Tis the season to start prepping fulfillment for the holidays! After all, the holiday season brings 45 of the top 50 selling days of the year (between Black Friday and Christmas Eve). That means planning and preparation for this special time of year can either set you up for success or leave you spinning your wheels as you try to catch up. Online brands can’t afford to be unprepared for this busy season.
Simple Prepping Fulfillment for the Holidays Checklist
□ Plan Early: Long before the holiday rush begins, create your plan, giving yourself ample time to implement your strategy.
□ Forecast Accurately: Avoid backorders and, worse, missed profits by ensuring you have enough inventory. At the same time, you’ll need to avoid overstocking as having too much increases costs for storage. By taking time to forecast as accurately as possible, using historical and real-time order data, you’ll ensure you have the right stock at the right time.
□ Set Up: Ensure your team, systems, technology, facilities, and equipment can handle the seasonal rush. Test your online store connections to fulfillment and streamline the process, making sure you are fully integrated between platforms.
□ Refresh Packaging: This is also a good time to customize packaging and inserts to delight your customers with every box they open and leave a lasting, positive impression.
□ Organize Your Warehousing: Ensure orders go out smoothly and avoid damaged products, order errors, and other mistakes by keeping your warehouse in order. Revisit your warehouse layout, flow, storage, cleanliness, etc., to ensure you can quickly receive, pick, and pack orders and avoid added chaos as sales spike over the season. Or, if you work with a third-party fulfillment center, discuss any changes or support you need with your dedicated account manager before the holiday season is in full swing.
□ Know the Deadlines: You aren’t the only business that will see an increase in volume over the holidays. Work with your shipping carriers (e.g., USPS, UPS, and FedEx) and your fulfillment center to ensure you’re well aware of and planning for all the key deadlines, such as the last day to ship to guarantee arrival for the holidays.
□ Get Seen: Don’t wait until Black Friday. Make sure your customers can find you now. Invest your marketing to show up in organic searches, promote direct sales, and email customers to build relationships and stay top of mind.
□ Put Customers First: Make it easy for customers to do business with you to build trust in your brand. Remember, customers have more choices now than ever before. Refining and improving their experience by making it easy to sign up and order from you can help you grow your business. Be transparent, communicate clearly, and make working with you super simple. Provide emerging payment methods (such as cashless payments or installments) to make it seamless to buy your brand.
□ Reward Your Customers. With so much competition, customers are looking for deals. While it’s important to be seen by new customers, you’ll also want to reward current and past customers. Offer exciting, exclusive deals to say thank you for their loyalty.
□ Using Kitting to Create Added Value: If you’re sitting on too much inventory, look at where you can create added value by kitting more than one product together and offering them for less. This is a great way to reward your customers by providing extra value while clearing out excess inventory—a win-win solution.
□ Evaluate and Optimize Returns: While the goal is to reign in returns, returns do happen. They’re just part of the cost of doing business. Customers have become accustomed to fast, hassle-free returns. So, use this process to help build customer relationships and trust—and it may even enhance future sales.
□ Take Care of Your Staff: With increased orders come increased demands on your labor force. Your team is your most valuable asset—even if they’re only with you during the season. Ensure, in advance, that you have enough trained staff and have communicated expectations and hours as well as contingency plans for turnover, illness, or holiday vacations.
□ Get Help: You may be able to share the burden by seeking a third-party fulfillment partner to offer valuable support. This includes warehouse space and staffing, transparent technology, forecasting help, established relationships with carriers and suppliers, and more. With added support, you and the rest of your team can better focus on what your customers need this season instead of getting overloaded with logistics and fulfillment.
Contact QuickBox today and speak with one of our experts about how we can assist you with prepping fulfillment for the holidays.