The holiday season is paramount for e-commerce businesses, with many retailers doubling or tripling their average profits over a few short months. Though holiday shopping officially kicks off on Black Friday, e-commerce brands must prepare for holiday fulfillment months in advance to ensure a smooth and successful selling season.
One misstep could bring down the whole operation and cause online sellers to miss out on the deluge of holiday shoppers eager and ready to buy. Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast projects holiday spending into the 2020-2021 holiday season will generate between $182 billion and $196 billion, with a growth percentage of 25% to 35% year-over-year.
Taking advantage of this high buying time means all operational hands must be on deck ready to handle the influx of online orders coming in. This includes having a website that can handle a spike in traffic, broadcasting relevant social media ads that will stand out in a sea of competition, and ensuring logistics are in place and ready to weather the ebb and flow of holiday fulfillment.
To make the most of the busiest season, which typically starts as early as November 1st and lasts through the end of December, here are tips to successfully manage peak season holiday fulfillment.
Stock Inventory in Advance
Ensure you have enough inventory on your shelves with a two-part inventory strategy. First, prepare in advance for the influx of online orders by comparing the number of online sales per product of years past. Establish the length of time you’ll have before running out of inventory to schedule a reorder with the understanding there may be supplier delays due to seasonal urgency.
Track Inventory Real-Time
Second, even if you’re well-versed in how much inventory you’ll need to get through the season without having to post an item out-of-stock, some outliers can affect sales, either causing them to spike beyond your initial predictions or resulting in slower sales than normal for popular products. Because of this, you’ll want to track inventory real-time across all fulfillment centers to see how you’re trending and ensure you can meet the fulfillment necessary for customer demand. If you are wondering, “how do fulfillment centers work to meet these demands?”, the answer goes beyond great organizational efforts.
Tracking holiday fulfillment with the help of Flowspace allows you to seamlessly integrate with your online store and platforms, including Shopify and Amazon. Everything is centralized so you can better track when online sales are made and when orders have been received and are being shipped out.
Outsource Holiday Fulfillment to a Fulfillment Partner
Regardless of online store size, the holiday months mean an overwhelming number of orders paired with high customer expectation on delivery time. It causes many sellers to consider outsourcing their holiday fulfillment to a partner that can handle the entirety of logistics from order fulfillment to delivery and beyond. To ensure the ability to scale capabilities for D2C and B2B customers, a centralized dashboard and network optimization system is essential for omnichannel fulfillment during the busy holiday season. Delegating the heavy lifting e-commerce fulfillment alleviates the burden of tracking each order from start to finish, which is where a dashboard comes into play.
At Flowspace, we pick, pack, and ship each order, and provide top-notch customer service to make the fulfillment process seamless. This includes on-time shipping and delivery, one of the biggest factors consumers consider, especially during peak season. Additionally, storing products closer to where the majority of your customers are can save time and money on shipping. With a distributed network of fulfillment centers nationwide and integrations for digital storefronts, marketplaces and more, Flowspace keeps the flow of inventory accurate and running smoothly.
There’s no doubt about it: the holidays can be a chaotic time. There’s a reason why it’s referred to as a “holiday rush.” However, by preparing now for what’s to come with a solid holiday fulfillment strategy, it’ll ensure you’ll make the most of this time of high-volume online shopping and buying. Tracking accurate inventory management, outsourcing to a well-rounded fulfillment partner, and optimizing shipping time and shipping cost are three of the top tips to get you through the holiday season successfully.
Do you need e-commerce fulfillment center services to help you take on the peak holiday season? Or, are you simply looking for ways to optimize product fulfillment? Contact our team today to discover all the ways we can assist.