The term peak period itself spells success. It accounts for almost 40% of the Gross Monthly Volume of business. The golden quarter amounts to about 30% of annual sales. Ensuring seamless sales and delivery during peak delivery season is extremely important.
More customers are moving towards online shopping during the holiday season. The e-commerce industry has been seeing an overall spurt in growth. Revenues are projected to grow to the tune of $4.48 Tn by 2021. Peak seasons play a major role in contributing to these numbers. So, while online retailers enjoy the unprecedented sales each year, are they prepared to handle the demands of peak period?
Here’s a winning checklist for online retailers to ensure success during the golden quarter:
Study historical data
Your business’ historical data provides key insights on what to expect during the peak sales period — review data on your past sales, inventory holdings, which products sold fast and which didn’t. Based on the given data, work on the following pointers.
- Calculate order fulfilment rate vs set targets
- Recognise bottlenecks in logistics and inventory management
- Identify common customer complaints
- Ensure your suppliers and logistics partners are reliable
Prepare for winter
Peak season calls for additional pressure on inventory, sales and operations. As such, you will need to hire temporary staff, facilities, equipment, and so on. You will also require additional storage. Working ahead of the winter months to secure all of the above will help you bag better deals.
Training your temporary staff is also a major resource drain. However, it’s an unavoidable cost to ensure fewer errors and impact on cost. Instead of training your temporary staff, you can give them headsets. These headsets, with their pre-recorded guidelines, can guide them through jobs with simple instructions. This will help both ground staff and customer care service to handle queries and jobs better.
Update logistics software
Ensure your logistics solution is updated. To optimise your logistic workflow software, integrate your vendor/partner to your system. This will enable smooth EDI, which, in turn, optimises your entire supply channel. Having a proper logistics business process in place can help you plan:
- Routing optimisation
- Speedy deliveries
Ensure customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is a major parameter that determines peak period success. By providing on-time deliveries, you can ensure happy customers. However, customers generally tend to procrastinate shopping during the holiday season. They often postpone shopping until the last ten days before Christmas. This puts tremendous pressure on the supply chain. Also, as a result of last moment shopping, they expect same-day delivery as well. Customers do not shy away from paying a premium to get their parcels on the same day. Plan your logistics, especially around these surges. Use forecasts and historical data to expect these scenarios and service them well.
Use technology to delight customer
Meeting the requirements of on-time delivery is basic in today’s competitive online retail scenario. Enable track and trace and same-day deliveries to create delightful customer experiences. You can use drones and robots to achieve this. Drones are cost-effective and easy-to-use.
Draft return policy
About 91% of online shoppers say that a good returns service is crucial in making purchase decisions. Buyer’s remorse is high during the holiday season. Also, the lack of “touch and feel” experience makes it difficult for buyers to shop online. In these cases, having an easy and practical return policy is a must. Following are the few things that your return policy must reflect:
- Specified warranty/return/exchange period
- Reachable customer service number
- Short and simple process
- Return-specific links on the website
The tips mentioned above can help you sail through the peak period easily. The increased pressure on facilities and resources won’t matter if you plan months earlier. Study historical data and create forecasts. These steps will help you ready your online business for massive success that it deserves during the peak season.