Santa’s Elves, or Ecommerce Fulfillment will be slightly busier this holiday season compared to 2011. Fulfillment Services, as it is also called, will once again be counted upon to make Christmas magic happen. As usual, impatient consumers will rely on the team’s efficiency to package goodies to exact specifications and have them all delivered on time.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; Christmas shopping will be a little busier this month and the next, compared to the same period last year. Retail organizations, auditing firms and public opinion polls are all saying that both online, and brick and mortar holiday shopping will get just a little better. The big unknown is whether the nation is finally starting to get over the hump.
The big hiccup occurred in 2008, fueled by financial institutions struggling from a nasty spiral of indebtedness. Since that time on, North America and the rest of the world, particularly Europe seem to have been caught in a glue trap of economic sluggishness. If anything, the slight yet consistent improvement from last year to this year is a welcome sign.
Still, it’s hard to tell if the positive sign is likely to be sustained in the coming years. Perhaps only time will tell. However, when one looks at Fulfillment Services, it looks like all is well in retail land. Already, Ecommerce Fulfillment had started to move at break-neck speed, way before November.
Retailers big and small have learned to rely on Fulfillment Services to do a litany of things for them, especially during holiday months. While most Ecommerce Fulfillment outfits work the whole year through, their busiest days do fall on holidays. As an outsourced, trained and ready-to-go workforce, store and website owners alike look to them as a solution.
In some cases, Fulfillment Services may be called upon just to pick up slack. In most cases, however, they really are Santa’s helpers in every way except the midget status. Nobody sees them. Like Promofill, based in southern California, the facilities of the archetypal Ecommerce Fulfillment is usually a sprawling lot.
Their work behind the scenes is often triggered by the movement of a shopping cart online. From then on, Fulfillment Services becomes obsessed with completing an online order to the letter, like a SWAT team or the Mariners.
The closer it gets to Christmas, the busier Ecommerce Fulfillment gets.
Thad Rueter, senior editor at InternetRetailer.com reports that according to eMarketer, online shoppers will spend $54.47 billion this season, up 16.8% from last year’s figures. It’s a healthy sign from the previous year’s $46.63 billion; but anyone who says that the Ecommerce Fulfillment sector will be terribly swamped has got to be kidding. On the contrary, it is going to be business as usual.
Every member of Fulfillment Services is trained for the worst and chances are, he or she had already seen the worst. It’s not likely going to be this year or the next, if one were to believe all the projections. However, there is always a Plan B if anything unexpected were to happen.
Facebook, Amazon, eBay or some other sites might induce a totally unexpected rush or spurt as it happens every now and then, and when the moment comes, Ecommerce Fulfillment should be up and running like clockwork. In the final analysis, this is what everyone at Fulfillment Services should be prepared for this season.
Here’s what’s more to expect: 62% of consumers won’t be training their hard-earned dollar on consumer electronics this season, according to a Booz & Co. survey featured on MarketingCharts.com. Rather, they would be more predisposed to purchase apparel (42%) or a downloadable gift (45%). There is also an apparent reversal in roles as 4 out 10 respondents say they would window-shop in-store first, prior to making a purchase online.
This is where it gets a bit controversial. Apparently, consumers won’t be looking as much as last year for deals in stores. Instead, they would concentrate more on getting such deals on the Web. The explanation given: Consumers will want to get away from crowded stores to enhance their shopping experience.
Thanks to Fulfillment Services, eMarketer also predicts that this Christmas, “consumers will have more daily deals and limited-time sales to choose from.
” For Ecommerce Fulfillment, this is definitely a pat on the back; but as fearless forecasts go, there could always be a dark horse or a wild card in the horizon. So what Fulfillment Services intends to do in the light of all these market prophecies, is to honor its time-honored dictum: Expect the best, but be ready for the worst.