Peak season is right around the corner -- which means it’s time for retail and eCommerce businesses to start preparing. Unfortunately, planning for peak season is getting harder every year. And this time around we’re also faced with a lot of new unknowns.
Inflation risks pose questions around purchase volume. Covid-19 variants, vaccination levels, and revenge shopping trends offer different ideas about shopping preferences. And businesses are facing labor shortages and supply chain disruptions at critical ports that make it difficult to get products on the shelves.
There is a silver lining, though. Let’s take a look at how predictive analytics can make your holiday sales strategy planning easier.
Predicting Inventory Needs Months in Advance
With multiweek backlogs at important ports, retailers are struggling to meet customer demand. And this will likely worsen as we head into the busiest time of the year.
However, you can try to get ahead of the backlog by ordering in-demand products months in advance. Predictive analytics can show you which items your customers are currently loving and forecast what they’re likely to buy based on their purchasing behaviors. Plus, you can successfully figure out how much inventory is needed at every location.
Not only does using this increase the likelihood that you’ll get your peak season inventory by the time you need it, but it can also decrease unnecessary strain on the supply chain that could bog it down for months longer.
Plan Seasonal Employee Needs
Finding qualified people to help your team manage peak season is hard enough during a normal year. But with ongoing labor shortages, this year will be more difficult.
You don’t have to wait until customers are flooding your stores and eCommerce site in November and December to decide how many seasonal employees you need. In fact, you can decide now, by using predictive analytics to forecast foot traffic and online shopping volume in your busiest months.
As a result, you can put your job listings out before your teams are overwhelmed (and every retailer and eCommerce business is trying to attract the same people you are) and increase your chances of getting seasonal employees in the door.
Create Targeted Marketing Campaigns
Knowing what your customers want before they do is always a challenge. But it’s necessary if you want to roll out successful marketing campaigns and sell products from season to season and year to year.
Fortunately, you can anticipate your customers’ future channel usage and product preferences by analyzing current and past behaviors. And with a predictive solution, you can continue to refine your forecasting as new behaviors emerge.
This means you can focus your energy on creating marketing campaigns for the channels your customers are actually using and send out highly targeted offers that your shoppers care about.
With so much going on this year, retailers and eCommerce brands need to be able to forecast future trends if they’re going to have a successful peak season. How can predictive analytics be used in business planning this year? By anticipating inventory needs for each channel and location, identifying future marketing opportunities, and pinpointing seasonal employee needs.