The busiest shopping season of the year is almost upon us. And with more and more of us choosing to tackle our Christmas shopping from the comfort of the couch, how can you ensure you’re as prepared as possible on the fulfilment front?
We recently caught up with ShipBob to chat about seasonal shipping and how to stay one step ahead.
And by this, we mean delivery times. Offering the fastest, cheapest delivery may be a great way to capture those last-minute Christmas shoppers, but there’s no point in overpromising if you can’t achieve it. Be clear in the way you communicate delivery times and highlight cut-off dates that align with your deadlines. Some people may be more than happy to receive their order later than planned, but with customer retention more important than ever, it’s not worth taking the risk.
Stay connected across your business
It sounds obvious, but all areas of your business need to talk to one another. Predicting sales peaks is going to be essential for keeping up with demand, so ensure everyone’s aligned when it comes to campaigns or PR activity. If you’ve got products that are selling faster than others, slow promotional activity and readjust your ordering. If you know your biggest sellers are being held up (because of bad weather or general shortages) then add messaging around when users can expect a restock and prioritise replenishment ASAP.
Forecast, forecast, forecast
Get prepared by looking at sales numbers from previous years and supplier restock times. If you use a 3PL for shipping, ask them to calculate and relocate your inventory. Having the right stock in the right warehouses will help reduce your shipping costs and, more importantly, help ensure you don’t run out of your best sellers. Plus, forecasting busy periods ahead of schedule means your warehouses can bring in seasonal staff and increase their courier networks to keep up with demand.
Give gift cards a go
If you’re looking for a way to ease the pressure on your fulfilment channels, why not push gift vouchers this festive season? Black Friday offers on gifting, as well as last-minute e-delivery messaging during the countdown to Christmas, are both great for driving sales. You can still cash in on buyers, but you won’t incur the same costs or require the manpower needed for packing and posting orders.
Get ready for returns
High numbers of returns will follow any big sales period. Unwanted gifts, impulse buys – all on top of the regular returns you’ll receive in any given month. Review your returns policy as soon as possible. Think about who pays, offer exchanges instead, and source the most competitive rates on couriers. Even introduce cut-off dates – or consider charity donations instead if it’s more sustainable and cost-effective. And finally, make sure your up-to-date policy is super clear on your website. You’ll then have the chance to crunch the numbers and review the reasons behind returns once the dust settles.
Need a few simple tips on getting your Shopify site ship-shape for the festive season? Drop us a line.