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Preparing Ecommerce for the "New" Holidays Consumers are looking for free shipping and stellar customer service.

By John Monarch

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Klaus Vedfelt | Getty Images

Sometimes the holidays aren't quite "the most wonderful time of the year." According to one study, the holiday season stresses out 88 percent of Americans. For ecommerce companies, this is even more true. Every year, store owners spend months preparing for the fourth quarter, and few ever feel like they're fully prepared for the wave of sales — and the headaches — that come with it.

This rings true this year more than ever, with COVID-19 pushing more and more retail volume online. Data shows ecommerce penetration skyrocketed from 16 percent in 2019 to 27 percent, year-to-date, in 2020. This is a direct result of the pandemic and the full extent of this impact remains to be seen in the holiday season.

So how can ecommerce store owners prepare for what looks to be an avalanche while controlling costs, and more importantly, maintaining their sanity? The truth is, from small mom-and-pop stores all the way to Fortune 500 companies, nobody knows what to expect this year, but here are some ways you can use what little time is left to prepare.