If you haven’t already started planning for fulfillment this holiday season, it’s time to get started! This time of year provides 45 of the top 50 selling days of the year. So, planning and preparation over the coming days or weeks could set you up for one of the most successful years yet. Or, if you put it off, it could set you up for a challenging season as you spin your wheels trying to catch up.
Here’s your holiday fulfillment checklist to get the season off to a great start:
- Create a Plan Early! Begin with a well-thought-out strategic plan long before the holiday rush. This will provide you with adequate time to implement and delight your customers.
Set up Your Systems, Facilities, and Equipment to ensure your entire team is set up for success and can handle the increased volume.
Don’t Forget Shipping! This is peak season for shipping carries (e.g., USPS, UPS, and FedEx) as they deliver a significantly higher volume of packages. Ensure you’re aware of their shipping deadlines and plan for those.
- Ramp up Your Marketing. Help your customers find you before the holiday season begins. Invest in organic search, promote direct sales, and ensure your email communications are set up. Now is the time to build relationships with personalized communications.
- Improve Your Customer Experience by ensuring your signup and payment processes are on point. Make it easy. This can go a long way toward building your customer’s confidence in you and your brand. Customers today have more choices than ever before, so refine and improve their experience every step of the way. In turn, you’ll be rewarded with greater business growth. In short, be transparent, provide clear communication, and build trust.
- Prepare Your Offers. During this season—even more than any others—customers are looking for deals. Don’t just incentivize new customers, though. Provide current customers with exclusive deals to thank them for choosing your company and products. Then, make it easy for them to share how happy they are with your brand.
- Take the Pain Out of Payments. Provide cashless payments (debit/credit or prepaid cards) as well as emerging payment methods to make it easier to purchase from you.
- Prep Your Inventory to ensure you don’t have backorders, and worse, missed profits. Up to 36% of customers list out-of-stock inventory as a top frustration. But too much inventory increases your costs for storage, staff, and organization. Ensure you have the right stock at the right time. If you currently have too much inventory, look at how you can create value by kitting more than one product together at a discount. You can provide extra value for your customer and help move inventory out—a win-win solution.
- Keep Your Warehouse Organized to ensure orders go out smoothly and avoid damaged product, order errors, and other mistakes. Revisit your warehouse layout, flow, storage, cleanliness, etc. to ensure your warehouse can receive, pick, and pack orders quickly and avoid added chaos this season.
- Support Your Staff. As orders increase, so do labor demands. Your team is your most important and valuable asset—even if they’re only with you during the season. Ensure, in advance, you have enough trained staff and have communicated expectations and hours as well as contingency plans for turnover, illness, or holiday vacations.
- Seek Support. A third-party fulfillment partner like QuickBox can provide valuable support including scalable space and staff, the latest technology, established relationships with carriers and suppliers, and more, so you can focus on your customers this season instead of getting overloaded with logistics and fulfillment.