How to Optimise your Holiday Fulfillment Strategies in 2020

How to Optimise your Holiday Fulfillment Strategies in 2020

So, you have spent the last few months on planning, implementing, and perfecting your holiday promotional strategies by making huge promises to lure customers. Now, it’s time to spring into action and deliver your commitment of a seamless holiday shopping experience. As the influx of holiday shoppers can be overwhelming, you should be prepared with your quick holiday order fulfillment strategies.

Imagine being in a situation where despite receiving a massive number of orders, you do not have the stocks or resources to meet those demands. How disappointed will your customers be if they find that you have run out of stock or not able to ship the packages on time? This will tarnish your reputation, and you will lose customers to the competition. Hence, it is necessary to think of holiday fulfillment strategies in advance to have a profitable holiday season.

What is fulfillment strategy?

Planning for the holiday season can be challenging as there is no way to predict what will be in demand. Hence, it is imperative to stock up accurately to avoid stockouts, but at the same time, also avoid overstocking as that means you will have to pay high warehousing fees. Some inventory management tips for the holiday season are-:

  • Use data from previous seasons to predict what will be in demand
  • Consider the response that you are getting on various channels on new goods or services that you have introduced or launched this year
  • Use efficient inventory management software like the kind offered by Intellect Commerce to help you analyse your past inventory and sales data
  • Plan a calendar by determining how much time you have until you are expected to run out of stock and create well-timed reorder points that account for any potential delays that can happen during the holidays before you can replenish your stocks
  • Open all channels of communication with your suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics teams to keep them in the loop about diminishing inventory stocks

Track inventory levels, real-time, using POS :

Imagine you were expecting mobiles or laptops to be the hottest selling items for this holiday season. However, it is the smartwatch that has become the holiday favourite. How would you deal with it? It is advisable to always review inventory turnover, the daily performance of orders and stock counts. Hence, investing in a smart POS can help in tracking your inventory in real-time to let you gauge actual stock levels and how you are performing as per the estimates. This will also help you order desired stock or slow down marketing campaigns in case your sales are ahead of the projection. Also, in case you are not able to meet a surge in demand, POS will inform you about stocks in all your warehouses and fulfillment centres so that you can transfer inventory to where it is more in demand. A smart POS will also integrate brick-and-mortar store with the online medium so that the information passes from one channel to the other, seamlessly.

Fulfilling your orders timely and efficiently :

Now that you have your inventory ready and orders pouring in, it’s time to fulfill those orders. Here are some ways which can help you to do just that during the busy festive season :

  • Outsource : If you are a small business with a small team, handling a massive volume of orders can be very stressful. You could hire some temporary workers, but letting them go after the holiday season would again be challenging. That is why many retailers outsource order fulfillment to a vendor or third party, which helps them in packing and shipment of orders, especially during the hectic holiday season. However, ensure that you are partnering with someone who is equipped with the workforce and technology to deliver, and shares the same commitments for customer satisfaction like you.
  • Choose the right shipment method : Shipment of orders at the right place, time and condition are critical to achieving customer satisfaction. However, it can also be costly. With brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra offering free shipment, the competition is fierce. However, you can save money by leveraging ground shipping and by evenly distributing your stocks across several fulfillment centres. If you are charging for your shipment, then clearly communicate your price and method to your customers, assuring that their gifts will reach recipients well on time.
  • Prepare for last-minute shipping demands : For the last-minute shoppers, devise a solid and quick holiday order fulfillment strategy that can enable you to deliver packages on time. You must also take into account special days like Black Fridays, Green Mondays and Free Shipping Day to calculate and communicate estimated delivery time on the checkout page of your website.

What about the return orders?

Holiday season means not only a surge in orders, but also holiday returns management. This is especially an area of concern for those who run an e-commerce business. The best way to deal with holiday returns is by clearly communicating your return policy to your customers on the website.

This year has indeed been difficult and stressful for all of us. Now as the holiday season approaches, there is finally a reason to rejoice. This Christmas, people have a strong desire to celebrate and cheer up their family and friends by continuing the tradition of gifting. Though the pandemic may have spoiled their vacation or family get-together plans, it is up to us retailers to ensure that we deliver a delightful shopping experience. So, let us wear our Santa hats and ensure that we spread the cheer by delivering orders at the right place and right time.

To understand how you can ensure a seamless fulfillment process, please request for a free demo of iRetail software from our retail specialists : Request Demo

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