With the holidays approaching quickly, stressful times are in order for big and small businesses alike. However, preparing your business for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful.
Giant retail events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the major shopping holidays will be here before you know it. With consumer “holidays” fast approaching, it’s important to set aside enough time to prepare and execute your holiday retail game plan. Be prepared to start as early as August to prepare for November, December, and January holidays.
With the right preparation, foresight, and support, the holiday season can be a huge windfall. For retailers, the holidays typically mean more profit and a chance to earn the biggest portion of their revenue for the year. With the holiday season starting earlier every year, proactive preparation is critical..
Preparing For The Holiday Season
Can you ever really prepare for the holidays? Yes, you can, and for e-commerce and retailers alike, there are some ways that make it easier. Whether you are strictly an online retailer and/or an in-store retailer, there are ways to make your holiday season smoother than ever and make your customers happy.
Be Prepared for Traffic to Your Site
The majority of retailers see an uptick in traffic during the holiday season. It’s best to leverage the traffic and turn your visitors into customers. But before you get to that, you need to make sure your online retail channels are prepared to handle the onslaught of traffic.
It is important to make sure your site is prepared to handle the load of visitors making their way to your website. Use past data to determine what your current retail needs will be for the holiday season. Work with the right web developers and IT support to ensure heavy loads of online traffic won’t slow your site down.
Onsite, be sure your promotions are planned out for each holiday and in place for new visitors and returning customers alike to take advantage of. Inside your warehouse, ensure that inventory that is available to satisfy your online orders.
Manage Your Inventory
Is your inventory primed for holiday demand? Be sure to research historical and current data on popular products to inform you of which products will need to be in stock or replenished quickly.
Work with wholesale and 3PL partners to forecast what inventory is needed. And don’t forget to account for returns as this will affect your bottom line.
Plan Your Picking and Packing Route
With your Warehouse Management System (WMS), you can group or wave orders by different criteria including shipping times, destination, customer, and product characteristics to give pickers the most efficient path through the warehouse.
This also allows you to prioritize orders that require a quicker turnaround time. Make sure that your most popular items are located nearest to the shipping stations and that your warehouse is organized for efficient pick and packing.
Be Mobile Ready
Who knew that e-commerce would grow so drastically post Covid? Today, customers are shopping online more than before. If you know how to properly plan your business, attract your customers, forecast your inventory, and manage your sales data, you can be prepared for the upcoming holiday and be part of the e-commerce growth we’re seeing today.
When planning your holiday season, it is important to offer multiple tools and integrations that make shopping a breeze for your customers. Make the most of your mobile traffic with targeted campaigns and a quick and seamless shopping experience.
Ensure your website is mobile friendly and that you offer mobile payment plans such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. Having mobile integrations on your site can have a huge impact on your holiday sales and beyond. Use this planning season to make changes to your site that will increase mobile conversions for years to come.
Remember, by creating an ideal shopping experience, you are more likely to increase e-commerce sales.
Personalize Your Customer Experience
Customers today are looking to get their products in the least amount of time and in the best condition possible. Planning ahead for increased holiday demands will help to increase customer satisfaction and keep operations going smoothly.
That includes having the appropriate staff hired and trained to assist holiday shoppers, making sure your site and/or store are up and running, ensuring your inventory meets demand the right inventory to meet demands, and that you are working with the right 3PL partner who can quickly pack and ship orders as they come through.
When you improve the customer experience, it’s more likely they will return in the future and may potentially reduce returns.
Use Omnichannel Marketing to Meet Customers Where They Are
A Harvard Busines Review and McKinsey Reserach study determined that 73% of shoppers used multiple channels throughout their shopping journey. Omnichannel marketing is now a necessity for retailers if they want to succeed this holiday season.
Omnichannel marketing is a strategy in which businesses promote their product or service with a unified message and experience across multiple channels to customers. Online channels include the website, app, social media, email, SMS, and WhatsApp and offline channels may include a retail stores, events, or call-centers.
Some examples include, offering the same deals online and in-store, cart abandonment alerts through SMS or e-mail, or allowing shoppers to buy online and pick-up in store. The list of strategies you can implement goes on.
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to meet consumers where they are. Having multiple touchpoints will allow retailers to increase sales and a good strategy will allow you to connect with consumers in the most natural way.
Off to You
Holiday retail planning can be both daunting and exciting at the same time. And you don’t have to go it alone. The right 3PL partner can seamlessly fulfill your orders as you focus on handling relationships with your customers.
Allow us to take care of the final leg of your e-commerce or retail fulfillment operations while you focus on how to scale your business and keep customers happy this holiday season.
Want to learn more? We’d love to chat with you.