Achieving 2019 Holiday Success
Shipping, Packaging, and Fulfillment Guidelines for E-commerce Brands
Holiday season is an important time segment for any business and e-commerce businesses are no exception. While holiday season means high demand for products and services, it also means shorter turnaround time, pressure on logistics facilities and time crunch. In order to survive holiday season and prosper without breaking a sweat, it is vital that businesses prepare themselves well in advance for the potential issue. Luckily, it is fairly simple to draw up some strategies to cope well with the holiday season rush. Here are some of the tips to get you prepared.
Start Early and Plan Well: The key to perform well during the holiday season is to start planning as soon as possible. You can start by reviewing your previous year holiday season performance. Such review will allow you to identify the bottlenecks and issues you faced previously. Consequently, you can make allowance for such issues and look for ways to resolve them. You can also take forward looking approach where you try to anticipate the likely issue you may have to encounter in the current season. Ideally, you should combine both the approaches to identify the maximum number of issues in advance and try to resolve them.
Pay Attention to Back End and Front End: while it may seem obvious to pay attention to front end and provide attractive website layout to your customers, it is equally important to be diligent about the backend as well. Front end preparations may include giving festive makeover to your website, offering discounts, offering convenient product discovery and hassle free checkout. However, all these facilities may be in vain if your backend is not designed to withstand the pressure. On the backend, you need to ensure that your logistic collaborations are well in place and are scaled properly. You should also pay attention to packing the material appropriately so that your customers receive the goods in proper condition. During the festive season, customers may require their items in the least possible time, so be prepared to beat the rush.
Stock up for Fulfillment Nirvana: smooth fulfillment is an important facet of your holiday season sales strategy. Fulfillment encompasses a large number of activities including packaging, shipping, tracking and ultimately delivering the goods. It is absolutely important that the orders are processed in correct manner i.e. the right type of goods go to the right address. The packing of the items should also be done appropriately to preserve their quality and integrity. Also make sure that you are able to deliver the items on time, despite the holiday rush. For all these things, you need to have enough items in your stock all the time. If you think your in house capacity may not be able to handle the pressure, you may think about outsourcing a part or all of your fulfillment requirements. Outsourcing may seem expensive but may recoup its costs through enhanced goodwill and customer satisfaction.
Take Holistic Approach: beating the holiday rush will require you to take holistic approach. You should be able to view the strategy as a whole. Starting with your website, make sure that you provide enough bandwidth to withstand the pressure on server. The customers are likely to abandon their shopping if your website is not able to load quickly or the checkout process is not smooth. Also, you should keep your discount and promotional strategies simple. It will not only keep the customers enticed but will also reduce pressure on your resources. Simpler the policies, faster and more efficient will be the execution process. While you prepare for ensuring the timely delivery of goods, you should also be prepared for consequent returns. Keep your return policies simple and clear to avoid bottlenecks. While liberal return policies may help you in boosting your sales, you should also properly monitor the returns to ensure that there are no frauds involved.
You should be able to glide through your holiday season if you have prepared in advance. However, even the best formed strategies are tested during these times, so you should always provide for contingencies to happen. You may encounter pleasant yet testing situations such as stock outs on account of bumper demand, so be prepared for such exigencies.