Prime Day was pushed back from April this year to October (13th & 14th). And it’s beginning to look more like the holiday shopping season even though it’s not yet Halloween. Blame this on changing consumer shopping habits, COVID-19 and supply chain concerns. As we head into what is usually the busiest season for retailers, and with the threat of a second wave of the pandemic on the horizon, increasing the period of time to shop for Christmas will be critical for the sector.
With the end-of-year shopping calendar moving forward – it is likely that Black Friday will be a 2020 retailing blip rather than the biggest shopping day of the year. The winners will be Amazon which will in all likelihood have its biggest 4th quarter in history as well as retailers like B&Q, Tesco, Boot and Nike, that have mastered omni-channel fulfilment options. With sales spread over a longer period of time, retailers are likely to see less severe impacts on the capacities in their warehousing, labour and delivery networks.
However, we live in the age of the Never Normal, and it is therefore essential for retailers to embed the appropriate technology into their supply chain decision making systems. They must be agile and flexible to prepare for all eventualities. Digital twin technology, partnered with AI and machine learning, will enable this by allowing retailers to model scenarios and build contingency plans. Recent research showed the consequences of operating without this technology, as 56% of retailers reported problems with responding to disruptions and 73% recognising that AI could add significant value to their demand forecasting.