You’ve all heard it; supply chain issues, labor shortages, delays, and inflation. Those are the current problems of 2021 as the world economy tries to restart itself after shutdowns. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem like there is an end in sight to those problems and this will certainly affect this year’s holiday shopping season. We have some tips for all shoppers but let’s dig into some factors to take into consideration when you’re shopping this season.
Computer chip shortages. Epic port congestion. And a serious lack of truck drivers. The world’s delicate supply chains are under extreme stress.
– The global supply chain nightmare is about to get worse by Matt Egan, CNN Business
These problems affect us, our suppliers, and our customers. We’re doing our best to manage our inventory but there are so many factors that are out of our hands. As the holiday season nears, the problems will unlikely subside anytime soon but we’re working hard to be ready for the increased demand of the holidays.
Mike Cardenas over at Forza Detailing wrote a great article about shipping delays in today’s e-commerce world that applies to today more than ever.
In today’s e-commerce world, ordering something is as simple as a few clicks on a keyboard or phone. We then expect to see our package waiting at our door within a day or so. In detailing, we all would love to have that as the common scenario, but in reality, we have all experienced some type of shipping delay or backorder at some point.
– Mike Cardenas of Forza Detailing
Here are some highlights from Mike’s article on why delays happen:
- Special Events – The SEMA Show is back in person for 2021 and that means some manufacturers attending the show might have shipping and distribution schedule adjustments likely due to staffing demands.
- Holidays – We all know the holidays are right around the corner and there are enough issues that arise in a “normal year”.
- Global Commerce Climate – This is a big point with demand booming as the world reopens but supply chains are all out of sync.
- New Products & Popular Favorites – Again SEMA 2021 is almost here and there will definitely be new products announced. There’s a possibility that resources were shifted to the new products limiting the supply of some of your favorite detailing products. I would expect some of these announcements to be high in demand with limited supply.
Those are just a few of the points that Mike hits on in his article. For more on shipping delays and how it affects your detailing business see his full shipping delays article with in-depth details.
Here are some of the other factors that may affect your shopping and business this holiday season:
- Weather – Winter is upon us and that means severe weather that can affect shipping times. It only takes one storm to back everything up even more and there is no way around that.
- Labor Shortages – There hasn’t been one business owner that I have talked to that hasn’t mentioned labor shortages as a problem. If you’re talking about a truck driver shortage you’re guaranteeing shipping delays in this current world. We’re experiencing it first hand as well.
- Inflation – It is here with overwhelming demand and low supplies. The law of supply and demand applies where demand exceeds supply then prices go up. I’ve heard multiple stories of people buying cars way above asking because they know there’s low supply and high demand. I’ve been guilty of the same thought process when there has been scarcity. Prices keep going up until demand subsides or supplies meet demand. This is really basic economics behind my points and there are so many more factors that come into play as well. We’ve seen inflation in so many areas in the economy already and detailing products are not immune to that either which can cut into everyone’s margins.
- Shipping Surges – This has been a big problem during the pandemic. When speaking to our shipping reps for USPS and FedEx, they have highlighted that due to the increased online shopping they are seeing an increase in overall packages moving through each facility. What they did not realize is that one local business can through everything out of order. One business can have certain pickups each week and if that specific business has a surge in orders, the drivers pick up more packages and that backs up the local facility your package may be moving through at the time. This could be one business or more, but the surge many businesses are seeing are putting stress on hubs, especially their local hubs. This varies from locations across the US and one day these hubs are okay, while the next they are completely backed up. Order early and order often to avoid these issues as much as possible.
Holiday Shopping Tips
Here are some of my holiday shopping tips to manage delays for you and/or your business:
- Product Inventory Management – My first tip for businesses is to read Mike Cardenas’ article on product inventory management. Mike goes through different scenarios, what to keep more in stock, what to keep less in stock, and his tips for managing inventory from his many years of experience. In short, stock what you can and order items you need as early as possible.
- Order Early – Ordering early when possible will help ensure get your products when you need them. I’m not saying overstock but ordering a little earlier will help you beat the holiday rush and not be behind if a delay in transit occurs. Retailers have taken the strategy to do some holiday sales earlier so it is possible you get the best price before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over the years we have been spreading out our promotions to alleviate that 4 day mega rush of the biggest shopping days of the year.
- Pre-order – This is mostly related to ordering at DI. As I mentioned earlier that SEMA is almost here and there will definitely be some great new product announcements. If there is something new that you want in your hands sooner than later I’d recommend pre-ordering so your order is in line to be processed. This helps us project demand better and then order accordingly too. When we put something on pre-order, we’re entering estimated shipping dates that are to the best of our knowledge and those dates do change, this also applies to back-ordered products.
- Contact Customer Service – Our customer service is here to help you. Shoot us a message to ask about any of our products, shipping times or delays, and inventory levels so you can best plan your ordering.
- Set Expectations – I’m all for being upfront and setting realistic expectations. We’re preparing as much as possible to make the holiday shopping season go smoothly for our customers but the reality is not everything goes according to plan. I am aware of all those problems mentioned earlier and set my expectations that some of the things I order will be delayed.
Our world went from 0 to 100 really quick and the world was not ready for that, so it will take some time to resolve itself but I’m optimistic things will get better. I’d like to wish everyone a happy holiday shopping season and I’d love to hear your holiday shopping tips!