Data & Technology

Shopping Trends for a Socially Distanced Summer

Data & Technology
July 28, 2020
7 min read

As summer is heating up, so are sales for some of our merchants, and while fluctuating seasonal demand isn’t new for many of these businesses, data shows some distinct trends in summer sales this year with select merchants experiencing over 300% spikes in sales in the months of May and June.

As summer is heating up, so are sales for some of our merchants, and while fluctuating seasonal demand isn’t new for many of these businesses, data shows some distinct trends in summer sales this year with select merchants experiencing over 300% spikes in sales in the months of May and June. A continued emphasis on social distancing seems to have driven demand for at-home activities, which is directly in line with findings from the Life at Home Covid-19 Shopping Patterns survey, which revealed 81% of participants learning to cook or cooking at home and 67% of participants working from home.

These seasonal spikes in demand create unique supply chain and fulfillment challenges for merchants, who are often faced with the decision to either leave warehouse shelves sitting empty during the slow season, depleting valuable resources, or to bring all of their fulfillment inhouse, putting undue strain on their staff and storage capacity in the busy season. However, a fulfillment partner like Ware2Go can offer a third option to these seasonal businesses with an on-demand model that allows customers to pay for only the warehouse space and resources they need when they need them. This way businesses can scale inventory and fulfillment costs with the ebb and flow of demand on a month by month basis.

Cooking at Home with a Seasonal Twist: 

BBQ Pro Shop carries a carefully curated selection of barbeque utensils, smokers, and spices for backyard barbeque fanatics and professional smokers alike. It was a business born out of passion for husband and wife team Gretchen and Jeff, and they pride themselves in hand-selecting the highest quality merchandise. They ship 100% direct to consumers, and this summer alone they’ve seen a 385% increase in sales. This is an even greater increase than the 151% increase in food and beverage eCommerce shipments seen early in the pandemic. BBQ Pro Shop’s highest-performing products are their Killer Hogs seasonings and rubs, as consumers continue the trend of cooking at home into the summer months. Jeff thinks that extra time at home got many consumers thinking about their neglected grills and smokers sitting on the patio and deciding to start putting them to good use.

Jeff and Gretchen had successfully grown BBQ Pro Shop through word of mouth marketing and customer loyalty for 14 years, and this Spring they felt ready to launch their first ever paid marketing campaign. Their team readied themselves for a busier than usual summer season by replacing their current distribution model with an outsourced 3-warehouse distribution model. As expected, their summer sales grew with their marketing efforts, but what they didn’t anticipate was the added demand that came with the nationwide quarantine, which placed additional stress on their supply chain and really put their new fulfillment model to the test. Even while production caught up to demand, Jeff was able to maintain his fulfillment workflows and says that he was “uniquely positioned to handle the jolt of volume during COVID.” He recognized that his 3 warehouse fulfillment model not only allowed them to fill all of their orders, but even garnered customer accolades for their speedy delivery at a time when other retailers were struggling to keep up. This type of reliable order fulfillment that responds quickly to major peaks and valleys in demand is a major differentiator for businesses who are looking to compete, not only in a seasonal market, but also in the new and variable post-COVID economy.

Socially Distanced Travel:

LS2 Helmets is one of the largest motorcycle helmet manufacturers in the world, and for any motorcycle enthusiasts out there, it will come as no surprise that their sales surge when the weather warms up. So far this summer they’ve seen a 367% increase in sales, with their Rapid line — designed with “daily rides in the city” and mid-distance trips in mind — leading the charge. With 87% of consumers picking up a new hobby or activity during lockdown, some customers may be discovering a new love for motorcycling — and what could be more socially distanced than hitting the open road alone on two wheels? LS2 saw early on that Ware2Go’s flexible fulfillment model was the perfect solution for their rapid growth and seasonal demand and have established a close working relationship with the customer success team on the road to becoming the fastest growing brand in America.

LS2 has been growing exponentially over the last five years, making them the fastest growing motorcycle helmet brand in the world. With major sales peaks in the early summer and the holiday season, they recognized early on that the traditional models of fulfillment would likely be too rigid for their business. Inhouse fulfillment models required too many resources that would eat up profits in the off-season, while many outsourced models required high storage fees and stringent long-term contracts the would be difficult to satisfy outside of the busy season. They soon found the scalability their business needed through an on-demand warehousing partner, which allowed them to flex warehouse space and resources as needed and prepared them for the demand spike that accompanied the Coronavirus pandemic. This type of flexibility and scalability has not only served them well during the pandemic but will continue to be a major competitive advantage for LS2 well into the future.

Catching Some Shade:

Staying socially distanced doesn’t have to mean staying inside. An online retailer specializing in easy-to-set-up beach cabanas has seen a staggering 1477% increase in sales early in the summer, with their top performers being their largest cabanas. Ware2Go’s early survey revealed 51% of consumers with school-age children at home, who may be itching to finally get out of the house with school wrapping up for the summer. The company’s We #SocialDistance summer campaign is focused on safety when out in public, encouraging customers to use their cabanas as a means to create a physical boundary that keeps families socially distanced on potentially crowded beaches.

Similarly, a retailer of patio umbrellas and folding canopies has already seen a 365% increase in sales in the early summer — their highest performers being their 10-11 foot patio umbrellas. With 67% of survey participants working from home during the pandemic and summer travel projections down 15% this year, consumers may be sprucing up their homes to make sheltering in place feel a bit more luxurious.

With the summer season just getting into full swing we can expect continued elevated sales levels for these seasonal products, and Ware2Go’s flexible solutions and continued strategic partnership will allow these businesses to turn seasonal spikes into long term growth. To learn more about on-demand logistics or get custom insights into how our scalable model could drive growth for your business, reach out to one of our logistics experts.

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