What Happened to Cyber ​​Week 2021? The biggest shopping week of the year, IBM’s supply chain and blockchain blog analyzes the trends

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A man holding a shopping bag and using a phoneSupply chain chaos hasn’t deterred holiday shoppers during Cyber ​​Week, but it has changed shopping patterns and a few longtime holiday shopping traditions.

Black Thursday gone…

As Black Friday has grown in recent years, deep discounts and increased customer demand have pushed stores to open earlier and earlier, eventually leading to the creation of “Black Thursday,” which technically opens on Thanksgiving Eve. But thanks to the pandemic and the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving shopping has seen a sharp decline. Many big brands such as Kohl’s, Walmart and Home Depot have chosen to close their stores on Thanksgiving, following a #outsourcing movement pioneered by REI. And although brick-and-mortar stores saw 66 million customers on Black Friday, in-store sales fell to a 15-year low. Meanwhile, online shopping continues to grow, with some retailers increasing their Black Friday online sales by 22 percent over last year.

Cyber ​​Monday has grown…

Cyber ​​Monday is a trend emerging as workers return to the office after the Thanksgiving break and shop online for faster internet speeds than their home networks. Now, with fast internet everywhere and millions still working from home, Cyber ​​Monday has turned into Cyber ​​Week, and it’s fast becoming Cyber ​​November. This year, fear of missing out on discounted products due to expected inventory shortages has prompted shoppers to start holiday shopping earlier than usual. Online sales rose 10.2% in October and 9% in November. With no gatekeeper deals and limited supplies driving up prices, average prices are up 11% from 2020.

When customers wait quickly…

The pandemic has changed how consumers buy and receive goods. IHL’s 2021 Order Management Market Research study calls for a 4.5x acceleration in timelines for deploying new customer journeys: online pickup store (BOPIS), same-day delivery and curbside pickup. These are now widespread, permanently approved furniture for retail. IDC said 58.9% of consumers would choose another retailer if BOPIS was not offered. Merchants have quickly integrated their online storefronts with their brick-and-mortar stores, and can now serve customers with more detailed information on product availability, location, and delivery charges. Companies are developing new models to reach customers, filling from well-stocked stores that serve as small distribution centers or collaborating with partners on stockless drop shipping, as we saw earlier this year with The Very Group partnering with Adidas and Rebook for D2C distribution.

And retailers have come up with creative ideas

Walmart is an early adopter of new digital initiatives, piloting 15 online shopping events this year, including their first-ever live stream of Cyber ​​Week with Twitter. of “Cyber ​​Deals Sunday”. The event attracted shoppers with celebrity musician Jason Derulo hosting.

Twitter is new to e-commerce and is currently testing out marketing initiatives. For a forecast of the future of integrated marketing, look at mobile, virtual assistants and live streaming marketing channels growing. Due to a lack of stock and fears that loyal customers might not be able to get the sneaker, Nike has created a new rumor by limiting the highly sought-after Air Force 1 sneaker to two online orders per person.

In the year While some companies are asking corporate employees to volunteer to work shifts at retail locations during Cyber ​​Week 2021, many companies have used tactics to overcome staffing shortages by upgrading direct-to-store orders to ease the pressure on short-term warehouses.

How marketers can prepare for 2022:

Intelligence, transparency and flexibility are the building blocks for the future of retail.

  1. Reinventing supply chain management – Build smarter workflows, increase company efficiency, and integrate smart orchestrations to build a modern supply chain.
  2. Notify the customer – Embrace information transparency. Customers expect and want to know as much information as possible about product location, cost comparisons, expected delivery dates and exact availability details.
  3. Flexible order operations — Leverage scalable technologies to maximize omnichannel customer engagement and responsiveness to market changes, automate and connect order, promising and inventory visibility processes.

This year has been full of challenges, but we are seeing an overall positive outcome from Cyber ​​Week with longer trading hours and improved market conditions. Our technology enables unified commerce where integrated online and in-store experiences deliver a seamless customer journey. Is it time to merge brick-and-mortar Black Friday into online shopping Cyber ​​Monday? As IHL’s Jerry Sheldon predicts, this could be the arrival of Black November – or leading the way for e-commerce; Cyber ​​November. Maybe it’s time to think about making new holiday market traditions.

Learn more about changing consumer behavior and what it means in retail when you visit IBM at NRF starting January 16, 2022 in New York City.

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