Start Preparing for the Holiday Shipping Season Today
For many of us, summer weather has only just arrived — but in the ecommerce world, that’s your cue to start preparing for the holiday rush. Black Friday was once the beginning of the holiday shopping season, but now customers begin shopping as early as October. If you want to optimize your process ahead of time, now is the moment to start.
To ensure your shipping process is holiday-ready, start by asking yourself the following questions.
- How well did you perform last year?
If you don’t address the issues you faced last year, they’re likely to resurface the next time around. Take a look at your shipping records from the previous holiday season. Did you struggle to fulfill orders quickly? Did you frequently have items out of stock during rush periods? Were customers contacting you about unclear or missing tracking information?
The more robust your shipping data is, the better you’ll be able to identify your unique challenges — and plan to address them ahead of time.
- Are you staffed appropriately for the rush?
Summer is often a slow period for ecommerce businesses, but when the year starts to wind down, it’ll be all hands on deck. An understaffed warehouse or fulfillment center can leave you scrambling when orders start to come in rapidly. The best time to address these staffing concerns is now, before they take a toll on your business.
Planning your seasonal workforce in advance is a smart use of your time during the summer months. You might consider a fulfillment partner to help you manage exceptionally high volumes. Or, think about automating portions of your sorting or packaging processes to help keep things moving.
- Is your shipping partner in the loop?
If you’re keeping a close eye on your annual growth rates and yearly goals, you can generally estimate what your holiday season shipping might look like. Of course, there’s no way to know for sure, but even a broad window can help calibrate your expectations. And the sooner you can clue your shipping partner in to what you’re anticipating, the better.
Communicate early and often with your shipping partner as you prepare for the holiday shipping season. A true partner will work with you to forecast demand and recommend ways to optimize your process, whether that’s by streamlining fulfillment or offering premium shipping options.
- What does your audit say?
If you haven’t recently, now is the ideal time to perform a parcel audit. What percentage of your deliveries have been on-time? Have you struggled to meet delivery expectations in certain postal zones? Or has your percentage of damaged packages been increasing?
You may or may not be happy with the results of your audit. If your shipping performance shows room for improvement, now is the time to start exploring other carrier options. It’s far better to find a reputable carrier before the holiday season is in full swing, rather than dealing with the consequences of poor service during the busiest time of year.
OSM Worldwide is always here to help you optimize your shipping performance, during the holiday season or any season. To learn how our data-driven ecommerce shipping solutions can help grow your business and delight your customers, contact us at any time.