The holiday season is quickly approaching, and you need to be sure that your order fulfillment company is prepared for the peak season. There are many roles involved in e-commerce order fulfillment, and unless you are equipped with top-notch e-commerce fulfillment services, your business could really suffer. Customers who shop online may need to return items that do not fit, and with last-minute shoppers increasing this time of year, you may need to be prepared to provide next-day shipping. There are many things to consider with holiday order fulfillment, so here are some tips on how you can streamline the process during the busy season.
Ways to Streamline Order Fulfillment During Peak Seasons
Prepare Your Inventory
Knowing that the holidays are coming, you should take measures to make sure that your inventory is prepared. This could mean contacting your suppliers and stocking up on all of your best-selling products, organizing your holiday sale items separately from the rest of your products, and using technology to label and organize your stock to make picking and packing more efficient.
Make Sure You are Adequately Staffed and Trained
From warehouse workers to office personnel, you need to be sure that you have enough staff to handle the holiday rush. You should revamp your workflow and schedules to increase productivity and reduce stress on your workers. If you are short-staffed, consider bringing on contract workers to help you during the peak season. It is also a good idea to do proper training for all of your employees in safety and efficiency before the holiday rush.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology will be your best friend during the holiday rush. You will spend less time wondering how you can prepare packages and print shipping labels if you have invested in solutions that save you time and energy. There are effective, efficiency-oriented technologies that can help you focus on other areas of your business. For example, you can use electronic postage systems and solutions to enable the online purchasing and printing of postage from a computer that can then be used for domestic and international mailing and shipping. There are many other ways you can implement technology into your operations to make life easier during peak season.
Set Customer Expectations
As much as you want sales to boost during the holiday season, you should be careful not to offer unrealistic timelines, or extended deadlines for guaranteed deliveries. The increase in order volume during the holiday rush can bring unforeseen challenges in your order fulfillment system. If your customer satisfaction is linked to timely order delivery, you need to make sure that you can meet the speed and capacity that comes with the holiday schedule. You also need to communicate that delays are possible because of the rush. Setting realistic delivery expectations with your customers will protect your reputation, as well.
Designate Specific Shipping Times
Another tip that will help you during the holiday season is to be more intentional about when and how often you ship products throughout the day. Orders will continue to increase over the holidays, so to keep up to speed you should pick a certain time of day that you can dedicate to processing and preparing the orders that have come in. If you do not do this, you may be wasting too much time pausing throughout the day to work on individual orders. According to Google statistics, up to 40% of the entire year’s sales for a company will likely happen during the holiday shopping season. It is crucial that you do not waste time, and set specific shipping times so that you can meet the demands of your customers and benefit from more shoppers.
Make Sure Your Suppliers & Shipping Providers Are Ready
Not only does your company need to be prepared for the holiday season, but you also need to be sure that your suppliers and shipping providers are ready too. You can use past sales data to forecast what this year’s demand will be like, and share the projections with your partners. By setting the right expectations early on, they will be better able to equip and build their systems and processes to meet those expectations. You should also consider backup plans in situations when weather or unforeseeable events were to occur. Walk through these “what if” scenarios with your providers, and find out what solutions they can provide.
Now is a good time to go through your picking process and reduce unnecessary steps to simplify the process. You should put items that are often sold together closer to each other to save time on retrieving and restocking.
Ship Products from Multiple Locations & Delivery Options
Another way you can avoid problems with order fulfillment during the holiday season is to work with a partner that has multiple warehouse locations and delivery options. A fulfillment company that offers shipping from different locations will be highly advantageous to you this season. Alternatives like distributed fulfillment work as a backup and can help you expedite fulfillment by evenly distributing the order fulfillment load. In-store pickup is another good option for customers who want to avoid the wait and cost that comes with shipping.
Use Fulfillment Services
Third-party fulfillment (3PL) companies are an asset to companies trying to handle the holiday season. They can relieve shipping anxiety and help you focus on your marketing and sales. These companies are experts at all of the roles within the supply chain, so you won’t have to worry about being short-staffed or overworking your team.
Manage Your Order Fulfillment During the Holiday Season with APS Fulfillment, Inc.
If you need help managing your e-commerce processes during the busy holiday season, APS Fulfillment, Inc. can help. We are an experienced e-commerce order fulfillment company that can provide advice on e-commerce shipping processes and we offer our clients a variety of hands-on services. These services include product fulfillment, direct mail marketing, fulfillment solutions, and fulfillment markets. We also use the best quality software systems to manage your warehouse, so if you’re looking for the right company, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. You can contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (954) 582-7450.