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3 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Holiday Rush

Explore key trends shaping this season and discover expert insights on protecting products, optimizing workspace efficiency, and turning sustainability into brand loyalty. Don't miss the essential tips from Pregis to ensure a seamless holiday season for your business.

With just a few weeks until the holiday season officially begins, experts forecast it will be the most wonderful time of the year for many retailers. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects online and non-store sales to increase 10%-12% over last year. Brands and retailers are hopeful the positive expert outlook comes to be, but consumer confidence is not as optimistic. While inflation has stabilized from last year’s levels, consumers perceive their money is not going as far so they will be on the lookout for markdowns and great deals. The NRF reports that 61% of shoppers said sales will be more important compared with last year. 

Managing holiday deal pricing is a delicate balance for merchandisers as they seek to manage profit margins, prevent overstock inventory, and capture the sale. Then, after the chaos, attention shifts to returning holiday gifts. NRF reports that e-commerce can experience a return rate as high as 30% during the holiday season. Interestingly, the return rate for expensive products is an eyebrow-raising 50%.

Here are 3 of the biggest trends predicted to shape this holiday season:  

• Greater competition for share of wallet: Retailers are advertising better deals and steals than competitors to win consumer business.

• Bigger cart sizes to qualify for free shipping: To score free shipping or volume discounts, customers are buying multiple sizes and items only to return most items like wrong sizes, damaged products, or things they changed their mind about.

• Higher shipping expectations: Quick deliveries are king, and customers expect delivery within two days; taking up to 7 business days might deter potential buyers.

3 ways to optimize your operations and get ahead of the trends: 

Protect your products

Damage is one of the top reasons why products are returned. According to eCommerce Fastlane, 80% of returns are due to product damage or breakage. Not only is damage a tremendous business cost with higher customer service expenses, fulfillment costs, product replacement charges, and even higher freight – but it’s also a blow to brand image.

Think about the popularity of unboxing videos on social media. A delightful unboxing experience – even without video – serves as the foundation for a positive, long-term customer relationship. Contrast that with the disappointment, frustration, and even anger when a highly anticipated holiday gift arrives damaged. 

Investing in good packaging pays off.  Here are specific ways Pregis can help: When products require a box with premium protection, sustainability can still be a defining influence. Look for on-demand cushioning like the Pregis AirSpeed® Hybrid Cushioning (HC) Renew PCR, which cushions holiday gifts on a bed of air. This film is the only high-pressure air cushioning solution with 80 percent post-consumer recycled content available – boosting your sustainability standards to the next level.  Plus, White Paper research shows that products packed in superior cushioning improve the customers’ price perception of the product by 45%. For small delicate items, consider ready-to-use products like Foam Bags and Pouches  or Bubble Cushioning and Pouches to protect fragile products from shocks and vibrations in transit.

If product damage continues to be a headache, turn to the Pregis IQ team. Our APASS and ISTA-certified packaging lab and expert team of engineers are eager to tackle your toughest packaging challenges and can evaluate, design, and test the ideal packaging solution so you can delight customers and increase brand loyalty. 

Optimize your workspace for speed and efficiency

Paying attention to ergonomics has a direct effect on workers’ speed and efficiency. When it comes to speed, the Pregis line of Sharp Automated Mailing & Bagging systems can improve output by four times versus manual packing!  

Adding equipment to the mix is a common way to increase workstation output. Keep your workers in mind that are using the equipment and material combination. Machines need to be properly positioned and supplies easily accessible to improve efficiency, reduce injuries, and boost throughput.

Machines should be loaded at hip or waist level. Anything higher or lower can lead to workers losing their balance or cause unnecessary strain. Keep your packaging supplies within arm’s reach to reduce unproductive worker movement. Train your full-time, part-time, or temporary employees on proper packing techniques, not only to ensure damages stay low, but to reduce confusion of how to effectively pack your products.

Preparing for peak season performance with an ergonomic setup and great training will optimize efficiencies and throughput. The experts at Pregis can help by:

• Providing easy-to-follow packing placards that guide workers step-by-step through the approved process.

• Offering “how to” videos specifically tailored to your operation, workspace, and products.

• Conducting training sessions both in-person and virtually.

• Ergonomically positioning equipment, packaging materials and dispensers to allow packers the most optimal setup to decrease worker movement and increase throughput.

Lastly, you can’t be speedy and efficient if supplies are out of stock. Partnering with a trusted supplier like Pregis who builds its products to stock will help keep your operations up and running with a constant supply of packaging materials.

Turn sustainability into brand loyalty

Crafting your brand with a focus on sustainability can foster stronger affinity and loyalty, particularly as consumers actively seek out brands that demonstrate genuine concern and take tangible steps to protect the environment. Sustainability plays into most buying decisions and more sustainable initiatives can lead to a customer conversion over a competitive brand.

Using sustainable packaging solidifies a positive perception of your products as these materials are the first things customers see when an item arrives on their doorstep.

There are a host of sustainable packaging solutions that can improve brand perception while maintaining your operation’s desired speed and efficiency. Here’s how Pregis can help: 

Padded mailers are great alternatives to small boxes as they take up less space, are 2x the speed to pack, and are easily recognized by consumers as approved for curbside recycling. The Pregis EverTec™ Curbside Recyclable Padded Mailer is a lightweight and durable mailer proven to reduce carbon emissions during shipping versus heavy cardboard boxes.

Pregis EasyPack® Paper Systems produce recyclable paper cushioning material on demand. Consumers are now favoring fiber-based materials as they are more frequently accepted for curbside recycling.

As previously mentioned, the Pregis AirSpeed Hybrid Cushioning (HC) Renew Post Consumer Recyclable (PCR) is a standout for both cushioning and sustainability. In fact, Pregis pulls material previously designated for disposal and waste, and remakes it into highly effective cushioning material to protect your business’s valuable products. Using this material can result in a 40% reduction in carbon emissions versus comparable materials without recycled content.


If you would like more advice for packing to optimize your operations and improve your brand perception to your most valued customers, contact us today. We’re happy to help you optimize your operations and boost productivity with our creative packaging solutions.