Peak season is the busiest period for e-commerce merchants. From holidays to festivals, peak seasons come in spurts. During this time, increased sales will boost profits; however, without the proper cost-effective shipping arrangements in place, it could lead to potential pitfalls for retailers.
The fulfilment model usually depends on the ability to cope with problems at the peak season and strategies developed to resolve these problems. Whether you are using a local distribution model or a cross-border shipping model, you must be prepared. Here are some tips to help you successfully get through the peak season with on-time shipping:
1. Understand customer expectations
With the stakes heightening around the peak period, it’s important to understand what retail customers expect. According to a survey that included over 1500 shoppers, by Convey, Inc., a delivery management software provider, 84% of shoppers said they were unlikely to return after a single negative experience. Delivery expectations have increased, and today, retailers must invest in the best tools to ensure that last-mile delivery is successful.
2. Learn from the experts
Sometimes, it’s necessary to stray away from the straight and narrow and learn from what successful companies do to ensure the estimated date of delivery (EDD) is maintained. Here’s what two companies do to ensure their shipments go out on time:
- UncommonGoods keeps up their promise of delivering goods on time by analysing their shipments. Shipments that are likely to miss EDD are expedited. The result – a big fan following, loyal customers and new customers as well.
- Grove Collaborative uses analytics as well as a dedicated team for “exception resolutions.” When shipments are delayed, the company ensures the problem is fixed immediately and alerts the customer to the problem. The result is a cost-effective solution. It also ensures their customer satisfaction scores are boosted.
3. Make the most of predictive sales data
Start planning for peak season well in advance. Predict the demand for products by using previous peak season sales histories. The historical data will throw light on the most popular items sold during previous peak seasons. If you don’t have access to sales histories, your suppliers can provide you with their benchmarks. Industry benchmarks too can help, and this information can be obtained through online research.
Share this information with all your suppliers so that they can be prepared. Having additional shipping partners as well as additional suppliers during this busy season will go a long way in fulfilling demands.
4. Keep the supplies ready
Supplies must be kept ready even before the peak season hits. For a cross-border shipping model, strike a deal with your suppliers to have all the goods shipped to your warehouse before peak season begins. This way, there will be no delay in shipping, and the consumer gets what they paid for, on time.
If you use a local distribution network, ensure they are sufficiently stocked up with the required goods well before peak season. With all the goods in place and packed, you can start shipping off goods as soon as the orders start pouring in.
5. Storage capacity
Warehouses must have enough space to store the extra load of goods during the peak season. During peak season, both shipping, as well as warehouse partners, hike up their fees as e-commerce merchants compete for every bit of warehouse space available.
Partners may prefer to give priority to customers with whom they have a long-standing relationship or who have larger consignments. So, don’t assume your partners will give you the space you want. Instead, ensure they give it to you, and you have the required storage capacity.
6. Maintain good relationships with partners
Your accounts manager, logistics service provider and shipping partner will be your best friends through the peak period. If you want to ensure a smooth shipping and timely delivery of your products, forge good relationships with these important people. In case of a peak-season emergency, you can be sure that they will be able to help you out.