With a pandemic still looming, what can businesses expect for this year’s holiday season? 

Last year, holiday retail sales hit its forecasted growth of 4.1 percent, raking in $730.2 billion. Similarly, projections for this year would have boasted stronger numbers–but then Covid-19 hit the globe. Now, with the virus’s long-term impact on the economy, analysts have been cautious in their forecasts

The coronavirus has, after all, upended how the industry operates-exposing supply chain weaknesses, accelerating digital adoption and shuttering physical stores.

Related Article: The Importance of Supply Chain Management: Scaling with the Right Technology

With the holidays coming up, one of the most critical times of the year, how can businesses navigate the season?

Here’s What to Expect for Holiday Season 2020

While uncertainty is still high up in the air, there are key changes we’ve seen taking flight over the course of the pandemic – which will undoubtedly impact the holiday season. 

#1 Digitisation Takes Center Stage

Covid-19 has greatly accelerated the shift online, forcing not just employers to implement remote working, but also to trade online. A report by PwC states that 61% of consumers will do most of their holiday shopping online. 

However, as noted in our previous article, From Clicks to Customers: Myths on Moving Online, businesses are still reluctant to move online because of traditional beliefs. 

“By adopting digital, businesses are actually saving a large chunk of their operational time and minimising costly human errors.”

Alia Alsagoff, Head of Business Development at Dropee

“There’s a common misconception that digitisation means extra unnecessary cost, because you cannot see that immediate return on investment,” says Alia Alsagoff, the director of business development at Dropee. “But going digital isn’t instant gratification – it’s a long-term solution to stay ahead of the industry.”

Digitisation extends beyond setting up an online store, it also includes speeding up processes by eliminating manual tasks, streamlining operations, and leaning out supply chains. 

“By adopting digital, businesses are actually saving a large chunk of their operational time and minimising costly human errors,” Alsagoff reiterates. 

So what are some of the key strategies in digitisation?

Key Strategies?

So while e-commerce is still king, digitisation in overall processes will better meet your goals – especially when demands are fluctuating. 

#2 Swings in Demand

When Covid-19 first hit, shockwaves were felt across supply chains – businesses saw demand swings that gravely impacted inventory management. According to McKinsey, 75 percent faced issues with production and distribution — all requiring changes in the future. 

Given the dire situation, only time will tell if demands will increase or remain stagnant. While there are optimistic reports that state shoppers will spend more this holiday season, it’s uncertain if it applies to every industry. 

What’s more important here is to dive deeper into your own target audience and to identify demand from there. Anyone with Dropee Direct’s subscription can easily do so, as the dashboard features real-time analytics to understand your customers’ behaviours. 

The Importance of Supply Chain Management: Scaling with the Right Technology

Read the article here >>

Without a clear overview of how your customer behaves, you have a higher chance of overstocking or underbuying. 

Key Strategies?

Identifying demand is more than sourcing for the right products, it’s also finding ways to better engage with your customers. 

#3 Online Customer Experience Matters More than Ever

As businesses shift online, the next challenge is to improve the buying experience. 

In today’s fragmented industry, buyers are often thrown off by inconsistent buying experiences. Differing products & prices among retailers, for example, even within the same geographic area, is a common occurrence. 

Every step of the customer journey must be carefully planned, from building curated promotions to displaying real-time pricing. 

Personalisation also means communication. Covid-19 has solidified the importance of empathy, quality engagement and emotional connection. A study shows that with a heavier reliance on online shopping, Malaysians expect merchants and logistics partners to be more communicative during the e-commerce experience. 

Key Strategies? 

‘Tis the Season to Be Innovative

To stay ahead of the competition, the key is to evolve and innovate. 

While these strategies will carry you through the holiday season, it’s important to remember that these are also permanent shifts that will continue beyond Covid-19. 

For businesses across Malaysia, Dropee is an e-commerce solutions provider that seeks to support our local B2B entities by providing them with a platform to help them streamline and manage their customers and inventories with efficiency and ease. We also help to connect businesses with one another via an online marketplace where they can reach out to more people in a fuss-free space.

To learn more about what we do, reach out to us for a free consultation with our team and get a headstart in digitising your business today!


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