5 Tactics for Efficient Holiday Season Order Fulfillment

5 Tactics for Efficient Holiday Season Order Fulfillment

With Black Friday and Christmas fast approaching, online retailers are gearing up for the shopping sprees that happen during this special holiday season. According to data presented by the National Retail Federation, despite record levels of inflation and rising interest rates, holiday retail sales in the US are expected to grow between 6% to 8% compared to 2021.

Nonetheless, consumers are concerned about whether history will repeat itself. In other words, will there be similar supply chain disruptions this year as there were in 2021, resulting in shortages of goods and delayed shipping?

With 70% of the US population shopping online, ensuring efficient holiday season order fulfillment is a no-brainer.

Read on to learn about the most effective tips and techniques for developing a solid Christmas shipping strategy in 2022.

  • Start With E-commerce Demand Forecasting

The number one tip when it comes to efficient holiday season order fulfillment is demand forecasting. Predicting future sales enables you to stock up, streamline your processes, optimize costs and prepare for the potential surge in orders.

As part of e-commerce demand forecasting, you must look into your company’s historical data and industry reports and conduct thorough market research to gauge customer sentiment. By gaining this sort of insight into your customer base and general trends, you will be able to predict which product(s) are likely to sell best and fast.

Ultimately, e-commerce demand forecasting is the first and the most critical step you must take in order to prepare for the holiday season and avoid heavy financial losses.

  • Re-Evaluate Your Inventory Management Strategy

Although 20% of annual retail sales happen in November and December, some businesses are caught off guard by inadequate stock levels. And, when customers’ favorite products are unavailable, they get genuinely disappointed and forced to seek alternatives, which might cost you business.

Managing your inventory levels carefully means that you can deliver goods on time without making your customers wait. One study suggests that only 13% of buyers are prepared to wait for an item to come back into stock; others – simply switch the brand. This subsequently has a knock-on effect on your revenue and profits.

 To mitigate this, ensure that you:

  • Use historical data to understand the popularity of the items and their selling potential;
  • Check out current trends;
  • Invest in an inventory management system to track stock levels in real-time;
  • Stock up on ‘safety stock’;
  • Order inventory in advance to avoid delays from manufacturers.
  • Increase Order Fulfillment Capacity

Now that you have got your stock management in order, it is time to reconsider your order fulfillment capacity. Shipping during Christmas requires you to process many more orders than usual. And, yet again, your customers do not want to wait too long.

Boosting your holiday order fulfillment capacity might call for different measures. You might need to hire additional staff, invest in new technology and software for more streamlined operations, explore alternative delivery options (i.e., distributed fulfillment or in-store pick-up), or even partner with a 3PL provider.

No matter which strategy you choose, make sure it is cost-effective and easily scalable. You have little time to reinvent your order fulfillment approach; thus, implement measures that will deliver monumental improvements.

Related Content: Why Getting Order Fulfillment Right Is Critical to the Success of Your E-commerce Business

  • Leverage Real-Time Data and Adjust Accordingly

Data is king in the e-commerce industry. Yet, numerous businesses still rely on good-old Excel, which unfortunately does not provide up-to-date information on your stock levels or order shipping volumes, and dates, among others.

Up-to-the-minute data and insight into your order fulfillment efficiency can help you discover areas for improvement and fine-tune your stock count. Utilizing real-time, accurate data and indicators allows you to recognize product ordering patterns and trends and adjust your processes to meet a rush in demand.

  • Maintain Open Communication Channels With Your Customers

During the holiday season, things can quickly go south, often without warning. Two years ago, the eruption of the Covid-19 Pandemic resulted in major disruptions in worldwide supply chains and shortages of products.

Shipping delays can also be caused by:

  • Bad weather;
  • Labor shortages;
  • Traffic conditions;
  • Inaccurate shipping information;
  • Delivery vehicle breakdown;
  • Trucking issues;
  • Incorrect custom paperwork for international packages.

Such unprecedented circumstances, first and foremost, affect your customers as they expect packages to arrive safely and on time. Studies reveal that 41% of shoppers blame retailers for late deliveries, which can potentially damage your reputation.

As the first port of call, you might be tempted to make excuses or entirely ignore the situation; however, this will not help. Instead, you should try to mitigate these delivery delays by having open and forthcoming communication with affected customers.

In addition, providing up-to-date shipping tracking is another measure that you can implement. “Delivery Update Notifications” is the most important factor to 66% of online buyers after placing an order. Hence, as an online retailer, you must take responsibility for the situation and manage it to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

Final Word: Work With An Order Fulfillment Company

While some factors are outside your control, you cannot afford to get holiday season order fulfillment wrong this year!

Implement these suggestions and see whether they enhance your order fulfillment capacity; that being said, if you are unsure where to start or how to scale your Christmas shipping, contact Phase V, a leader in the order fulfillment industry and a trustworthy partner to work with.

We have been in business for over 35 years, serving direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies and helping them scale with our no-hassle logistics solutions. Our deep understanding of market drivers paired with a customer-centric approach will delight your audience and turn them into loyal customers for years to come.

 

Let’s chat about your order fulfillment needs today!

 

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