The holidays are approaching fast. It’s been said that holiday sales are expected to rise double digits this year. For this reason alone, brands need to prep operationally for the holiday rush in order to meet the demands of their customers.
Have a clear plan
as soon as your orders come in your fulfillment systems and processes will be put into overdrive. A plan in place for unexpected situations related to your technologies and equipment can help eliminate or alleviate much of the stress that goes along with this busy time of year. Always know which departments and individuals handle troubleshooting, should any issues occur.
Track previous year
Planning well in advance of when orders will start to pick up is something that needs to be on every business owners mind. There’s nothing enjoyable about waiting until the last minute and then being bombarded with an influx of orders you’ve not prepared for. Take note on the fulfillment processes and systems that worked last year and put those same practices in place. Although daunting, it’s also important to address the challenges you faced previously. By tackling what didn’t work can help you avoid unnecessary challenges and mistakes this year.
If you’re working with a 3PL be in the know on how their warehousing operations work and how your product is stacked. Make sure that your product position shows the top-selling products in efficient locations to improve pick and pack time. Communicate with your 3PL what items are hot and sell during certain seasons. If it helps, temporarily get slow-moving inventory out of the warehouse to make room for holiday products. Simple modifications create fast order turn times.
Benefit from shipping carriers
As a sell, you know full well how important it is to get the fastest and most economical shipping methods possible. Many fulfillment centers work with a number of shipping carriers and get your the best bang for your buck so understand your options and be sure to communicate with them the savings you receive as well. Take advantage of tools like zone optimization, air vs. ground prioritization and free shipping vs. transit time pressure.
Unique kitting and assembly assortments, customization services like gift wrapping, and personalized notes/letters are a few great ideas to make your brand stand out from your competition. Customer’s love the option to personalize whenever possible and it’s a great add on, especially during the holiday season.
Seasonal workers can be a huge help to keep up with holiday volume. A simple but thorough training program for all hires is essential for running a smooth holiday season. Pre-pack or stage items whenever possible to streamline your process. Seasonal employees can complete simple and tedious tasks such as replenishing items to maximize productivity.