The holiday season is here again and for retailers, this translates to the busiest time of the year when sales peak. For holiday season sales to be successful and profitable, there must be an all-year-round planning process, or else retailers may not meet demand.
To facilitate seamless end-to-end omnichannel sales through the biggest shopping season, retailers must prepare their stock, distribution centers, payment process, and delivery channels well to keep ahead of the holiday rush.
For any retailer to have successful and profitable festive season sales, the best practices below are helpful;
Be an early starter. Avoid waiting to take your time with commencing business preparations; an early start indicates early success. The best practice for any retailer that wants to be well ahead in the competition includes starting holiday peak season planning and preparations as early as February, and this includes essential preparation such as upgrading to new software, reviewing previous festive season sales to know where there were pitfalls and how to avoid them, ascertaining the number of extra hands that will be needed during the peak season, examining the inventory to determine the volume of goods to order in other to meet demand and ensuring there is enough warehouse space for storage. Also, there should be a plan for delivering goods to clients; remember, all these should be in place by September.
Stretch your festive season sales: You can start your celebratory season sales and share all the promo and juicy deals earlier than anticipated by competitors. It is advisable to start the festive season deals as early as September. By spreading your holiday sales over a more extended period, you can reduce extreme fatigue on your personnel. However, there must be appropriate coordination between the back-end supply chain and warehousing functions for this to work. Furthermore, the supply chain planning functions must purchase and feed inventory into suitable locations months in advance.
Recruit and equip your temporary workforce: Due to the rise in demand during the festive season, it is nearly impossible for retailers to meet the demand with a regular number of personnel. Therefore, there may be a need to recruit temporary personnel for the festive season sales. It is important to train the new workforce on operational procedures and equip them with devices that are rugged enough for the job but with modern and familiar software and hardware like smartphones and tablets. One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holiday season is poorly executing the onboarding of your temporary workforce. You'll have a tremendous order backlog if this critical process is mishandled.
Update customers: Due to the upward surge in demand, the system could be clogged, leading to delays in shipment and delivery. At times like this, updating the customers on the situation is very important. Customers are less likely to get upset about delayed shipping times when kept in the loop. Develop a freight tracking system and update it during peak periods.
Handle issues swiftly: Be sure to handle problems satisfactorily as soon as they arise as issues escalating could be injurious to the image of the brand. Consider offering free shipping or a meaningful gift to appreciate clients.
Perform system stress test: Before the festive season, there are usually other minor holidays or festivities, and a wise retailer can seize the opportunities to stress-test their facilities with their new systems and procedures in place. This way, they can identify possible loopholes or operational and systems deficiencies and correct them well before the big holiday arrives. It is also important to double-check that your supply chain software is up to date and properly configured so that your teams can access all the functionality they will need. Your warehouse should be able to scale up and down quickly and efficiently during this time of massive demand fluctuation.
Effective follow-up: It is a known fact that the customer engagement process does not end with payment, pickup, or delivery. There is the possibility of returns, which is a big part of the holiday season, and that is why most retailers have return policies to cover situations where there is damage or a consumer is not satisfied with the item delivered. Therefore, the customer service/call center operation and systems should be maximally functional before the holiday season begins. To exceed customer expectations, retailers need call center application workflows that help employees properly engage with customers and quickly answer their questions on order status, updates, returns, and exchanges.
Shipping items during the holiday season can be a hassle. However, with the proper techniques, you can stay ahead of the frantic rush. By being organized, addressing errors, learning from your mistakes, and partnering with an experienced procurement and shipping company like SARA PROCUREMENT SERVICES LIMITED.
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