Is adaptability this season’s key to success?

For American small and mid sized companies, it just may come down to how adaptable they are in order to have a hugely successful holiday season. This holiday season seems to be a true test of resiliency and courage. Those who can shift and adapt may just end up the winners at the end of it all. This seems to be the mantra for the season as recent research, conducted by delivery giant DHL, seems to bear that observation out. The following is taken directly from that published research:

  • To gain insight into how the pandemic is impacting holiday season preparations and other business expectations for this holiday season, DHL conducted a survey of U.S. SMEs. Here are the key findings, compiled from the nearly 2,000 responses.
  • Supply chain challenges persist. When asked about expected business challenges this holiday season, 50% of respondents said supply chain delays were their biggest concern; 24% said staffing, 18% said rising inflation and 9% said international policies, such as Brexit and tariffs.
  • Large increases in e-commerce sales are expected. Nearly all the SMEs surveyed are optimistic about the 2021 holiday season. A large majority (61%) of respondents said they expect their holiday e-commerce sales to increase year-over-year (from the 2020 holiday season to the 2021 holiday season), with 39% expecting a significant increase. Twenty percent expect e-commerce holiday sales to decrease year-over-year and 19%
    expect sales will stay the same.

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  • Express shipping is top priority. Following last year’s holiday season, SMEs recognized that fast shipping is a priority for their customers, and they have adjusted their strategies to accommodate those needs. In fact, when asked what is most important to their online customers during the holiday season, 49% of respondents said fast/on-time shipping. And when asked what they are prioritizing this holiday season, 41% said express shipping options.
  • Businesses want to avoid disruptions at all costs. All the SME respondents said they were willing to go to great lengths for a seamless and successful holiday season:
    • 44% said they would listen to Jingle Bells on repeat if it meant their business would have a seamless and successful holiday season
    • 23% would sleep in the snow
    • 18% would take an eggnog bath
    • 16% would be Scrooge’s roommate
    Overall, the survey findings suggest that despite continued pandemic-related challenges, most SMEs have high expectations for the 2021 holiday season.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer