shop with your brand, supports the shopper’s lifestyle, and promotes brand awareness with helpful notifications.  

Start Promoting by October 1 

Shoppers begin the holiday season before Thanksgiving. Brands have caught on and while Cyber Five remains important, it’s total share of holiday eCommerce sales has fallen from a 20% peak in 2019 to 16.2% in 2023. Amazon and Walmart offer special sales events in October, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales begin long before Thanksgiving.  

This trend, coupled with last year and this year’s emphasis on discounts and deals, means that brands need to plan for a longer promotional period and time their steepest discounts accordingly. 

While brands offered greater average discount prices across the board in 2023 than the year before, many shoppers still felt dissatisfied.  

In Radial research, 66% of consumers reported that “lack of deals and sales” was a top 2023 holiday shopping frustration. We anticipate that shoppers will continue to prioritize getting the best deals – and be willing to hold out for what they believe will be the very best deals (as they did last Cyber Five). Retailers need to plan their inventory and order fulfillment to scale during their promotional periods.  

Streamline Technology and Fulfillment 

Speaking of inventory, Radial research found that 68% of consumers were challenged last peak by “out of stock” items; further 44% of shoppers said they didn’t order items that wouldn’t arrive by a specific date. “Slow shipping speeds” irked 57% of shoppers, with 51% citing “late or delayed orders” as most troublesome.  

eCommerce brands can use predictive analytics and real-time inventory visibility technology can avoid out of stocks. They can negotiate better terms with carriers and may need to revamp shipping options during the holidays. A fulfillment partner, like Radial, can make sure that inventory and shipping are on target. We also leverage automation to ensure scalability during the highest peak times.  

Partner with Your 3PL 

Peak is very much about risk mitigation. Solid planning and having trusted partners with the experience and capacity to scale are foundations for success. 

At Radial, planning for peak is a year-round activity. We continually prepare by evaluating last year’s data and meeting with our eCommerce customers to level-set, listen and learn about their unique goals, challenges, and roadmap. Then we work with you to develop an ongoing strategy to meet your needs. It’s a collaborative partnership.  

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Radial can help from click to delivery during peak.