How Retailers Can Manage Challenging Holiday Seasons

Managing holiday and peak seasons is critical for brands and retailers. Here, we explore some lessons learned and how retailers can position themselves for future success.

Retailers face new challenges every holiday shopping season. Inflation persists, fuel prices increase, consumer confidence is low, and interest rates remain high. Consumers are cautious about their spending and are actively seeking out the best deals and sales. To discuss how providing engaging shopping experiences both online and in-store will help retailers attract and maintain customers, Digital Commerce 360 spoke with Deane Duggan, vice president of client success at GEODIS Americas.

Key takeaways


  • Consumer spending challenges persist, driven by high inflation and interest rates
  • Retailers face challenges with rising parcel costs and the difficulty of hiring seasonal logistics labor 
  • Successful retailers must carefully consider their pricing strategies, seasonal labor requirements, and shipping costs
  • Automation and technology investment will also improve productivity and consumer satisfaction during peak season

In this article we're sharing a post originally published on Digital Commerce 360 in 2022, lightly edited and republished here with their kind permission.


What were the biggest lessons to learn from challenging holiday shopping seasons? 

For years, experts have been discussing the death of brick-and-mortar. While eCommerce will continue to grow, customers desire and appreciate a positive in-store experience. Retailers need to focus on elevating that experience for customers. There’s also a need for diversity and flexibility in the supply chain. Thinking back to the pandemic, many retailers weren’t well prepared for global factory closures, container shortages, and port congestion, so they missed out on sales during the holiday season.


What common challenges might retailers confront?

Having the products customers want, where they want them is a challenge during any peak season. Labor shortages remain a stressor for retailers during the holiday season, as seasonal labor is expensive and in short supply. Additionally, retailers will likely continue to experience rising parcel costs. Customers today are looking for deals because of current economic conditions. They want lower-priced products, but at the same time, parcel costs are going up. This will likely add strain for retailers as they try to minimize the impact on their bottom line.


What strategies will best help retailers address these trends and overcome challenges?

Early promotions will help attract customers and avoid peak season parcel caps and resulting increased shipping costs. If retailers can attract customers and make sales early, that’s a win for both stores and consumers.


Retailers will also need to attract and maintain labor this season. They will need to plan and hire early, provide incentives, and be flexible with shifts and schedules. From an infrastructure standpoint, having flexible systems and distribution channels—whether ship-from-store, buy online, or pickup in-store—will allow retailers to reduce their inventory and get products to customers where they are.

Aerial shot warehouse workers

What will a successful retailer look like this holiday shopping season?

Successful retailers will have products available at prices consumers are willing to pay, together with the labor needed to get those products to those customers. For many years, there was a race to get products to consumers as soon as possible. While speed will still be important, customers are willing to wait a little longer if they don’t have to pay for shipping. Even with economic pressures, successful retailers can offer free shipping while maintaining profitability.


How can they implement these strategies to ensure a great holiday shopping season?

Retailers should partner with a logistics provider, such as GEODIS. GEODIS has multiple campuses throughout the country staffed with seasonal labor teammates who know how to handle peak seasons. GEODIS takes advantage of technology and automation to increase distribution center productivity. Our autonomous mobile robots handle collaborative picking to reduce the distance teammates have to walk and prevent them from having to pull heavy carts through the facility.


Ultimately, the use of technology within the warehousing environment makes it easier for employees to fulfill orders quickly (often by minimizing travel distance), which improves productivity. This holiday season will continue to be competitive, and it’s important for retailers to provide engaging shopping experiences to attract and maintain customers. GEODIS can be a valuable partner to deliver that important customer experience.

How GEODIS can help

GEODIS is one of the biggest retail logistics providers in the U.S. and around the world. Here's what you can expect when you work with us:


  • Strategically located warehouses and distribution centers throughout the U.S.
  • Reach 99.5% of the continental U.S. in two days or fewer
  • Strong relationships with major big-box retailers
  • A wide and deep national, regional, and local carrier network
  • Labor resource planning for regular and peak seasons
  • Expert supply, demand, and capacity planning
  • Comprehensive value-added services
  • Integration with the full range of transportation, warehousing, and freight forwarding GEODIS services
  • Real-time visibility throughout the supply chain


Delight retailers by choosing GEODIS as your 3PL partner. Get in touch with us to discover how we can optimize your retail operations to boost visibility, trust, and profits.