Retailers Invested in Fulfillment and Demand Forecasting Post-Pandemic. Will it Pay Off for Black Friday?

 

Black Friday is right around the corner, marking the first climax of the holiday shopping season. As early as last year, retailers have been gearing up for months now for a “normal” Black Friday, working to meet rising consumer demand. One (albeit small sample size) Statista report, conducted by Bain & Company and Microsoft, found a majority of retail executives prioritized investments in omnichannel fulfillment capacity, productive planning, and demand forecasting strategies.

Retailers Invested in Fulfillment and Demand Forecasting Post-Pandemic

Even with a focus on making sure supply meets holiday demand, retailers still feel they’re staring into the void, with one survey saying as many as 82% of retail executives are either very or somewhat concerned about stock-outs and inventory problems. They’re right to be weary, too, not only because fresh supply chain disruption seems to pop up monthly, but because consumer spending confidence is rebounding from 2020. Deloitte reports that, after a dip in spending confidence in 2020, 75% of consumers plan to spend the same or more this holiday season, up from 62% the year before.

Change in Holiday Spending Behavior

After actively stocking for Black Friday and Christmas shopping, are retailers actually prepared? Some supply chain experts argue the holiday season is already insulated against the worst of supply chain disruption because of proactive retailer buying. During our Black Friday Roundtable, DeAnna McIntosh, Executive Director & Co-Founder of The Affinity Group and Bryan Eisenberg, Co-Founder of BuyerLegends, broke down where they see retailers actually being able to meet the moment.

“I also think that’s a chance for alternate brands to take advantage of that,” Eisenberg said. “If people want the new Apple Watch and they’re a little delayed, if the retailer doesn’t have it, there’s a great opportunity for everything from Amazon Halo to WHOOP to Biostrap to start messaging consumers, ‘Hey, they don’t have it in stock but we have this and it also does this that that one doesn’t do.'”

“You can’t hide from the disruption. Retail is changing all the time, something could happen tomorrow. All we can do is prepare,” McIntosh said. “And like we were saying earlier, have different options for the customer, have back ups ready, have the substitutes ready, so that your customer service will remain no matter what happens.”

For the full Black Friday Live Roundtable, where Eisenberg and McIntosh give a retail supply chain state of the union, dig into more granular supply chain trends impacting retail outlook, and offer strategies for ecommerce success, click here or head to our Events tab.

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