Before you know it, you’re already in the middle of the new year. Business is going well but a thought crosses your mind that you wouldn’t expect until later in the year:
The holidays are coming.
Before you panic or brush off the thought because it’s “too early”, have a proper think about this topic. Because you’ll need to ask yourself:
Are you prepared?
Better to ask now than when it’s too late and you can’t do much about it.
1. Plan Your eCommerce Fulfillment Early
We all scoff at places like Walmart for putting up their decorations and products for the holidays early – like September early.
“Halloween hasn’t even passed yet!” we might think.
But maybe there’s method to this retailer madness that we’re overlooking.
When it comes to the holiday season, the last opportunity for you make your purchases with vendors tends to be early. We’re talking August and September early.
Walmart doesn’t seem so crazy now, do they?
If you want to make sure you have plenty of stock, you need to make sure you get your orders placed. Especially your best selling products.
Organizing early also allows you to iron out the details of any discount sales or special offers you plan on having.
This includes making sure those special offer details on your eCommerce fulfillment website actually work.
Prepping early also makes it easier for a customer to make their purchases. They know that you’re a reliable source and that the product will be available on time for the holidays.
2. Find Your Peak Day
One of the best ways to prepare is to determine when your peak day of purchases will happen.
This may mean enlisting the help of a third-party logistics company to help you make this prediction.
Knowing this information will help you not only anticipate when your sales will increase but help you see the reason why and plan accordingly.
With this data, you will be able to plan your marketing strategy and help you prepare the details for those special offers you’re planning.
3. Consider Your Fulfillment Plan
Everyone knows things get crazy around the holiday season, so part of being prepared means making sure you can handle an influx of orders to ship.
Are your current methods going to be effective enough? Or will you need to use third-party fulfillment?
Use your peak day analysis to help you figure out what to expect when it comes to your eCommerce fulfillment strategy.
If you’re still working out of your home or if you have your own warehouse, make sure to stock up on the shipping essentials:
You get the idea. You want to be as prepared as possible. It’s better to over-prepare than under-prepare!
4. Determine Holiday Logistic Strategies
During this hectic time, it’s a good idea to look at your logistic strategies and determine if there will need to be changes.
This could mean administering a special customer service policy.
You might need to change any service level agreements you have.
Amidst the shopping chaos, you want to set the proper expectations for your customers.
It’s also a great time to determine if you’d like to invest in offering seasonal packaging. You know, seasonal branded packages, wrapped packages, and gift tag messages. That sort of thing.
This investment is usually a great one. Who doesn’t like to receive professionally wrapped products or branded packages with a message from a loved one on it?
Believe it or not, according to a Google survey, 40% of online shoppers stated they’re more likely to film or photograph the unboxing process.
What’s more, an analysis has found that unboxing videos on YouTube have grown by 57% in 2014.
It’s clear that people like to show off this process and you can use this to your advantage, holiday season or not. These videos provide:
Show off the product
Assisting customers in making an informed decision on whether or not they want to buy the product.
This can definitely help you in the long run so make sure your stuff is looking great!
5. Be Ready for Hiccups
With eCommerce fulfillment, problems can and do arise. The holiday season makes no difference.
Where there is difference can be found in how a customer responds to any issues that arise due to the frantic time of year.
Be sure you’re ready for anything. This includes:
Items going out of stock
Nothing is worse than when any of these things go wrong. With the season comes stress for everyone involved.
Regardless, if anything goes wrong, reach out to the customer to try and make amends.
Make sure to apologize and offer alternatives where possible.
Replace anything damaged as soon as possible.
Improve your packaging.
Improve diligence when it comes to administrative details.
Maybe sweeten the deal with a special discount offer for their next purchase.
Whatever you do, make sure you address the customer, sympathize with them, and make sure they feel heard and taken care of.
6. Make Sure Your Channels are Ready
This means making sure your multi-channel fulfillment mediums are prepared. Your sites look nice and everything is functioning correctly.
Test every page. Test the checkout process. Try any special offer codes you’re using.
It’s a real pain in the neck when you’re trying to buy something and the checkout process doesn’t work the way it should. It can turn into complaints and even loss of sale.
7. Hire Smart
If you anticipate needing temporary workers, make sure to hire them early. This will allow you to train them sufficiently and have them ready to go when the actual seasonal rush begins.
The last thing you want is to be training people during prime shopping time.
For a successful season, your eCommerce fulfillment machine needs to operate as smoothly as possible.
This includes hiring help like us at Marketplace Valet. We’ve got you covered for all your multi-channel fulfillment needs.
Need help selling your stuff online? Contact us today and we’ll help you develop a sensational plan so you can relax this holiday season.