For many online stores, the long holiday seasons or festivals, especially New Year, is a contentiously busy period as online purchase rates go through the roof. The pattern is obvious and is predicted to continue the climb to greater and greater heights each year. And, the most difficult task during the peak season is the expectation for fast shipping. For retailers and stores to overcome such pressure, preparation and the right techniques is key. For all of whom sell online, let’s take a look at how these pressing requirements are best handled.
10 easy tricks to get ready for peak online sales seasons
The most chaotic shipping season of the year is approaching. Are you prepared to handle the number of orders that will rise to new heights along with expectations accuracy and zero delay? If not, here are a few tips.
1. Study the carrier’s holiday schedule
Regardless of whether you ship with SCG Express, Thailand post, or another service provider, the important thing to remember is that each of them probably have different holiday schedules. Overlook the anomalies, come deliver crunch time and your expensive gifts might not have anyone to ship them through the quiet holidays, causing late delivery to loyal customers, unnecessarily. Usually, each carrier will announce official holidays on their web page. Should they not, though, ask them directly straight away.
2. Plan ahead
For smooth trading operations during peak festivity, plan sales a little bit in advance even though it may seem difficult to do so. Doing so will tell you how many products exactly are being stocked for high demand for the special time. At any rate, there should be enough to keep the chance of being out of stock to the minimal and reduce mismanaged orders, such as wrong address and mishandled packages. Decided customers committed to purchase will always pre-order. Mismanaged stocks maximizes the chance of losing a loyal customer.
3. Don’t procrastinate
You snooze, you lose. When operations are firing on all cylinders with all hands on deck for the seemingly gazillion orders, stock issues and sales channels that come with it, online stores tend to deal with customer orders later than expected, unfortunately, instead of placing orders as soon as they are received. But, do you know that the delivery process is significantly delayed by the carrier’s delivery cycle as well? Delayed handling of orders, as opposed to immediate, automatic handling leads to delayed packaging that misses the carrier’s delivery cycle and upsets customers that wait for their time sensitive gifts in vain.
4. Open communication
The number of delivery vehicles is crucial to the carrier, likewise, communication is crucial in transport and shipping. Free shipping promotions thus is music to the carrier’s ears if they can be notified in advance so preparation can be made both in terms of the number of vehicles that needs to be set aside and ready as well as the amount and type of packages to be delivered, all of which need to be planned and managed efficiently for punctual delivery.
5. Understand customer expectations
To avoid customers dissatisfaction, try to put yourself in their shoes. What would you want? Of course, everyone wants to get their stuff fast and intact. But sometimes, even when swiftness is the focus, there are too many out of control factors that affect the delivery of goods. Ideally, you should clearly specify the shopping details and conditions to customers beforehand so they know what to expect. For example, stating that delivery takes place within 2 days can prevent customers from knocking on your door for answers before the deadline, if not the same day.
6. Attentive packaging
While you are accelerating packing to meet carrier cycle requirements, don’t forget to pay attention to packaging as no customer wants to get damaged or defected gifts. For this reason, give some time to packing. See if the product is packed tight and thoroughly enough, or not. Are fragile products labeled and packed properly? Doing so would help the carrier handle products that require special attention more easily. It will also allow you to hold the carrier responsible in the event your properly labeled package is mishandled.
7. Strategic shipping
During festivals like the New Year’s period, the key to success in eCommerce is the speed of delivery. So how can you deliver products faster? Stocking, packing, and shipping all play an important role in efficient and effective handling. Every step of the operation has room for improvement. For example, difficult to reach or collect items can be moved to a better place that allows for easier maneuverability and shorter turnaround time. Packaging that wastes a lot of time can also be redesigned for faster and fewer steps as well as improved durability and appeal.
8. Prepare to deal with a large number of returns after the festive season
Of course, more sales come with higher risk of bounced transactions and returns, a lot of times when you did nothing wrong, e.g., deliveries when no one’s home to sign for the package. It be due to bad traffic, change of heart, on vacation, or simply refusal of the delivery, anything can happen to make the delivery unsuccessful where a return to the point of origin is a necessity. One thing for certain during festive season, massive amounts of orders are placed and a lot of them will be returned. Finding a way to deal with returns in advance will help you get through this mind boggling period more peacefully.
9. Prepare for increased expenses
Depending on your carrier of choice, some charge additional fees for your products to be prioritized and delivered faster, or, quote-unquote, with normal speed during normal time. Unsurprisingly, your’s won’t be the only store that hits new record sales after this season. Many others will probably outsell you. The amount of goods that need to be transported altogether will be massive and as such, some carriers may charge additional fees to cover intensified expenses for the occasion. Alternatively, you can look for ways to reduce the costs. For example, you might follow item 5 by notifying customers that the products are selling well during the festive season and there may be delays in shipping. You will also be able to save more from the contest of speed.
10. Entice them to buy first
The biggest reason of late deliver during the festival period is late orders. Sometimes, customers get confused and don’t make a decision until late afternoon. Carriers work around the late orders by adding or cutting shipping trips which can result in even later delivery. Therefore, since we are unable to ask customer to adjust to our schedule, what we can do is grant special privileges or some value added feature, such as a special early December promotion to allow customers to make a purchasing decision earlier on in the month. This also allows separate orders instead of all coming in one big box at the end of the month with a higher risk of delay.
Fulfillment by SCG Logistics understands what every online store has to deal with during festive season. We know how busy everyone is and that is why we want to help facilitate your online operations as well as help you grow from an SME to a large company. In so doing, order management, product stocking, packaging and shipping all have to work in an optimized way. We can also provide insights that help identify customer needs and analyze prevailing trends that will allow your online store to effectively plan sales, handle orders and offer even better services.
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Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics