Warehouse worker pushing pallet truck with cardboard boxesAlthough the weather outside can become frightful, the Christmas season means that your sales can be quite delightful. The key is ensuring that your e-commerce systems and order fulfillment operations are able to handle the increased load. Unfortunately, online retailers face a number of challenges when trying to ensure the fast and effective fulfillment of a customer’s Christmas wish.

Web Site Traffic

An e-commerce company is dependent on its web site as the means by which customers spend their money. Chances are that you have looked at your web site’s regular traffic and gotten a hosting setup that can only sustain up to a little bit over the maximum visitor volume. However, the holiday season has a habit of throwing these metrics out the window and it is not uncommon for bandwidth to quickly get eaten up by the sheer number of visitors browsing or trying to buy your goods. If customers find your web site too slow or, even worse, crashing when they try to use it, then you risk losing out on a lot of sales.

Speak with your web site provider and establish proper disc space, bandwidth, proxies, or server environments that can help manage the load and keep the site running smoothly.

Customer Support

The holidays are a high-pressure period thanks to last-minute order changes, shipping requirements, billing or package disputes, and consumer complaints, which all occur in a very short window of time. Putting all the necessary information about delivery response times, the return policy, or postage information on your web site won’t stop people from calling in with common queries either. All of this can add up to long waits on hold, angry customers, and stressed staff.

Much as brick-and-mortar stores do, a temporary staff increase is a good idea to better handle the holiday deluge. These seasonal workers can help by serving as extra customer support representatives to assist callers and cut down on wait times. Alternatively, they can take care of more menial and rote tasks that otherwise would keep permanent staff from their main duties.

Shipping Demands

Winter weather and increased demand on postal systems and third-party delivery providers mean that sometimes a lot of delivery delays can happen that are simply out of your hands. Unfortunately, customers tend not to recognize this and will only remember that they didn’t get their package by Christmas day.

This is why it’s important to make sure you offer as many shipping options as you can reasonably manage. Have an understanding beforehand about what your cutoff dates are—that is, the latest a regular delivery order can be placed in order to arrive by December 25. Make sure this date is clearly displayed on your site for each method of delivery you have available. Having a few contingency plans for what to do in case of road closures from weather or other shipping delays is also advisable.

APS Fulfillment, Inc. is a specialist in direct-mail marketing and warehouse fulfillment and is based in Miami, Florida. We’ve stored, sorted, and delivered products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies. Contact us by phone at 954-582-7450 or by email at info@apsfulfillment.com for more ways third-party warehousing and fulfillment services can support and grow your business.