The holidays are tough on even the most experienced online retailers and the pressure on eCommerce brands only seems to grow. Not only are eCommerce brands competing on the basis of price, but shipping speed can make or break customer perception and loyalty.
To help retailers navigate the holiday peak planning period quickly approaching, we have crafted these helpful pointers to help your operations this holiday season.
Forecast Your Season
You can’t predict the future, but you can use your past experience and hard data to make informed guesses as to how your sales will look during the holidays. According to the National Retail Federation, many businesses will do as much as 20-40 percent of their annual sales in November and December. Be sure to have enough in stock to meet the expected demand, account for sales, and ensure that you don’t run out of stock.
Go even further and look to your sales data from last year to inform your inventory decisions. Understanding how your customers reacted to previous sales, when their cart value was highest, and where you struggled to fulfill orders can inform how you prepare your inventory for peak planning. Make sure your order management system notifies your team of low inventory as well so you can spot potential issues well in advance.
Invest in the Long-Term Customer Relationship
Your relationships with customers during the holiday season can be tough to maintain. When customers are stressed, it’s even more crucial to nurture your relationship with them. Be a brand that your customers can trust to make their lives easier.
The most important thing you can do is be in constant communication with shoppers as to the status of their orders. Even if you fail and will deliver an order late, it’s much better to admit this and keep your customers up-to-date. Changes in their order status can affect how they make plans for the day and they will appreciate the time to adjust their schedules if necessary.
Thriving, not merely surviving, the holiday season can be a reality for eCommerce brands that prepare for the rush in the right way.
To download all of our tips for holiday peak planning, download our tip sheet, “How to Avoid Holiday Shipping Disasters,” here.