Tips for Peak Season 2022
In PART 1 of our “Peak Season 2022 Guide for eCommerce Brands” we discussed the major problems that affect eCommerce brands for peak season 2022, and the solutions entrepreneurs can seek to resolve them. Now let’s get into additional tips that will set you up for success this holiday season!
Prep for Black Friday
It can be difficult for eCommerce brands, (DTC brands in particular) to prep for the onslaught of Black Friday sales. A sudden, drastic increase in inventory volume can be tricky to manage, and this famous sale is smack dab in the middle of the holiday season—adding more to the madness. If you manage your own fulfillment, you’ll need to study data and inventory formulas from previous seasons and hire more packers while running your promotions to keep up with competitors.
If you want to dedicate your entrepreneurial time to that vital marketing and advertising, definitely lean on a 3PL fulfillment provider like ShipMonk that takes fulfillment stresses off your plate. Our technology gets eCommerce orders taken care of in a timely and effective manner, our first-of-its kind fulfillment software provides transparent, accurate, amazing data. We even have a post-purchase suite to help customers if anything goes wrong with a shipment they receive.
Manage Your Deadlines
All of them (internal and external). Know when inventory needs to be ordered by. Know when inventory needs to be received by. Make sure your employees are aware of deadlines (advertising, shipping, website optimization, hiring, etc.) so you can all work together as a united front. Ensure your customers know when they should expect their orders by and that you know what you’ve promised so can deliver. Both literally and figuratively. 🙂
Prioritize User Interface
Customers have a lot of options for where to take their business. If you want to keep them happy and engaged with your eCommerce brand, a smooth and easy website experience is key. The priority is the cart and checkout experience. If that is simple to navigate, you are getting eCommerce orders processed efficiently. However, past cart/checkout, all aspects of your online retail store need to be optimized from your site navigation to your load times to your social media.
Less website friction equals less customer frustration. So make sure your eCommerce brand’s digital team is keeping your site optimized for all search engines, mobile friendly, loads quickly, and the layout that guides customers through the purchase funnel makes total sense. Slow and unoptimized sites can drive customers away, costing you sales!
With peak season’s increase in orders comes an increase in ways you can connect with your customers. Make every eCommerce order a memorable branding moment. Use custom packaging, personalized inserts, and branded order confirmations, notifications, and updates to add a little razzle dazzle. You can even brand your post-purchase experience like MonkProtect is set up to do.
Be Ready to Promote
It’s paramount that you have a marketing strategy in place going into peak season (content, campaigns, targeted audiences, targeted outlets). You’ll want this set and ready in advance because you don’t want to be crafting promo content in the spur of the moment when the holiday orders heat up. Use social media to connect with potential and current customers and to promote your brand and products as well.
Communicate Clearly with Your People
On the one hand, be sure you’re training employees to work as efficiently and safely as possible. They can’t deliver for you if they don’t have the information or practice to get things done quickly and correctly. Familiarity with warehouse/fulfillment facilities is key. It’s also important that employees are aware of all emergency and safety protocols going into the hectic holiday season. AND they need to know what to look for in terms of “red flags” while packing orders; this can prevent mistakes/keep damaged or incorrect goods from being shipped out. If you work with a 3PL fulfillment provider you don’t have to worry about this, as our experts are effectively trained to get eCommerce orders picked, packed, and shipped.
On the other hand, make sure you’re keeping a clear line of communication with your suppliers so you know the status of your inventory and their production. If something goes wrong and there are delivery delays (in any aspect of your supply chain), by staying tuned-in you’ll at least be able to adjust and notify customers immediately.
Prepare Your Returns & Support Procedures
A clear, frictionless returns/exchange policy makes a huge difference in customer satisfaction with an eCommerce brand. You’ll want to ensure your customer support team is ready to handle a spike in case volume, and that you have multiple outlets for customers to reach out. Furthermore, having a fully-integrated post-purchase suite like MonkProtect also helps customer satisfaction thanks to a simple claims portal where customers can report issues. Meanwhile a streamlined, automated technology like this takes stress off your entrepreneurial plate because you don’t have to manage every claim manually. Go devote that time to managing the peak season big picture instead!
Keep Calm and Carry On
Peak season is a crazy time for every eCommerce brand, so competition, shipping, supply chains, and pricing are going to be strained across all industries. Given that, even the most prepared companies can still experience problems and you need to be okay with that and have the back-up plans in place to handle them. For example, between labor shortages, bad weather, and general backlog there will likely be shipping delays at some point. So be prepared with a procedure of best practices for managing delivery exceptions and build cushions into your deadlines and customer shipping expectations with that in mind. Overall, if things go wrong, just keep calm and ensure all customer communications are handled with care and consistency so delivery/shipping issues don’t negatively impact opinions of your brand.
Study Data Closely
In any high-stakes situation, things can go off the rails quickly. So in addition to shrewdly studying your peak season data from previous years, and sales trends for all of 2022 thus far, carefully keep an eye on your numbers now. Check shipping statuses constantly. Inspect inventory levels daily. Regularly look in on your eCommerce order numbers to see what needs more or less stock. Check employee numbers too so you know how much help you have. And monitor promotion conversions so you know what advertising is working and can adjust funds and focus accordingly.
Work with a Great 3PL (Obviously)
In case you missed the subtle cues throughout this peak season 2022 blog, working with a 3PL fulfillment provider is important. Also, ShipMonk is one of the best 3PLs out there. By leveraging technology, fully-integrated systems, and advanced fulfillment software, our 3PL helps eCommerce brands of all sizes thrive through peak season. If that sounds better than just surviving peak season, you’ll want to connect with us immediately.
Your 3PL for Peak Season 2022
To eCommerce brands, the most wonderful time of year can also be classified as the most stressful time of year. But it doesn’t have to be. At ShipMonk our motto has always been to help companies “stress less and grow more.” Just like there’s no better place to prove you can swim than the deep end of the pool, there’s no better time to show our eCommerce brands our commitment to this mantra than when we help them navigate the holiday rush.
Go into peak season with the best fulfillment and shipping strategies in place. Logistics are important all year round, but a successful peak season 2022 could mean the difference between securing the loyalty of future customers and ruining the chances of a customer ever coming back.
Contact ShipMonk today to find out how our 3PL fulfillment services allow eCommerce brands to perform at peak level.