6 Tips for a Successful Holiday Selling Season
If you’re a business-owner, then you love seeing the boost to your bottom line as online sales ramp up during the holiday season. But, you might not love seeing those extra orders stretch your in-house resources to the limit. If this volume results in unfulfilled orders or poor customer service during these crucial weeks, then your shoppers may not return in the new year.
As experts in distribution, fulfillment, and warehousing, we wanted to give you 6 tips to help your holiday sales season go smoothly:
- Talk to your third-party logistics (3PL) partner. The sooner you give your 3PL partner details about your businesses’ holiday shipping and warehousing needs, the sooner they can create a customized solution to ensure orders flow smoothly. Here are just a few details they’ll need to know:
- Your projected sales increase during the holidays.
- Dates of upcoming sales or promotions.
- Any bulk orders you expect to receive.
Don’t have a 3PL partner? Contact Taylored Fulfillment Services, to discuss your shipping and warehousing needs.
- Set customer expectations. Make sure that customers are aware of each delivery option, associated costs, and estimated delivery dates. Let them know the last date they can order an item and still expect to receive it in time for the holiday. Also, be up front about the possibility of shipping delays due to holiday volume, and encourage customers to order early. Finally, returns after the holiday are inevitable so make sure your return policy is clearly stated on your website and included with the shipment.
- Have a plan to handle out-of-stock items.Ensuring that you have sufficient stock to avoid backorders is critical during the holidays when customers demand timely deliveries. But as well as you might prepare your inventory, you still may sell out of certain items. Create a plan for this scenario that includes these steps:
Step 1. Notify the customer about the out-of-stock item immediately.
Step 2. Provide the date that the item will be available, or let the customer know if it’s permanently out of stock.
Step 3. Offer the customer a discount or free shipping on a comparable item that is in stock.
- Ensure sufficient staffing. Without proper staff levels during the holidays, your whole operation can derail. Insufficient staffing creates an environment where employees get frustrated and mistakes are more likely to occur. To help make sure this doesn’t happen, review your staffing levels about 6 weeks prior to the season. Consider offering overtime to existing staff, bringing in temporary workers, or contacting a 3PL provider.
- Generate real-time inventory reports. As the holidays approach, you should plan to run inventory reports on a regular basis. This will help you keep tabs on items that are dwindling in supply and identify slow-moving items. A 3PL partner like Taylored Fulfillment Services can easily handle your real-time inventory reports and so much more.
- Include a special holiday gift with customer orders. Whether you want to include a bonus gift in every order, or only in orders over a certain dollar amount is up to you. But including the gift accomplishes two goals: a) it builds goodwill with customers, and b) allows you to clear out any inventory that didn’t sell well throughout the year.
Customers expect an outstanding online shopping experience—especially during the holiday season. By following the strategies above, you can make sure you are prepared for the holiday rush and deliver great customer services. For more ideas about shipping and warehousing during the holidays and all year round, contact Taylored Fulfillment Services.
Taylored Fulfillment Services is a fully integrated third-party logistics provider specializing in wholesale, retail, and direct-to-consumer unit fulfillment. Established in 1992 and headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, they operate 1.5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space strategically located near the nation’s busiest ports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, and New York. Since its humble beginnings in 1992, Taylored Fulfillment Services has grown to become a national leader in distribution, fulfillment and warehousing.