In this blog, we discuss the quickly approaching fourth quarter, its importance for any retailer especially during this pandemic, and our best practices and tips to navigate it.

The fourth quarter always seems to surprise many businesses, especially this year as it is literally just a few months away! As you are most likely well aware, the fourth quarter is one of the busiest times of the year, and with COVID-19 and the Delta variant, there are a lot of question marks that will appear during this time period alongside the increased consumer demand. Is your business ready to take on this tricky period? 

Driving Growth 

Forecasters are predicting a record-breaking and unpredictable year. The National Retail Federation is looking at retail sales to possibly go up to $4.4 trillion with online sales expected to grow up to 23 percent up to $1.13 trillion. This is compared to the $4.02 trillion in retail sales from 2020. Economists like Beth Ann Bovino also predict a steady growth in the economy for more demand and increased GDP growth, which she last predicted to be at 2.8%, the strongest increase in 37 years. 

Much of this demand is set from the reopening of the economy and multiple stimulus bills that are currently in place. As people nationally are wanting to get out more, major industries are all seeing demand skyrocket as well as many having some additional income benefitted by rising wages, stimulus checks, and additional support. There is concern though that there may be some choppy waters ahead as the Delta COVID-19 variant continues to make the future forecast of the economy reopening rather murky along with possibly inflation that lingers further than expected. Economists warn that a balanced approach and keen eye are necessary to watch in the coming months. 

Tips on Best Ways to Prepare

How does one prepare for this confusing and busy fourth quarter this year? One important first step is making sure that you are mapping out your upcoming dates clearly to know when best to prepare both inventory and best practices. This means that if you have seen your sales in previous years spike a few days before Black Friday or knowing that Christmas is going to bring in certain spikes in demand, it’s best to not only mark these dates down but also note the ramp up period needed to stock and distribute your goods to the right people in your area. 

Not only do you need to check this against your own historical data but because of the variabilities in the supply chain in this particular climate, you need to also work with the right facility. Why? Because when an important milestone date comes, like Black Friday, your products need to be received and shipped out in a timely manner, especially with the consumer expectation of quick and efficient delivery. Last year was an important example of many business owners not being able to get their goods out to their customers in a timely and efficient time period due to lacking the right partner and not preparing in time. Customers complained about these delayed or poorly distributed packages, resulting in both refunds and a hit on brand reputation. Marketplace Pulse saw the greatest amount of negative reviews and sentiment for online sellers last year with more than 11% of typed out reviews being negative, doubling that of the previous record. 

Here at TRG, we are well-versed in making sure our clients have the best data possible as well as efficient shipping. Order transmissions are assigned to an account representative via TRG Fulfillment’s 3PL Central warehouse management system, and our order warehousing and fulfillment is highly efficient, with 99.8% of orders processed within 24 hours. Our warehouse staff is proficient in assembling all manner of pack-outs for shipment, from single packages to large orders with over 20 years of experience under our belt. 

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