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With October 31 ringing in the unofficial start of the holiday season for many people, it’s time to start looking ahead to the coming months and discerning any issues likely to plague the holiday gift-buying experience. 

So far, 2021 is already looking like it will be the biggest year ever for eCommerce. Just like with 2020, many people are still opting to avoid the crowds and get their holiday shopping done from the comfort of their own homes. Although more businesses have adapted to the influx of online sales they are likely to experience, there are plenty of caveats that could complicate the eCommerce industry this holiday season. 

Potential Issues Ecom Sellers are Expected to Face for the 2021 Holiday Season

Labor shortages are still affecting many industries, and the problem appears to have no end in sight. This could have substantial effects on many businesses this holiday season. The labor shortage will likely have a larger impact on brick and mortar businesses, but it’s safe to assume that the eCommerce industry will also start to feel some of this strain. 

These labor shortages will also likely contribute to existing supply chain issues affecting all types of business. Expect shipping delays, inventory issues, and other problems that will affect both business and customers as people begin their holiday shopping. Unfortunately, many of these issues will likely prove unavoidable. That being said, there are a few things you can do to alleviate any stress and ensure any holiday gifts for loved ones arrive in plenty of time for the big day. 

Avoiding Problems

The first and most important thing is to start your holiday sales early. With Halloween behind us, many of the more popular holiday season products of 2021 will likely begin to sell out, and there's no telling if or when they will get restocked. By creating those holiday shopping lists as early as possible, you can help your customers get all of their holiday shopping out of the way without the headaches of trying to find a replacement gift at the last minute. 

Speaking of last-minute gifts, there’s always the chance supply chain issues will make certain items hard to obtain, regardless of how early consumers begin their holiday shopping. Should this be the case, gift cards are a solid option and likely something that we will be seeing a lot of this year. Gift cards give the option to wait for the out-of-stock item to come back and allow the person on the receiving end to pick an alternative if their first choice gift is unavailable. 

Holiday Season 2021 Shopping Trends

So what is the holiday shopping season going to look like this year? With stores capable of having more in-person shoppers this year compared to 2020, many stores will be planning more in-store events than they did last year. This means that Black Friday will likely be more akin to what we’ve seen in past years rather than last year's anomaly.

With Covid-19 still in play, many stores will be trying to spread out their in-person shopping over several weeks or months, rather than putting the larger savings on a single day. Expect frequent sales and big savings throughout November and December, especially from major retailers. 

Even with increased in-person shopping, most businesses still rely on eCommerce to carry the bulk of sales until Christmas. Many eCommerce businesses like Amazon will be depending on a steady stream of revenue throughout the month, rather than putting the bulk of their deals on a single day. With eCommerce being a significant portion of this year's shopping, Amazon is likely in for a lucrative season, especially as more and more customers look for gift buying options that offer free shipping, as is the case for Amazon Prime Members. 

With deals coming quickly throughout the next few months, encourage your customer base to download the mobile apps for the platforms you utilize for your eCom sales. That can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and alert them to any upcoming deals or sales. If you sell on your own site, start driving traffic there post-haste with informative ads and engaging email newsletters. 

Popular Gifts for the 2021 Holiday Season

The gifts that are trending this year are pretty similar to what we saw in 2020. Most notably, electronics will be the hottest category this year for all ages and demographics of gift-givers. Shoppers will expect plenty of good deals on items like tablets, headphones, and larger electronics like smart TVs. 

There are plenty of electronics that will continue to be popular this year. Noise-canceling headphones, in particular, will likely see an increase in sales, with many people still trying to remain distraction-free while working from home. In a similar vein, wireless headphones will also be a popular item this year -- many turn to Apple AirPods and other similar products to make working on the go more convenient. Make use of these trends to offer your customers similar items that make working from home more enjoyable. 

Unfortunately, some of the biggest items this holiday season will also be the hardest to find, due to supply chain issues still piling up. Nintendo Switches will likely be heavily affected by this, which has been an issue for the console going back to 2020. If any retailer can get them onto their shelves in quantity, we expect them to go quickly. 

Sony’s new PS5 will also suffer a similar and possibly worse fate than the Nintendo Switch. The new PS5 gaming console has been incredibly hard to come by, with many major retailers getting very few consoles sporadically for much of the year. The holiday season will only worsen this bottleneck, because the gaming console is likely at the top of many gifting lists. Selling accessories for these hot-ticket items will help you cash in on mass interest, even if you can’t sell the main item. 

Finally, other tech items that are continuing to trend upwards this year include VR headsets and drones. Several popular VR headsets are available that shouldn’t suffer the same supply chain issues as the PS5. The Oculus Quest 2 seems to be dominating the VR industry right now, and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The drone market is much more varied, with tons of different options available in various pricing options. Many gift guides will be featuring the DJI Mini 2 foldable drone this holiday season. Featuring 4k video and a range of up to 4,000 meters, this drone is both highly capable and beginner-friendly, as well as being incredibly lightweight compared to similar drones on the market. 

Where Does Payability Come In?

Regardless of what this holiday season has in store for your business, Payability can help you with any cash flow needs that may arise during this busy time of year. Payability offers various options such as Instant Access, giving you access to 80% of your marketplace payouts the next day. Payability also offers Instant Advance, so that you can get a large infusion of capital in as little as 24 hours to help your business prepare for any unforeseen circumstances during the holidays. 

Payability offers multiple solutions and is specifically designed for eCommerce so that you can find a flexible solution for your specific needs.

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