Ready or not, the holiday season is officially here. Holiday fulfillment can present a whole range of logistics challenges if you are not prepared.
Most business to consumer retailers experience a huge surge in sales during this time of year. This is the time of year to gain new customers and to retain those who will become long-term buyers to your brand. If your company is not ready to meet this increase in demand, however, the result can be unhappy customers whose gifts did not arrive on time and a hit to your brand’s reputation.
There are several things that can help you prepare for your company’s busiest season:
Determine Your Peak Days
Use data from past holiday seasons to figure out your company’s peak fulfillment days. If you are a start-up, a 3PL partner can develop sales predictions for you. A third-party logistics provider will combine data such as sales volume and customer behavior to determine the days you can expect the most orders during the holiday season.
Plan Fulfillment Around Your Peak Days
The inability to ship out the orders you receive in a timely manner during the holiday season can have catastrophic results for your company. Staffing can be one of the biggest challenges during this time of year so provide additional training and cross-training to employees. You can also consider hiring interns, for a lesser cost than a temporary employee, or temporary employees from a nonprofit organization in exchange for a donation to their charity. Hiring additional staff is not the only solution to the peak season, all fulfillment operations must be planned to handle the increase in demand.
If you fulfill in-house, make sure you have an ample supply of boxes in several sizes, tape, packing materials, labels, and printer ink. If your scales, tape guns, or packaging dispensers are worn, it might be a good idea to update them to handle the peak season. Make sure there is enough space to accommodate the increase in sales and that it is organized for efficient order processing.
Now is the time to ensure all IT operations are effective and can handle the increase in volume. Data-tracking systems should be updated to be able to address any issues quickly. Review your order processing procedures with all employees to ensure they are fulfilling efficiently and correctly.
Delivery options differ during the holiday season so you need to know your carriers’ specifics, such as cut-off dates, pick-up times, and delivery guarantees. Understanding these details is necessary for providing realistic delivery expectations to your customers.
If you are a retailer that will see a significant increase in sales during the coming weeks, you need to make sure you can handle it without hurting customers. If the spike in sales will cause customer service and delivery issues, consider using a 3PL for your fulfillment needs because today’s consumers demand correct orders on time for the holidays. To make sure you can meet your increase in demand this season, visit www.kablefulfillment.com.