3 eCommerce Fulfillment Tips to Successfully Scale During Peak Season
While customers feel the stress of holiday shopping right up to the moment they click the “buy now” button, that click is exactly when stress sets in for eCommerce businesses.
As customer orders pour in during peak season, you have to act quickly to process the purchase, package the order, fill carriers’ trucks, and get it shipped to your customers’ doorsteps. But when holiday deadlines loom, you can quickly find yourself falling behind or burning out.
Thankfully, there are many ways eCommerce businesses can scale their operations during the peak season. In this post, we discuss three of them.
Scale Your Value-Added Services
During the holiday season, customers are more concerned with the presentation of their purchases than they might be at other times of the year. This means eCommerce businesses can’t afford to scale back the use of their branded packaging or personal touches to accommodate the peak season load if they want to keep customers happy.
But as you well know, keeping up with the increased volume of orders can be difficult if you’re wrapping, embossing, and tying bows on every box.
Luckily, there are ways you can scale your value-added services without drastically slowing down your fulfillment process. For example, you can prepare your personal touches and packaging before peak season really gets underway to reduce the amount of work you have to do when orders come flooding in. This might include writing your hand-written notes, embossing your brand name onto your boxes, and printing inserts.
You might also want to find ways to replace traditional, boxed details with easily scalable digital versions—in essence, swapping out physical ribbon bows for a colorfully patterned box and hand-written thank you notes for personalized thank you emails.
Regardless of how you choose to adjust your value-added services, making small changes here and there and preparing early can save you precious time when it counts.
Streamline Reverse Fulfillment
Whether your customers end up gifting the wrong size or color, or they receive a product with defects or damages, you’ll deal with more returns during peak season than other times of the year. That’s just the nature of scaling your inventory and orders.
But if you want to keep the return process simple and ensure your inventory is up-to-date, you need to have a plan for restocking and damaging out returned products.
One of the best ways to do this is by adopting an omnichannel order management system with reverse fulfillment capabilities. This enables you to send customers free shipping labels and instructions for returning products by mail. If exchanges are needed, you can quickly and easily swap out the order from your warehouse with no hassle. This streamlined process makes reverse logistics painless for you and your customer experience great for them.
Speed Up Fulfillment
Although the devastating effects of COVID-19 are no longer as ever-present as they were at the height of the pandemic, concerns about labor shortages, inflation, and other economic issues will likely make order fulfillment challenging this peak season.
That doesn’t mean you and your customers have to settle for painfully long order cycles, though. There are ways you can shave off time here and there to get products to your customers’ doorsteps faster.
One of those ways is automation. With automation, you can sort, pick, pack, and ship orders around the clock to minimize downtime. With the right automation process in place, you can get it done faster than it would get done by hand. At the same time, you can get inventory to your customers faster by pinpointing the best locations to hold certain products with AI analytics.
The result? You can fulfill orders faster and easier while keeping all of your customers happy.
Peak season is a stressful and exhausting time for eCommerce businesses. Between a challenging economic environment, approaching holiday deadlines, and the uptick in orders and returns, a lot has to get done in a short amount of time. Luckily, eCommerce businesses like yours aren’t on their own. By working with an omnichannel order management solution provider, you can scale your fulfillment process, value-added services, and reverse fulfillment effortlessly to deliver exceptional customer experiences and ensure a successful peak season overall.