Many suppliers and retailers refer to the 2020 holiday season as a peak on top of a peak, with ecommerce sales surging even more for the holiday season after growing at unprecedented levels for the majority of the year.  But the 2021 holiday season comes with its own set of challenges.  

Many states are open and vaccinated consumers are ready to shop, both online and in person, but the world is still struggling with reopening after this pandemic, causing many logistical nightmares as we approach this holiday. 

A recent survey shows that many suppliers and retailers have worked hard to secure inventory now, in the third quarter, by ordering additional quantities from current suppliers and roughly a third are venturing to order from new suppliers just to bulk up inventory to handle the holiday season.

As your ecommerce business approaches this holiday season, here are several challenges that are ahead.

Labor & Supply Chain

Unfortunately, most of us have felt the impact of labor shortages lately – whether ordering dinner at a local restaurant, standing in long lines at the grocery or retail store, or waiting an extraordinary amount of time for online purchases to arrive at home. This labor shortage continues to strain customer patience as well as suppliers and retailers’ ability to provide products and services today.

With consumer demand at an all-time high and labor shortages only continuing to increase, finding adequate help this busy holiday season may prove to be quite challenging.

Supply chain challenges also continue to grow.  Ports across the world have idle ships with containers waiting for shipment, but due to constraints at the port, whether covid or shortage of workers related, products are slow to move. In many cases, railways are the busiest they have been in decades and in many areas of the country infrastructure upgrades are required to handle additional demand.

Shipping & Surcharges

USPS and other small parcel carriers like FedEx and UPS have been at and above capacity since March of 2020.  The current normal shipping environment is already providing several challenges to get products from online suppliers to consumers.  

With everything from delays due to illness closing down a facility, to a shortage of truck drivers across country, to a shortage of delivery trucks and drivers, consumers and eCommerce are in for a bumpy ride this holiday season.

Availability of Products

News media is prepping consumers for massive shortages this holiday season and encouraged many to begin shopping early.  This extended holiday season will exhaust both inventory and people, but may make it borderline impossible for those last minute shoppers.


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EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.  

As your eCommerce business looks to optimize fulfillment processes and excel this holiday season, OPAL is here to assist you in each of these constraints and challenges.

To learn more about how to make your eCommerce business scalable with OPAL, click here!

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!