Peak periods in the e-commerce sector are usually a time of abundance when a month or so can bring in most of a year’s sales. That is good news. The bad news is that peak season sees several challenges related to order fulfilment. Did you know that 58% of shoppers prefer to shop online; however, according to the latest statistics, 38% of shoppers will cancel an order if delivery takes more than a week.
The earlier retailers start planning for their peak period, the more of a head start they will have. Also, the faster retailers start planning for the peak period, the easier it will be to maximise order fulfilments. Here are some suggestions to maximise order fulfilment during your business’ peak period:
Keep an eye on historical data
For the most part, history repeats itself. So, take a look at the data of past sales during peak periods, best sellers and the origin of the most orders (in-store, web, mobile). All this information will help you frame the right order fulfilment strategy.
When looking at historical data, look for information regarding bottlenecks in inventory management and logistics in previous years. Also, look at how the order fulfilment performed against set targets. Get information on the most customer complaints from previous years, as well as a list of reliable and unreliable suppliers.
The information you glean from historical data will enable you to make better decisions this season. For example, you can do away with suppliers who proved themselves unreliable in the past, and you can take proactive measures to ensure customers don’t have the same complaints this coming season.
Plan for additional storage
During the peak period, expect large inbound shipments which will need to be temporarily harboured in your warehouse — lease additional storage space for security and safe storage of goods during a peak period. Once you acquire new storage space, consider what goods will do better in the new storage space. Will the new storage space help with a smooth delivery flow? Should your new storage space be used for fresh stock, or should it be used for the slow-moving stock? All these considerations must be thought of and planned several months in advance to ensure you can maximise order fulfilments.
Invest in a full-scale warehouse management system
A warehouse management system is a key component to maximising order fulfilment during a peak period. It’s easier when the WMS runs on the cloud. With a reliable warehouse management system, you are ensured that:
- The entire warehouse management process and logistics process are completely automated.
- You have access to real-time inventory order fulfilment from all your distribution locations and warehouses.
- There are almost nil chances of missing order fulfilment.
- There are very low chances of being hoarded up with deadstock.
- The entire supply chain process, right from the inventory cycle to dock planning, labour allocation, and so on, is taken care of seamlessly.
- Supply chain management is taken care of seamlessly without human errors.
Fine-tune logistics for faster delivery of goods
Last-mile delivery during peak period can be done quickly when logistics operations are optimised. No two e-commerce companies are alike, and no two companies operate the same way. So, the logistic strategy used must be tailored to your organisation to maximise order fulfilment. When you make wise logistic decisions, you can get ahead of your competitors with speed and consistency in the order fulfilment process.
To maximise order fulfilment, you can get your 3PL players to unload more customer deliveries during the peak period. Individual contractors can freelance as last-mile delivery personnel, which will work out cheaper and successfully get parcels delivered on time.
To optimise fuel consumption during peak period, plan navigation well beforehand. A retailer can save a lot of money just by pre-planning navigation for all those regions from where customer orders come pouring in during peak season.
With all these solutions in place, and with a lot of advanced planning, your peak period will be a success. Get ready to successfully maximise order fulfilments against targets this coming peak period.