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Creating a Holiday Scorecard: How to Measure Success for the Holiday Shipping Season
The holiday season is both an exciting and high-pressure time of year for e-commerce retailers. As sales continue to tick up year-over-year and more consumers turn to online ordering, 2017 will certainly be no different.
While a surge in sales is always welcome, especially at year-end, retailers often find themselves in a logistical dilemma when it comes to providing quick and error-free fulfilment in the face of such an uptick. This is why selecting the right third-party shipping provider is so crucial to a retailer’s success during the holiday season. With high expectations and ballooning orders – retailers must rely on their shipping partner to survive and deliver results.
The holiday season can then serve as a litmus test for how reliable a shipping carrier is when pressures – and orders – run high. And what is more, the holiday season is the ideal time for retailers to evaluate their own shipping practices. It is helpful then for retailers to establish a “holiday scorecard” with specific KPIs that allow them to measure their success objectively.
OSM suggests retailers model their scorecards using the following criteria:
Did you accurately forecast order volume? Did you plan accordingly?
A successful retailer/shipping partner relationship starts and ends with mutual communication. In the best of situations, a retailer will alert their shipping partner ahead of any holiday promotions, flash sales or any other anticipated spike in orders.
Armed with this intel, an experienced and attentive shipping partner should be able to match their retail client step for step, increasing available space, adding extra trucks to their fleet, opening up additional shipping lanes, and even bringing in another carrier.
Retailers who successfully prepare with their shipping partner will be able to measure their success in this area by how deftly they manage fulfillment when orders spike.
Did you keep your customers happy throughout the season?
Customer satisfaction should stay top of mind for retailers, even during the busy holiday shipping season. Even with a increase in orders and activity, the quality of customer service shouldn’t waiver.
Success in this area requires a reliable shipping partner that makes prompt and successful order fulfilment a top priority.
Retailers can gauge customer satisfaction in part by the number of customer service calls they receive regarding delivery. To be on the safe side, less than 2 percent of calls should involve a late delivery or a damaged package. As a package delivered damaged will always cause customer dissatisfaction, if more than half a percent of deliveries arrived damaged, retailers should see this as a serious red flag.
Did you maintain or cut costs? Or did your costs increase?
While seamless order fulfilment and customer satisfaction should certainly be a priority for retailers, this doesn’t mean they must neglect their own bottom lines.
Together with their shipping partner, retailers should determine how efficient and cost-effective their shipping methods were, including the sizing and materials of their packaging. An agile shipping partner can propose solutions, such as using polybags to ship items instead of boxes, to avoid unnecessary costs and streamline operations.
If costs shot up significantly during the holiday season, retailers and their shipping partners should reevaluate where they can cut weight or improve processes.
Answering these questions honestly will help retailers more accurately appraise their holiday shipping success after the dust settles. Even better, retailers can use these questions to define their objectives before heading into holiday shopping season. If come January the results are less than stellar, a holiday scorecard gives retailers a baseline for comparison – especially if they evaluate their performance year-over-year.