It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is fast approaching and that means eCommerce stores need to start preparing for the influx of orders. If you’re not adequately prepared, your business could suffer from missed sales, dissatisfied customers, and other problems. Being ready to fulfill the rising customer demands can help ensure you stay in the black throughout the peak shipping season.
How to Get Ready for Peak Shipping Season
Be it stock of inventory or delivering the orders, you must have everything in place beforehand. There can be several challenges in handling peak season logistics, but you can overcome the hassles with help of the best courier partners in India for peak season. So, now’s the time to start preparing if you want to avoid last-minute panics. Here are a few ways to get your eCommerce store ready for the peak shipping season.
1. Plan Ahead
The first step is to start planning ahead. You need to know how many orders you’re expecting and what your shipping capacity is. This will help you avoid over-promising and under-delivering. It’s also a good idea to map out your shipping routes in advance so you can handle everything in an organized manner.
Plus, it’s important to double-check inventory levels before processing shipments. Being organized and knowing how many orders your staff is shipping per day (or week) will help you avoid overworking your staff or flubbing product availability.
2. Ensure Fast Processing Time for Shipments
Fulfilling orders quickly can make all the difference between good and bad business during peak times. If you process orders promptly, keep the customer informed, and get their package out right away, you can avoid bad reviews from disgruntled customers.
And when they receive their order fast, even if it’s not exactly what they expected, they’re likely to return for future purchases.
3. Don’t Forget About Your Shipping Rates and Options
If you’re not offering free shipping during the holidays, you can still price competitively with low shipping rates.
Shipping costs are always a concern for shoppers, so make sure your eCommerce store offers free or cheap delivery options.
You may even want to consider offering expedited shipping during the holidays to ensure you meet customer needs. Partnering with NimbusPost for your comprehensive shipping needs during the peak shipping season can make a huge difference to your profit margin.
4. Think about Other Retailers’ eCommerce Sites
Just like bricks and mortar stores like to compete with online shops during peak shopping seasons, you should be aware of large retail chains’ holiday strategies as well.
For example, when large retailers like Walmart offer free shipping on purchases of $50 or more, they can attract customers away from your site.
These shoppers may be attracted in part by the lower prices at larger retailers; in some cases, these stores will even match competitor pricing.
5. Focus on Product Offerings and Optimizing Listings
There are many ways to improve your offerings before the peak shipping season, from expanding the range of products to creating an optimized description of the products.
Ensure you’ve got the right products for the holiday season and that those products are well-priced. We recommend checking out some ideas about optimizing your order placement based on expected shipping costs.
6. Be Transparent with Customers about Order Fulfilment Timelines
Hopefully, you know your average order processing time and how many orders you can ship per day. Your customers probably don’t, and they may be surprised to learn that it will take an extra week for their package to arrive if they order at the last minute. So please keep them in the loop by clearly communicating estimated shipping times on the product page and in your shop, and allow them to make the final call on whether they want to purchase or not.
7. Be Prepared for a Surge of Refunds
Returns will be inevitable, so make sure you’ve got a proper system in place before the holiday rush begins.
Ensuring smooth returns can lead to good word of mouth and customer satisfaction in the long run and can save you time in trying to set up a return policy in the heat of the moment.
While some retailers offer free, no-questions-asked returns on all products 365 days a year, smaller businesses may wish to consider offering more generous holiday return policies.
8. Know that Peak Times Mean Peak Cyber Security Threats
You should know that online holiday shopping is a prime target for hackers, and you can take precautions to keep your shop safe.
Implement strong passwords and limit access to important login information. Use anti-virus software and firewalls. Consider using a hosting web service that specializes in eCommerce security.
You may also want to disable or restrict guest checkout options since they can potentially open your store up to fraudsters.
9. Enhance Customer Service with Social Media
If you decide to use social media for advertising, remember that it offers an opportunity for live support and interaction with customers during the holiday season.
It’s sometimes easier for busy shoppers to communicate their problems on Twitter than it is to find your email address, so make sure you’re ready with responses when you tweet.
10. Prepare in Advance with Inventory Management Tools
You’ve probably heard us talking about inventory management before, but it’s even more critical during the holiday season. If you’ve got tight deadlines to meet, you’ll have to have an accurate count of how many items are in stock so that you can ship out orders as quickly as possible without running out of stock.
Remember that Amazon rolls out Seller Fulfilled Prime feature, which will give you access to Prime members who expect two-day delivery. You’ll need a system in place for managing your inventory so you can still prioritize orders from Amazon while meeting increasingly stringent requirements with the shipping carriers.
It can be easy to lose track of your store’s progress during the hectic holiday season, but it is essential not to let all the pressure blind you to areas that could use some work.
By thinking ahead and implementing systems for managing inventory, customer service, returns, shipping times, and more before the big rush begins, you’ll save yourself some headaches, and customers in the long run.