The holidays are crucial for direct-to-consumer brands and Q4 is widely considered to be the peak shipping season. Your shipping plan and fulfillment operations must be in place to handle the exceptional volume in such a short time frame. Expect an increase in eCommerce returns this holiday season.
As people anticipate the holiday season, companies such as a 3PL ShipJoy, which can help you to keep up logistically will attract and retain more customers.
You can better manage stock levels by anticipating demand and deciding how much of each SKU to replenish. Though no forecast is ever 100% correct, there are actions you may take to improve your estimates:
- Examine trends and seasonality.
- Consider upcoming promotions and surges.
- Use data as much as possible, organize promotions and decide how to handle peak shipping spikes. Optimize stock levels by tracking hot and cold products.
In the event of a stockout, you should set up a system that immediately marks orders as “out of stock” so both you and your customers are aware of the situation. Any dead-stock can be cleared out with a promotion or flash sale to create a place for in-demand products.
Be Clear About Peak Shipping Times with Consumers
Since Q4 is peak shipping season, eCommerce firms must pay attention to carrier cutoffs for each service (even padding in extra time) and carrier transit time performance to communicate any potential delays to customers.
Last-mile delivery is critical to customer satisfaction, yet delays arise. Be proactive in informing customers of anticipated delays. Keep track of carrier holiday delivery dates so you can inform your clients when holiday purchases must be submitted to be fulfilled and dispatched on time.
Communicate With Suppliers
To avoid stock-outs during the holiday season, work closely with your manufacturer or supplier to estimate Q4 order volume. Be prepared for lengthier lead times owing to Q4 demand, port delays, and other supply chain difficulties. Avoid stock-outs, backorders, and promotional items by understanding production lead times.
Use Supply Chain Technologies
A simplified tech stack can improve order accuracy and speed. As well as providing precise real-time data to different third parties. It’s not too late to enhance your supply chain before the peak shipping season.
A 3PL like ShipJoy offers superior technology and direct connections with top eCommerce applications from inventory planning to returns administration.
Overestimate Packaging Supplies
If you handle fulfillment in-house, make sure to stock up on boxes, poly mailers, and other supplies.
You should also consider how to differentiate your business over the Christmas season. Use unique packaging, marketing inserts, and gift notes to make the unwrapping experience memorable.
Use Multiple Shipping Carriers
Using various carriers increases shipping flexibility. But working with various shipping companies is time-consuming and may cause you to miss out on cheap shipping rates. This is where ShipJoy can help you to optimize your peak shipping period.
Revise Your Returns Policy
No matter the season, make sure your return and exchange policy is clearly established and easily available on your online store or product listings.
Making the returns process as simple as feasible for the customer can enhance brand loyalty and sales.
If you want to find out more about how we can boost your success for Q4, contact us for more details today.